Four signs it is time to consider offshoring and how to get started

by Chris Winfield-Blum  - February 5, 2017

Sometimes it’s not obvious when it is time to consider offshoring so this post will take you through some common signs to be aware of that may suggest that it’s time and then suggest some ways you can get started.

#1 your team are working overtime consistently

I would like to hope that most businesses understand the costs of employee burnout, but sometimes the reality of business gets in the way. We all understand that sometimes we need to pull together and put in some extra hours to finish a project on time, or assist a customer with a critical support issue, however, we should also keep in mind the frequency of these events. Are they a symptom of poor quality products or services? Are they a symptom of resource capacity issues? Are they simply a symptom of an ineffective team?

In each of these scenarios, offshoring can support the growth of your team cost-effectively. If done appropriately, this will lead to; significant improvements in the products and services you are providing; improved resource capacity issues by adding great new team members; and finally a change in your team will reset the team dynamics and, if managed correctly, can create a new group dynamic and allow new group norms to be set focused on being a more effective team.

This should see a reduction in the overtime events in the organisation and a better work/life balance for all of the team members.

#2 your team members are constantly working on conflicting tasks

An amount of cross-functional work is expected in any role, especially within the context of small to medium sized business, however, where an organisation has to split their resources across conflicting tasks, it has the potential to create significant problems for that organisation. Having a team member pulled from projects, to support and then to sales can lead to a lot of frustration. Further, these are all potentially business critical functions and as such swapping will nearly always have a negative impact on the other tasks.

In this scenario, offshoring can allow you to build functional business units and share knowledge in a more effective way.

This should see a reduction in dependence on team members across multiple functions and a better team culture.

#3 your top talent is working on low-value tasks

Having your top talent (the implication is that they are likely your most expensive) working on low-value tasks is another sign to be aware of. By low-value, I do not just mean the least profitable, but also tasks that add the least perceived and real value to your customers.

This usually suggests that either you lack the resources for others to take ownership of these low-value tasks, or your knowledge transfer is breaking down. In small businesses, the most likely resource to get assigned a task is the one who was responsible for the setup or implementation in the first place. This then further adds to sign #2!

In this scenario, offshoring can again allow for full knowledge sharing and handover of lower value tasks to less senior team members. This allows your top talent to be adding the most value to your business and your customers’ experience with your business.

#4 your business is critically dependent on specific team members

This sign is implied to some extent above in #2 and #3, however, it is worth talking about separately. If you’re in the situation where you have single points of potential failure due to product and service knowledge, you’re absolutely in a high-risk situation for your business. If you are making human resources decisions based on “not being able to lose” somebody, then you’re not only exposing yourself to employees having unprecedented power over your organisation but even if that use of power does not become a reality, they could simply leave through normal functional turnover.

In the best scenario, this type of dependence will lead to bottlenecks in projects and create a scalability constraint that is really difficult to resolve.

In this scenario, as with some of the above, offshoring can support handover and sharing of knowledge across your team or functional business units.

Getting started

The first step is always making the decision that there is a need to grow your team to address one or more of the above signs. After that, let’s talk. See our contact details below or message us on LiveChat right now!


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Chris Winfield-Blum

Software enthusiast, operations & project manager, MBA graduate, team builder, creator, developer, writer and father.

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