Change management strategies when considering offshoring and outsourcing

29 Oct 2015

Often times, a business new to offshoring will implement the idea with the primary focus being on what is happening offshore – how to find their staff, where will they be based, how they will be supervised and trained etc. This approach overlooks what is often one the most important considerations in successful offshoring – the impact on the local workforce and how to ensure that your local staff will understand and support your offshoring plans. When considering how to approach the issue of offshoring with your local staff, the key things to remember are:
  • In the absence of information, people will always assume the worst
  • Self- interest is the main driver for most people – they will want to know “What does this mean to me?”
  • Without the support of your local staff, your offshoring plans will almost certainly fail.

So then how do you get the buy-in and support of your local staff?

Communication is the first and most important factor. You need to communicate your offshoring plans to all your staff and more importantly, let them know what it will mean to them. It is also essential to remain true to what you tell them – trust, once broken, cannot be repaired. If jobs are going to be made redundant and moved offshore, the staff should be made aware of it. Let them know which jobs will remain onshore. It might be that your plan is not to make anyone redundant but rather add resources offshore and also look to move roles when the opportunity presents as a result of local turnover. Regardless of your message, make sure you get it clearly received by your staff at the start of the process. Next is to have the staff get to know your offshore workforce as soon as possible. We recommend that our clients bring some of their Filipino staff to Australia for training as early in the process as possible. We’ve talked about the importance of training your staff and it should be emphasised that this helps everyone get to know each other and build a mutual cultural understanding. It is much easier to be dismissive and unsupportive of the offshore team when you haven’t met them and spent time working together. Try to make the offshoring experience a positive one from the outset. Adding resources that you cannot afford locally can be a great way to achieve this. One simple example we have seen a number of times has been the addition of a graphic designer to the staff. This person can have a profound effect on the quality of all the business marketing materials and communication, significantly improving appearance and professionalism. Starting with an offshore staff that makes the working lives of your local staff easier or better in some way will help greatly with local acceptance and buy-in. Lastly, publicly recognise and reward those local staff members who support your offshoring strategy and help drive its success. These offshoring “champions” can help you drive a culture that is both supportive of your offshoring strategy as they look for new and constantly finds better ways of how to get the most of your offshore team. In line with this, you should also make sure that the local managers of your offshore team have KPIs linked to the success of that team. If you are thinking about offshoring or outsourcing then getting things to work with your offshore team is only one-half of the equation. Equally and perhaps even more importantly is how you manage your local staff to ensure they support and help drive your plans. Without these, your offshore plans are almost certainly doomed to failure. Diversify wants to make sure that you are getting not only the right people for your offshoring team, but also those who will bring out the best of their abilities. Drop us a line today if you’re ready to get started with offshoring.