20 Jun The only two ways to get the best offshore IT staff outsourcing in the Philippines
Before clients start working with us at Technology Elite (or our offshore consultancy firm), their most common complaint about offshoring or it staff outsourcing in the Philippines is that they can’t find good staff. Particularly they have trouble finding great offshore technical staff, but hiring the right people is clearly a big problem with almost all roles.
Put simply, you won’t get the results you seek if you use the same methods you use back home.
If all you need are good customer service people, then it’s not hard: there are hundreds of thousands of experienced and skilled CS agents ready to hire in Philippines. Your success with this kind of team will more come down to your training and the facility’s ability to retain the good staff (an art form in itself).
But when it comes to hiring technical staff in high-skill roles like Server Engineers, Technical Support, Software Developers, Network Engineers (and many other complex roles), there’s only TWO ways to guarantee that you’ll end up with great offshore staff with the right skills.
Train the skills OR Head-hunt the skills
This sounds simple, and conceptually it is, but neither of these things is the same as back home, which is why so many get it wrong and end up with a low-quality team.
1) The first option is to train the skills
This method involves recruiting people with inadequate experience in the kind of work you want them to do. They have some experience and are intelligent with excellent communication skills and keen to learn.
This method also applies to those who have MOST of the skills you need but do have known gaps.
What you must do is detailed training on every single TASK that they will be required to do. No level of knowledge is assumed. For every task you deliver training multiple times, followed by team practice, followed by live examples, followed by corrections.
What emerges at the other end is someone who does their job perfectly because they know each task perfectly and know the expectations of management. This is how a lot of Filipinos are trained by US corporates. It’s also why you find a lot of staff who are very skilled but only in only a few things.
The biggest benefits of this approach are:
i) No surprises with how an employee executes tasks. Consistency.
ii) Being able to hire MUCH cheaper staff. As low as half the cost.
Businesses that do not have multiple levels of management or dedicated HR staff are very unlikely to do this method well. As our friends at TimeDoctor.com point out they are often too busy to execute properly, or they assume too much prior knowledge (a major issue for Australian businesses in particular), or fail to do the testing and minor retraining to perfect it.
2) The second option is to head-hunt the skills precisely
As you might be thinking, training for skill is not a good strategy for roles where experience is crucial for competence.
For example, you can’t teach someone to be a great construction engineer with a few weeks of training. The same goes for trying to turn a Level 1 IT support tech into a Level 2 Engineer or turning a mid-skilled software developer into a Senior.
So head-hunting talent offshore is often critical, and it’s also what Tech Elite specialises in.
This method involves precise recruitment based on skills testing. It means paying top salaries for the very best people, and having OBJECTIVE PROOF that they are the best. The objective proof comes from their scores on our unique and trusted exams.
Things to consider when outsourcing in the Philippines
With offshoring of technical roles or outsourcing to the Philippines, normal recruitment methods won’t work.
For example, longevity in a role is NOT a proof of skill or experience because roles are often very narrow. You can have someone with the title of “Senior IT Engineer” for their last 3 roles over a ten year period, but still, find that the technical exam shows they are a junior level 1 skillset. They are requesting a salary of say AUD $20k per year but their actual skills are worth maybe half that in objective market value.
This is NORMAL with hiring staff in the Philippines – resumes and titles are absolutely useless in determining skill. Unfortunately, many facilities don’t understand how to hire complex roles, so they turn it into a crap-shoot for their clients.
Interviews and reference checks are also inadequate recruitment techniques in the Philippines, for reasons we explain elsewhere on the site.
Recruitment teams offshore consistently do a poor job at recruiting for specific skills. That is evident in the slow team growth and staff and client churn that is all too common with average facilities.
Years ago I personally had the frustrating experience inside another BPO, of being given poor quality candidates over and over again by their recruitment team. They didn’t understand my business, or what skills we needed, or how to find those people.
The systems I developed to deal with their ineffective methods, I eventually brought into Tech Elite, and we continue to refine and improve these systems constantly to ensure that we are far ahead of competitors.
Specialists outsourcing in the Philippines
One thing I realised from my BPO experiences and my later consulting experiences is that industry specialisation helps a lot. When you use facilities that specialise in, or have great experience in your industry AND use objective skills testing to force applicants to prove their skills during the recruitment process, you have an exponentially better result.
For example in the Accounting industry, Frontline Accounting Philippines is run by accountants, for accountants, with recruitment skills testing, followed by gap training. They set pay brackets according to skill sets, so hiring full time accountants and integrating them into your local team becomes more predictable.
In technical roles such as IT support, software development, and construction roles, Technology Elite uses our own industry-leading technical exams developed by experts in each area of IT.
The exams filter out 95% of applicants based on actual skills, and then categorise the skill scores of the top 5%, so clients always know what they are getting.
Business Outsourcing in the Philippines
There’s much more to building a great multi-shored team but finding or growing the right skillsets is obviously the starting point, and is a very common failure point.
It’s worth noting that any facility you use needs to give you an accurate assessment of each role and its price bracket, and once again, intimately knowing the nature of the roles is a big advantage. For example, I constantly see facilities trying to hire particular combinations of technical skills that are so rare in the Philippines labour market that it’s a pointless strategy. When I am working with clients I’ll tell them straight up:
“That’s a 1 in 1000 candidates kind of person, and you’re going to have to triple that salary range to have a chance of finding and keeping them. This makes it a poor recruitment strategy that we do not recommend.
You could instead break this into two roles, based upon a more common alignment of skillsets. Not only will recruitment be faster and more reliable, but if you need to scale up or replace someone later, you won’t be stuck for months or years waiting for another 1 in 1000 person to arrive.”
Of course, anyone who isn’t skills testing isn’t going to have that kind of conversation with you. Why? Because they do not have the data to know the rarity of the skills combination. They just see resumes with all the right keywords on them and so they genuinely believe that it was a reasonable job description to be recruiting.
Technology staffing solutions
Many mediocre facilities and recruiters simply don’t have any idea how mediocre they are.
So proceed with confidence, but use one of those two strategies – train or head-hunt.
Regardless of whether you choose to laser-target the right skills, or train the skills you need, you can build a great offshore team, with the right strategy and the right help to execute.
Want to learn more? Read our Frequently Asked Questions