So you have your outsourced team. Now you need to make them as productive as possible. Put these tips into action and you’ll have a high-performance team that creates cost savings.
There are many reasons why engineering or construction specialists may want to outsource work. As your business grows, you may find that the demands placed on it become too much for your onshore team to handle. Customer service may start to slip as you get buried under paperwork.
And that means performance may start to slip too.
An outsourced team can help you alleviate this burden. With that done, your onshore team can do what it does best in terms of providing services to your clients.
Beyond taking some of the load off your shoulders, your outsourced team also creates the opportunity for cost savings. Generally, you’ll spend less on outsourced employees than you would on onshore people. Plus having this team at your disposal allows you to run projects more efficiently.
These benefits all sound amazing… What’s the catch?
The problem is, you won’t experience these advantages if your outsourced team isn’t operating at maximum efficiency. As with your onshore team, productivity is always a key issue that you need to confront.
This means you need to put time and effort into making your outsourced team as productive as possible.
These are the tips that will help you do just that.
Tip #1 – Communicate Frequently With Team Leaders
We often speak about the importance of proper communication with your outsourced team. It’s essential if you want to maintain productivity. Your team needs to have a voice, and it needs to know that you’re actually listening.
The key here is frequency of communication.
The occasional message to the team leaders isn’t going to cut it. You need to schedule regular conversations about the progress of your project and the state of your team. Use these meetings to confront problems that may be preventing them from operating effectively.
And make sure you follow up on the issues raised. Productivity will decline if your team sees that you’re not taking action on the feedback they provide.
Finally, aim to hold these meetings face-to-face wherever possible. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you have to travel to your outsourced team every time you meet. However, tools such as Skype, or even Facebook Messenger, allow you to hold video calls.
Use them to put faces to names and give your team the sense that you’re more than just words on a screen.
Tip #2 – Break Large Tasks Down into Simpler Tasks
What’s your first reaction when somebody presents you with a really large task?
For a lot of people, it’s one of panic. Huge projects, especially with little context, can prove intimidating for your team. This can lead to a loss of focus that ultimately affects their productivity.
Your job is to make the projects you assign as understandable and digestible as possible.
The best way to do this is to break large tasks down into simpler tasks. For example, you may have a project that will take several months to complete. But within that project, there are many milestones the outsourced team must reach. These milestones act as the simpler tasks that make the project easier to understand.
Ideally, you’ll break down tasks to the point where the assignment can be completed in one or two days. This helps to keep your team focused, which means they’ll be more productive. Plus, you eliminate the possibility of overwhelming the team and affecting their performance.
Tip #3 – Use Tools to Track Work and Encourage Accountability
It’s crucial that you have project management software you can use to track tasks. Of course, there are obvious benefits in terms of keeping an eye on what your team is doing. However, the most important thing about such software is that it creates accountability. That’s how it improves productivity.
Use your software to set tasks and targets for your team. Encourage each member to update their schedule whenever they complete their tasks. And finally, follow up when a team member falls behind.
The use of management software shows your team that you’re keeping an eye on their progress. This serves as a motivator that leads to higher productivity. Furthermore, this accountability makes it more likely that each team member will take ownership of their work.
Tip #4 – Be Clear When Setting Targets
There’s greater potential for miscommunication when working with an outsourced team. You have the distance barrier to consider, for one thing. You can’t just walk over to a team member and have a quick chat about what they’re doing.
You also have to consider potential language barriers. While your team members likely speak English, it’s rarely their native language. This means that common idioms and other terms of phrase might escape them.
These communication barriers make it crucial that you’re completely clear when setting targets.
Good communication is the key here. When you create a target for a team member, have them repeat it back to you. After that, have them explain what the target is and how they’ll meet it. This gives you a chance to course-correct if they aren’t going in the right direction.
Spending time on creating this clarity early on means that you don’t lose time later. Ultimately, this makes the team more productive because they don’t have to stop constantly. They’ll know exactly what they need to do to get to the next step.
Tip #5 – Create an Incentive Scheme
Never make the mistake of thinking that monetary compensation is the only motivator for your team. Each member has their own needs and wants. Failure to provide for these could lead to the team becoming less productive.
Creating an incentive scheme is a great way to boost productivity.
For example, let’s say that your team handles cold calling for new construction clients. You could create incentives around basic targets, such as number of calls made and number of prospects entered into your system.
If an employee surpasses these targets, they get an incentive. This could be anything from a monetary reward to extra time off.
There are two keys to a successful incentive scheme:
- Set challenging, yet achievable, targets.
- Find out what your people really want and use that to motivate them.
The second key brings us back to communication. Talk to your team and find out as much as you can about what drives them. Then you can use this information to create incentives that really boost productivity.
Tip #6 – Emphasise The “Why”
Large-scale tasks, particularly those related to administration, can become demoralising over time. If people feel like they’re doing the same thing every day and can’t see the outcome, they may become less productive.
That’s why it’s crucial that your outsourced team understands the “why” behind the tasks you assign.
Don’t just send tasks with no context. Explain the reasons behind your need to get those tasks completed. Those reasons will depend on the task. Some tasks will focus on helping you provide better service to your clients. Others may allow you to make business operations more efficient.
The important thing is that your outsourced team knows why they’re doing what they’re doing. This creates a sense of purpose, which leads to greater productivity. And that’s the case even when the outcomes aren’t immediately apparent.
Tip #7 – Create a Good Work Environment
There’s always a delicate balance to strike when creating a workplace environment. On one hand, you don’t want it to be sterile and dull. That won’t motivate anybody to become more productive.
But on the other hand, you don’t want to create an environment that offers a lot of distractions. You need your people to stay focused on the tasks you assign to them.
The elements you add to the office can make a big difference. For example, using natural lighting over fluorescent bulbs creates a more pleasant atmosphere. You might also think about adding other natural touches, such as plants, to the office.
These small touches make the physical environment more appealing to your people. As a result, they see the office as a place they can enjoy working in.
However, the office space isn’t the only thing you have to consider.
It’s also crucial that every member of the team works towards the same goals. Office politics, micromanaging bosses, and abrasive team members all affect productivity.
Make sure your team reflects the atmosphere you want to create in the workplace. A good outsourcing partner will help you find people who fit the bill. They’ll also steer you away from those who may contribute to a toxic workplace environment.
If you implement the techniques in this article, you’ll create a happier and more productive workplace.
Creating accountability and a positive work environment are both important. So too is taking the time to learn about your team and what you can do to motivate them as individuals.
And of course, clarity and focus help when assigning tasks.
But before doing any of this, you need to build an outsourced team that’s capable of delivering what you need.
Cybalink can help you to find your engineering or construction solution. Contact our team today to find out more.
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