As we discussed in a previous blog post, your time is your most valuable asset and you don’t want to waste it doing something you aren’t an expert in. Businesses can outsource all kinds of things: payroll, recruitment, graphic design, marketing, IT, etc. As you choose an outsourced partner, you want to make sure you’re not going to waste that precious time of yours on the wrong fit. That’s why you have to choose wisely!
We’ve got lots of experience with outsource partnerships…on both sides. We hire lots of outsourced resources for things we aren’t experts in. Of course, we also offer outsourced services ourselves. So, we’ve got a lots tips on how to choose the best outsource partner for your organization. Learn from our successes and mistakes!
- Start with good information – get referrals whenever possible, look at reviews online, or have a strong list of questions. We think it’s important to have an in-depth conversation with your potential organization/individual about their experience and qualifications before making a decision. They may not be internal to your organization, but you’re still hiring them for a job. Be as meticulous as you would for an internal hire.
- Ask for references and work samples – and actually call the references and view the work samples! It will give you a much better idea of the quality of their work, strength of customer support, project timeliness, and more.
- Be clear from the outset – Before you even start looking to outsource, make sure you have a clear vision of what you need. Communicate your needs clearly and make sure the company or individual you are speaking to fully understands those needs as well as any limitations. Do you only need one person a few hours a week or full-time? Do you need a team of resources for an extended period? Do you have a limited budget for the work? Do you have a lot of work that needs to be done in a short amount of time? Make sure all of this is clear ahead of time to avoid possible complications later.
- Make sure your values align – some companies do cheaper work, quickly; some work meticulously and take a lot of time and care. Some companies use inexpensive materials, while others use the highest quality products at a premium price. Make sure you understand where your values lie, so you know whether you are in alignment with your outsource partner. Hiring a cheap company is a bad idea if you value careful and meticulous work. Hiring a high quality and cautious individual seems wrong if you need the work done very quickly. A mismatch in values can cause frustration very quickly in an outsourcing relationship.
- Ensure good communication – you may ask, ‘how do I know if I haven’t worked with them yet?’, but there are tell-tale signs early on. Are they responsive to your calls and emails during the hiring process? Are they in your time zone or will you have to reach them after working hours or wait until the next day? Will you have a single person to contact for support or a whole helpline? Ask how they usually communicate with their clients. If you prefer a daily account of work completed and they only provide a summary when the project is complete, their style of communication might not fit your comfort zone.
The ideas above are just a few of the things to think about as you look for an outsourcing partner. There’s a lot more to consider depending on the length of relationship you’re looking for, your budget, and how specific your needs are. This is just a start.
Once you’ve hired a company or individual, maintaining that outsourcing relationship is a whole new story…but that’s a blog for another day. Good luck in your search!
If you happen to need a managed IT services partner, feel free to reach out: