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3 ways to keep your outsourced teams engaged and motivated

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As your organization grows, you must make decisions about building different types of teams around the world. You can consider options such as opening new offices, hiring remote teams, or using agencies.

Given the current economic climate, outsourcing teams may seem like the most attractive option. Many people think it saves money and time and allows managers to transfer the hiring, onboarding and management processes to a third party. This strategy has a number of benefits, especially for customer success, which may require 24-hour availability.

However, it takes a surprising amount of effort and investment to make this strategic decision pay off in the long term. Plus, outsourced teams aren’t as different from your in-house team as you might think. Here are a few tips for successfully managing outsourced teams in a way that really pays off in the long run:

Related: What Not to Do When Outsourcing

1. Keep Them Engaged

Just because your outsourced teams are out of sight doesn’t mean they can be out of mind. As with your internal team, disengaged employees will have a higher turnover rate, forcing you to spend even more time and effort on hiring and building strong teams.

For this reason, the internal manager still needs to oversee the recruiting, onboarding and management process to ensure that the outsourced teams share the same culture and values. Here are a few ways to keep your outsourced teams engaged:

  • Hiring: It can be tempting to completely outsource hiring responsibilities since you don’t have to do the heavy lifting. But it’s important to stay engaged by hiring the people responsible for hiring so they fully understand your company culture and expectations.

  • Set up structures: Set up the right structures that support training and engagement. This means implementing training and knowledge programs that mirror your in-house programs and may even include directing your in-house tutor to implement their high-quality, engaging curriculum.

  • Planning events: Perform employee engagement activities similar to the activities you perform for your internal teams. Cover the events in the company branding to make the outsourced teams feel like an equal part of the company.

  • Make a flight plan: Create an escape plan to strengthen relationships and create a united team. Send your internal teams and external teams to visit each other’s offices.

  • Questionnaire: Distribute employee satisfaction surveys so you can continuously improve the way you interact with the outsourced teams and make them feel valued.

Related: Pros and Cons of Outsourcing and Hiring Internal Staff

2. Help Them Grow

Again, as with your in-house team, with no room for growth, your outsourced teams will quickly lose motivation, leading to high turnover and low retention. To attract and retain the best talent, you must treat them as such.

Consider creating a growth path where exceptional work results in opportunities for upward mobility, expanding skills, or deepening industry knowledge. While it may seem more expensive up front, retaining your talent is more cost effective than constantly hiring and training new talent.

Provide a high level of insight into your organization’s work, progress and plans. This will help them understand their contribution to short- and long-term goals. In addition, celebrate milestones and achievements for the teams and the organization on site. Then elevate these successes in larger forums so that everyone gets the recognition they deserve, despite the distance.

Related: 7 Ways to Make Outsourcing a Success Again and Again

3. Make high demands

The final piece of the puzzle is determining the right KPIs for your outsourced teams. Unfortunately, outsourced teams are sometimes seen as a trade-off: a cheaper solution with mediocre results, but that shouldn’t be the case.

Your outsourced teams should have similar KPIs to your in-house teams. Lowering your KPIs for outsourced teams means you are inherently sacrificing quality for cost, reducing the overall efficiency of your organization. Outsourced teams are just as professional and talented as your in-house teams – they’re just in a different region.

There is no doubt that outsourcing has many advantages and can seem like a simple and attractive solution for scaling up. But don’t lose sight of your goal: building a team that delivers quality work to improve the organization. Invest time and resources to support every team member, and the value will be undeniable for everyone.

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