Actual ways to resolve personnel issues, or should you deal with remote specialists?
Every growing and successful company faces the necessity to hire new specialists with different intervals. This may occur due to the business growth, when existing specialists cease to cope with operational tasks effectively, it might be connected with the emerging of new customers, tasks or directions, and the implementation of above mentioned will require significant resources, or due to the requirements of specialists with competencies that you don’t currently have in your company.
As a rule, if your approach to the recruitment of new people is serious enough, this turns out to be a fairly labor-intensive, expensive and time-consuming process: it is necessary to conduct many interviews that will distract key specialists from the main job, pay for recruiting agencies services, adapt and train new employees, deal with many petty organizational tasks. However, there are many more options to solve the personnel issues than it seems to be at first glance
- You can follow the standard scheme finding the specialists and hiring them.
- You can open a branch in the region where the necessary specialists will be hired at a more reasonable salary.
- You can take advantage of anti-crisis approaches: the overtime scheme implementation, motivation of employees for super-performance, the redistribution of resources between less and more priority tasks. Such approaches will allow to close the short-term or critical need for personnel.
- You can hire remote specialists or build distributed teams.
- You can delegate some tasks, projects or target areas to outsourcing companies.
Obviously there are plenty of questions can come in sight:
- How can you determine which option is the best choice for solving problems?
- What are the advantages, disadvantages and pitfalls of different approaches?
- How to minimize risks if you have decided to work with remote specialists and outsourcing companies?
- How to build quality communication, efficient and transparent management process?
Let's figure it out together!
The most popular approaches, their advantages and disadvantages
Specialists hiring process
This is a standard, time-tested and completely well-tested approach. If you are looking for candidates for long-term cooperation, if following a corporate culture, manageability and predictability of employees is important for you, then this is the best option.
This approach has many advantages:
- New specialists will speak one language with you and share your cultural values.
- You will have the most accessible way of communication, the perfect transparency and the current status, planned activities and emerging problems understanding.
- You will not need to introduce new processes or rebuild the existing ones.
- You will not have difficulties with teams training, motivation and other human resources tasks.
However, this approach also has disadvantages:
- Recruitment process has certain expenses: additional office space payments, workplace organization, equipment purchase and other bonuses implementing.
- These are certain restrictions for the volume of the potential candidates’ market, the hiring of a specialist with relocation from the other part of the country or from abroad is usually quite labor-intensive or impossible at all.
- These are additional salary expenses and taxes if the cost of specialists in your region is higher than in the world on average.
- These are all kinds of legal subtleties that limit your workload planning, hiring and firing people flexibility.
Hiring remote specialists (freelancers)
On the one hand, we must admit that this approach is not applicable to some business types, for example, if operating activities require a full-time employees’ presence, but almost any company has service lines or departments that allow specialists remote hiring: accountants, lawyers, IT etc.
On the other hand, this recruitment option is totally flexible: you can hire both individual specialists and teams, find a candidate who has any arbitrary competence, hire as full-time or part-time employee, for long-term projects or for tasks that will require several days or even hours to complete.
- Savings on wages and other expenses. For example, specialists from neighboring regions or countries may have similar, or even better, competencies compared to local ones, herewith it costs much cheaper. It will not be necessary to allocate and set up a workplace, purchase equipment, etc.
- Workload can be totally flexible: arbitrary loads (yes, remote specialists can work more than 40 hours a week, but this is better not to abuse), pauses, expansion or reduction of the team quantity according to the current needs of your business.
- Since you have an unlimited geographical area to search for candidates, you can quickly and easily enough find a person having the necessary expertise and experience in any technological stack.
- There will be an inevitable decrease in the quality of communication, and a certain restructuring of business processes will be required: remote collaboration with employees will require the introduction of additional management approaches and control systems.
- Work with distributed teams will lead to a decrease in the overall level of cyber security, to the emergence of additional managerial and organizational risks: remote specialists may not be available at the right moment due to technical or other factors, they may quickly quit your project if something more profitable for them has appeared, they may unexpectedly go on vacation and so on. Of course, all these risks are easily mitigated with the correct processes building, but nevertheless they should be remembered when working with remote specialists.
Work with outsourcing companies
This approach is almost identical to work with remote specialists: you also have the opportunity to find people with the right competencies quickly, you can save on salaries and office expenses, you can be flexible in team organizing processes, but there are a number of significant differences. Since in this case you are dealing with companies specializing in such services, on the one hand you get high quality of service, wide experience, developed processes and contracts which are competently drawn up. On the other hand, the service price will be significantly higher compared to remote specialists. You will have less flexibility in size and workload team managing.
All the same as for a remote team, plus, since such companies have a lot of experience in remote work organizing, they can help you build competent processes and avoid potential problems. You will be much better protected legally in case of any regular and emergency situation.
Also, in case you work with an outsourcing company you have a number of additional options:
- You can temporarily relocate all the remote specialists to your office (for the entire project or only for the period of its start). In this case the employees will be employed in an outsourcing company, but at the same time you can use all the approaches and processes as while working with full-time specialists. Honestly speaking, this option is not very popular mainly due to financial costs.
- You can transfer the entire project to an outsourcing company. The majority of outsourcing companies are competent enough and have all the necessary specialists to implement any project from start to finish successfully. In this case you can carry out high-level management and control.
- You can simply build a distributed team of experts provided by an outsourcing company. At the same time, since they are full-time employees in the partner company you will avoid most technical, communication and organizational risks. Resource management will be much more predictable and stable.
- Higher cost for the service and lower average level of competencies compared to remote specialists. (Unfortunately, the reality is, that the outsourcing company consists of specialists of different levels and it is necessary to promote them all. Accordingly, the outsourcing company tries to build up remote project teams from people of different levels in order to obtain an acceptable level of competence on average).
- Not so flexible resource management. You will not be able to get the team on hold or increase members’ quantity for a relatively short time, since there are paragraphs that indicate notifications of the planned changes in team size a few months before the immediate event in the contracts of almost all the outsourcing companies.
- As a rule, processes are no longer adapted to get the result but to protect the interests of an outsourcing company.
- In addition, quite often outsourcing companies turn out to be simply intermediaries, with a well-promoted and adapted profile for internet search engines which resells the time of remote or hired specialists at a higher cost while bearing a minimal risk and responsibility. Be vigilant and avoid such companies!
Relocating full-time employees to remote work
Sometimes for technical reasons or other force majeure such as an epidemic Covid-19, companies are forced to transfer their employees to a remote work mode. It is highly desirable that such a change is not an extreme stress for business processes, does not cause system failures, information leaks and customer losses. Therefore, ideally, it is highly recommended that all the companies adapt their network infrastructure, processes and communication methods so that they are able to be transferred to remote work mode with minor adjustments and a short period of time. In this case you will be much more flexible concerning the approaches and opportunities of the company expansion and costs optimization, minimize losses and risks if external or internal circumstances force you to switch to remote work mode partially or completely...
So, as you can see the hiring of remote specialists, the creation of distributed teams, the delegation of tasks to outsourcing companies are a profitable and justified measures in many situations. In addition, the restructuring of the infrastructure, processes and communication methods to support remote work mode makes your company much more flexible, more stable and adaptable to new challenges and potential force majeures.
In the next article, we are going to take a detailed look at the best management mitigation and communication risks approaches, as well as the best practices for building up the processes and control systems which are necessary for successful management of remote specialists.