26 Nov OUTSOURCING IN THE AGE OF COVID-19 – AND BEYOND
OUTSOURCING IN THE AGE OF COVID-19 – AND BEYOND
An astute solution for the recruitment predicament
Among the multitude of challenges to businesses wrought by the COVID pandemic, the heightened requirement to straddle the precarious divide between prudency with operational budgets on one side, and not throwing the return-on-investment baby out with the expenditure bathwater on the other, represents a particularly painful headache. Recouping lockdown losses, and re-establishing and building new business flows in order even to survive – let alone compete – in increasingly difficult markets, demands innovation, a highly-skilled workforce and the reassurance that all critical role bases are covered. However, with the level of commitment involved (budgetary prudence being the key, but not the only, aspect to consider) in engaging employees to deliver those vital skills, particularly in tough times when headcount, inevitably, is in the cost-pruning crosshairs, ‘to recruit, or not to recruit?’ is a conundrum at best, unfeasible, and wishful thinking at worst.
It is, then, unsurprising that an increasing number of organisations have been turning a fresh eye towards outsourcing as the remedy to this headache, with the Pandemic-driven acceleration of a shift towards at least some degree of homeworking by in-house employees having arguably contributed to increased confidence in the potential afforded by the engagement of other forms of ‘satellite expertise’ that may previously have been viewed with some suspicion.
Remote working – the new ‘office’
Once the, admittedly onerous, enforced scramble to establish the requisite infrastructure to support home working had been completed during the first lockdown in the early spring of 2020, business leaders were pleasantly surprised to discover that, far from employee engagement diminishing when not under the beady in-situ gaze of the presenteeism culture, motivation and, subsequently, productivity, could actually flourish when work-life balance was no longer compromised by the relentless slog of the daily commute. It became clear that it simply isn’t necessary for people to be entrenched within the same office building for 40 hours a week to achieve the synergy needed for successful team working. Quite the opposite, in fact, with many organisations viewing, at least partial, homeworking as an advantageous way forward, as expressed by PwC’s Director of Experienced Recruitment, Sam Ellis, in a recent Guardian online feature : “Location and where you actually do your work may be less relevant in the future. I think we’ll still come together as a knowledge-based organisation to share and collaborate but maybe not all the time.”
High quality and reduced overheads – the outsourced solution
With remotely-based individuals and teams now seen as a natural part of working culture, the engagement of a trusted outsourced supplier as another off-site, dedicated team ‘within’ a business, but at a considerable cost saving in terms of both financial outlay and time investment, represents an even more attractive prospect in the choppy economic seas of 2020 than it did previously. Apart from being relieved of the management of a lengthy recruitment process, wading through a mountain of CVs (or paying a princely sum to an agency to do so) security-checking and on-boarding of new employees and ongoing training and performance management, not to mention accommodation of holiday and sickness absence leaving a role uncovered, the benefits of building a relationship with the right external supplier team are manifold, including:
- Expert service delivery from specialists in their field.
- Flexible expansion of capacity to meet changing demands in uncertain times, and tighter budgetary control.
- Uninterrupted business continuity – supplier teams will never be absent from their ‘posts’.
- High-level service delivery from Day 1 – no training or bedding-in period necessary, leaving your permanent employees free to focus on their core roles, increasing productivity and profitability.
- Stability during uncertain periods – when businesses are negotiating their way through challenging days, they can at least be reassured that the outsourced field of activity is being expertly handled, while demanding no internal management time.
Your dedicated, outsourced ‘in-house’ team – VoiceNotes at your service!
The emphasis above on the necessity of locating the ‘right’ outsourced team, however, is critical. Outsourcing will undoubtedly reduce costs in comparison to permanent employee recruitment, but, as with anything, basing a ‘purchase’ on cost alone while disregarding all else will all too often subsequently (and painfully) reveal the ‘cheapest deal’ as actually being a false economy, so taking the time to research and choose a professional and conscientious supplier, who will work with you to become an integral part of your business operation, is crucial, and certainly worth the time invested.
VoiceNotes has earned its reputation as the preferred transcription, proofreading and copy-editing supplier to the financial industry (as well as other commercial demographics) through placing quality – and security – at the heart of its operations. We don’t attempt to cut corners in any shape or form – ever! Our unbroken record of ISO 270001 accreditation is a testament to our dedication to delivering excellence, both as a supplier and employer.
Our full-time team members – most of whom have been with VoiceNotes for many years (as, indeed, have many of our clients!) – work to acquire rapid familiarisation with our service users and their specific requirements in order to ensure intuitive, proficient and accurate service delivery. Accordingly, when clients pick up the phone to call in a dictation to us, or they submit projects via email, within no time at all they really do feel as reassured as if they were liaising with an in-house department. The quote, below, from a client who, having trialled the service this summer and wished to waste no time in signing up, underlines just how quickly that sense of reassurance is established!
‘I was delighted with the trial and I have concluded I need VoiceNotes in my life’.
The best for the best
When a crisis compels businesses to find new ways of working and employ new initiatives in order to navigate through the turbulence, and the tangible worth of those initiatives soon becomes apparent, they invariably endure beyond the crisis period to become part of the organisation’s standard practice. If there is a requirement for skills that fall outside of an organisation’s own area of expertise, it surely makes sound sense, even in terms of quality alone, to seek and engage the same premium level of expertise that they themselves deliver to their clients; when benefiting from that quality also sees reduced financial outlay, it is clear how, in both challenging, and more benign, economic climates, an outsourced model represents a wise choice.
Author: Marian Shepherd, Director of Operations and Client Services at VoiceNotes.
Refs: Emma Sheppard, The Guardian [online] 2020. ‘ “It’s difficult to join a company when you’re working virtually”: the challenges of recruiting during a pandemic’.