Outsourcing is now about remote hiring
Outsourcing has been around for a quite a while, predating the Covid-19 pandemic. One of the key forces driving globalisation over the last two decades, it saw large and diverse companies outsource myriad business processes to various parts of the world – Apple, Nike, Google, and Walmart to name a few.
The remote work – or work from home (WFH) – revolution sparked by the pandemic has changed the nature of outsourcing, and is expected to radically alter the way companies get work done. Specifically, in addition to processes, more and more jobs are being done from remote offshore locations, and firms of all sizes are taking advantage.
Outsourcing for everyone
“There’s a growing comfort level of outsourcing, especially with employees working remotely,” says Brian Zielinski, President and Co-founder of ShapeConnect, a US B2B matching platform for technology services. Although outsourcing was traditionally concentrated on information technology, Zielinski feels that it is easier, and more cost effective, for managers to now build remote teams in any function. For example, he is working remotely with multiple digital marketers based offshore.
Another advantage is the flexibility afforded to employers through outsourcing, saving a lot of onboarding-related time usually spent on internal employees. “Companies get a little relief faster because work gets done almost as soon as you sign the contract,” Zielinski says.
Contractors and WFH
It seems that in the post-Covid reality, not only is the shift to remote work intensifying, but it is here to stay. More specifically, companies are likely to increase the use of independent contractors to carry out roles that full-time employees have traditionally carried out. Different from the traditional model of having physical offshore ‘centres’, the pandemic has shown companies that teams of offshore contractors working from home can be just as effective.
This is already happening. Here is Johnny Taylor Jr., President and CEO of the US-based Society for Human Resource Management, explaining his decision to outsource a full-time role, “I don’t have to cover [the employee’s] pension plan, I don’t have to deal with a salary increase every year, I don’t have to do any of that. And guess what? I did exactly that. I outsourced that role.”
This is just one of many examples where managers are able to find equally, if not more, skilled professionals offshore to do the same job as contractors, and at a lower cost.
These are just two examples that show where the global hiring playbook is heading. Not only are firms moving towards a distributed workforce model within their primary jurisdiction, but across borders too. And this doesn’t necessarily mean more physical offshore business process outsourcing (BPO) centres, but teams of professionals working remotely from home in offshore locations, all enabled by ever-improving communications and collaboration technology.
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