Choosing the right partner: outsourcing 101
When you invite potential outsourcing partners to pitch, it can be hard to know what you should be looking for. Each agency should be able to fulfil your brief – at least on paper.
So how do you choose a partner that won’t only be easy to work with, but will also add value to your business?
Connect Assist is the outsourcing partner for many organisations, including central and local government bodies and leading charities.
Here’s what we’ve learned over the years about choosing an outsourcing partner that is right for you.
Outsourcing: the basics
The reasons to outsource are many, and vary hugely between organisations.
You might be looking to plug a skills gap, particularly to increase your digital capabilities. Or perhaps you feel your organisation needs an objective and expert viewpoint when it comes to refocusing or modernising.
You could be aiming to save money or increase efficiency. Or maybe you simply need to provide out-of-hours call centre services, or meet a temporary rise in demand.
All these objectives determine the brief you draw up for your potential partners. But we believe there are several underlying factors that are often forgotten, yet can make or break a partnership. Here are four factors to consider when outsourcing.
1. Financial strength
When it comes to how to choose an outsource provider, your partner needs to be financially stable: every organisation has a tale to tell of a partner which collapsed overnight, leaving them scrambling to pick up the pieces.
So don’t be embarrassed to ask for proof that they can commit in the long term. It’s vital for your own business continuity, and for those who rely on your services.
2. Cultural synergy
The very best outsourcing partnerships are far greater than the sum of their parts. That’s what happens when two organisations really click.
Finding an outsourcing partner who ‘gets’ you is crucial. A similar outlook helps you understand each other, even though your organisations might have very different focuses and your people could have radically different skills.
You’ll be especially grateful for a shared approach when problems arise. And you really don’t want to find yourself aligned to a partner with a bad reputation.
We’re always happy to chat about what makes us tick. Check out our recent blog about our approach to consultancy: Problem-solving vs gathering requirements: our consultancy approach
3. Shared values
A lot of that cultural synergy is down to shared values.
So ask to see your prospective partner’s ethical policies. Do you share their take on issues such as sustainability? Do they care about Corporate Social Responsibility as much as you do?
And make sure they put those policies into practice! Ask for evidence that their values are embedded into their strategies and everyday actions.
At Connect Assist, we’ve got plenty to say about our values – they’re what drive us. In a nutshell, we shape everything around people, and work with clients across the third and public sector to create positive human outcomes.
4. Staff engagement
One way to tell that your prospective partner is an organisation which cares is to find out how it treats its staff. After all, if you forge a close working relationship with your outsourcing partner, those staff will feel like an extension of your own team.
At Connect Assist, we believe that highly valued staff will provide a highly valuable service. So we’ve put several measures in place to support frontline staff, including training, debriefing, one-to-ones, EAP services and counselling. Not to mention, good old team quizzes and virtual get-togethers.
You can find out how we’re supporting staff when they return to office working post-lockdown here: .CEO update: Returning to business as usual?
If what we’ve said here resonates with you, we’d love to discuss whether we could be the right outsourcing partner for your organisation. Get in contact today.