This a guest post from Nick Herbach who is the CEO and Cofounder over at Spoke, an outsourcing firm focused on high growth businesses.
During market downturns, be it the financial crash of the early 2000’s or the recent contraction from Covid19, many businesses from Airbnb to Slack have still continued to scale quickly by adapting to times of uncertainty. In this situation, having to provide service to your customers without your team being centrally located.
You can still scale your business while keeping the reins on your payroll budget and hopefully this post will provide you with some guide on how to achieve this.
Many Fortune 1000 companies are able to shoulder this burden and continue to operate relatively normally due to their well established remote workforce offshore. This backbone is called Business Process Outsourcing (“BPO”). A $150 billion a year industry, BPO has been powering remote workforces solutions for the Fortune 1000 for over 3 decades.
Here are 2 important advantages for outsourcing operations:
Cost Efficiency: Outsourced service providers can complete business processes at lower costs due to economies of scale, specialized and refined processes, and cost of living advantages globally.
Higher Flexibility: Outsourcing functions allow organizations to use their internal resources for core competencies and essential business functions while removing a bulk of the overhead for the back office. High flexibility doesn’t mean low skill though. Just as with your current team, hiring seasoned and experienced employees while implementing proper training creates an efficient well-oiled machine.
Smaller businesses can still make use of BPO by working with firms tailored to startups and SMB’s, such as Spoke. For those not ready to invest in a BPO, here are some tips we’ve compiled over the years from running remote teams. We tried to keep them broadly applicable so you can apply them to your work-from-home staff during this period.
Weekly huddles: Eat the frog first and go over performance from the prior week. Cover what went well, and what could use some improvement and why. Then move on to social topics, Netflix (Tiger King, the employee soccer game, etc). It’s important to always wrap up with team performance and what is expected for the week ahead. Additionally, randomly select someone different to send notes to everyone. This keeps everyone paying attention during the meeting and ensures there isn’t a meeting slide, a problem where items can get drawn out over several meetings
Culture maintenance: Force participation on Slack channels. For instance, if we’re having a virtual happy hour, have people create a poll and vote for a location. The more votes we get, the bigger the budget.
Technology & accountability tools: Use of Trello or Airtable to automate who is responsible for what and what happens once a task is completed. There will be less face to face meetings so make these tech platforms the meeting rooms.
About the Author
Spoke is an outsourcing firm focusing primarily on high growth businesses and small to medium-sized businesses. We structure our client relationships as long term partnerships, building highly skilled and curated teams who slot seamlessly into your organization to fuel growth while retaining the cost savings traditional outsourcing provides.