Another episode in the Q&A video series for SME’s and business leaders.
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Intro: I’m Stuart Ayling and in this episode of Q&A I’m speaking with Nerissa Chaux who is co-founder and Head of Happiness at Filta and I’ll be asking her about the important factors a business needs to keep in mind to create an offshore team that really works.
Stuart: Well in this episode I’m here with Nerissa Chaux and Nerissa is the co-founder and Head of Happiness at Filta and her focus is on helping Australian businesses build and manage a local and offshore team that actually works. So it’s nice speaking with you again Nerissa.
Nerissa: Hi Stuart, good to see you again.
Stuart: Thank you, and look the topic for this episode is how do you build an offshore team that works.
I’ve heard lots of experiences of different business owners who have tried to do things themselves. They’ve either engaged teams or engaged individuals, they’ve done various things to try and offshore their processes but their experiences aren’t always good. So in your opinion how do you build an offshore team that works?
Nerissa: Excellent. Ok so I believe there’s number of factors. First of all you need to have a very comprehensive job debrief, and when we put it together with our clients we call it a ‘Position Description on steroids’.
Ah it’s really a deep dive into the business and it’s extremely essential when recruiting in a different country because it’s different cultural nuances, different attraction strategies, different experiences and different expectations of what they want from an Aussie employer, compared to what we would naturally want.
So I think recruitment is really really important that you sort through the job description, as I said, that you interview as many people as you feel you need to interview with until you feel like you’ve found the right person, because again it still matters in terms of you still want to get along. It’s still part of your team, part of your business family. So it will be important you still have a connection not just that they can do the job technically. And I also think what’s important is that on boarding and retention process and then management process of how do you define success and failure.
Stuart: Ok so that sounds like a lot of that is the sort of thing that they would or should be doing, a business should be doing if they’re employing someone right in their local neighborhood as well. So it really sounds like they should be using the same sort of thorough process but making sure they’ve got all that as you say that whole framework for employing that person in place.
Nerissa: Yes absolutely and I think what a lot of people do, whether they’re locally hiring, or they’re hiring remotely or through offshoring is they don’t invest enough time in the process. They think I’ll throw a job ad on Seek and you know, it’s all about the person I like the most, or has the good skillset. It’s really important that you take… because you can’t afford to get it wrong, whether it’s here or offshoring.
Particularly overseas you want to get it right because you’re investing a lot of your time and your teams resources, because you’re dealing with it remotely. So it’s really critical that you that you invest the time to get it right the first time.
Stuart: Yeah ok. Good points. Hey look once a business has an offshore team in place what are the sort of technologies they should be using? You know, you’ve been doing this for some years you’ve got a fully-fledged team in the Philippines managing them from Australia. What are what are the sorts of technologies, communication tools or processes a business should be expecting to have in place?
Nerissa: Absolutely. Locally and through your offshore team you need to get on a communication system that everyone’s using. So we recommend Skype, Slack, Google Hang Outs, anything where there’s an opportunity – Zoom for instance – where you can have these conversations visually as well as hearing each other voices. And a mechanism where you can you know type messages, and send meme’s and send GIFs.
So that’s really critical. Making sure that your email system that you’re all on the same email system, whether that’s Microsoft Office or the Google suite, and just having time management software is really important, and tracking software, so most of our clients use Base Camp or Trello and we’ve had lots of success with Trello, where we can all see the workload, projects, what we need to achieve, who needs to help who with what. So I think technology is really really important and not only do you roll that out with your Manila team and the local manager, but you really should be rolling that out across your whole business.
Stuart: Yeah so it really sounds like there is like a significant, well it could be a significant change management process for that business. Because if they’re used to having staff in their office, but now they want to take advantage of the offshoring benefits and accessing skill sets and all that sort of thing, it sounds like there’s quite a few things they may need to adapt or introduce to make sure the whole process works smoothly.
Nerissa: Yes absolutely, what’s really important is you need to get buy-in from everybody in the business not just the direct team.
So if you can set everyone up comfortably and everyone’s using the software, particularly if they haven’t used it before you will find that it will work. So to give you an example, it was a real estate agency that I worked with, that none of them had ever used any programs such as Skype or Hang Outs.
So we installed it in every single persons computer and then did testing and share screens and video conferencing, and by the end of the hour they were like “This is fantastic. I love it! I get how it works”.
So it’s really taking out the scariness and the fear of “I haven’t used this technology and it must be hard”, to this is fun and we can all use it, regardless if I’m sitting next to you in the local office, or if you’re in the Philippines.
Stuart: Excellent well thanks Nerissa that’s been really helpful. So from what you’re saying, what I’m hearing anyway, is that there’s really the two aspects. One is to make sure you’ve got a really strong framework in place for the role which you want to fill and that there’s really strong guidance and management for the individual that is offshore.
Then you’ve also got the communication and really the systems within the whole business so the whole team can work together and the offshore component isn’t something separate it’s really just totally integrated. So that sounds really interesting. Well look thanks for your time Nerissa. I look forward to seeing you again.
Nerissa: Thanks Stuart.