How to Make Better Outsourcing Decisions

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					?Virtual outsourcing is an exciting opportunity that offers multiple advantages for
small to mid-sized businesses, including:
1. low-cost, low-overhead work without the typical initial recruiting/hiring expenses
2. a wide and more diverse global pool of skilled freelance talent
3. a mutually beneficial pay-for-performance compensation structure
4. flexibility within a predefined project arrangement, and
5. real-time management tools.

However, even considering these virtual compliments, outsourcing managers are still
left with the same ultimate hiring decision they encounter with in-house employment
situations. Following is our analysis of and recommendation for online outsourcing to
freelance providers:

The challenge.
Being confident as an outsourcing company that you're hiring the best freelance
provider for the job at hand is a daunting challenge. Organizations obviously want to
know that the professionals they hire are qualified, but also that these freelance
providers fit within their company and its business processes.

By examining provider profiles, freelance portfolios and critical feedback,
outsourcing companies can get a basic feel for the type of off-site agent they may be
considering hiring. But this may not be enough.

There's more to outsourcing than selecting a qualified person: Will the freelance
provider work well with management? Will they meet specific expectations, time
constraints and budget requirements? Will the relationship be effective and
productive?

The solution.
There's an easy way to sample freelance providers with little risk (especially when
using a Workteam Solution such as oDesk), an easy way to answer these important
questions and ease the worries that come with any new hire (one which can be of
particular importance when filling a long-term outsourcing position).

The solution is simple. Outsourcing companies need just to post their job and
expectations normally, interviewing freelance providers with the necessary
qualifications. Then, however, these outsourcing organizations need to hire the
selected freelance professionals for a limited number of hours and assign them a
portion of a project (or a smaller but similar project). Companies can create several
small projects and test the most promising freelance providers. The cost is minimal, as
little as a single hour of compensation for each freelance provider selected.

The commitment is limited, but the experience of working remotely and using tools
like oDesk to communicate with a particular freelance provider can be invaluable. If
work samples and cover letters are the gold standard for an outsourcing company
when evaluating freelance providers, then sampling is the platinum standard.
Companies get to see how one (or multiple) freelance professionals actually perform
an agreed-upon task, and interact with their team.

More Advantages.
Outsourcing organizations know that jobs evolve- goals change, deadlines and scope
get modified, new ideas are introduced and new concerns need to be addressed.
Sampling freelance providers allows outsourcing managers to do an initial shake-out
and tighten their focus before deciding on the right approach. It may be that the
position for which a company is outsourcing requires a different mix of talent than
originally thought, or that the deadline or budget were too optimistic. Sampling is a
great way to clarify things.

Sampling by limiting hours also protects outsourcing companies from an
unscrupulous freelance provider who ‘milks' time. If a provider cannot produce a
quality product within a reasonable amount of time, the outsourcing mistake has been
made at a rock-bottom hourly rate. Trying before buying allows businesses to find out
before committing.

Finally, sampling freelance providers lets outsourcing companies filter a larger set of
qualified applicants to find the best fit. By hiring several freelance providers and
sampling them, the outsourcing manager can see exactly what their organization will
get for their money and keep the best of the group.

				
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posted:4/25/2011
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