HR Concerns in Overseas Outsourcing
When you engage in outsourcing overseas, the individual team members working on your project at the offshore vendor's office are key players in making your project a success. This raises interesting HR issues, as you must consider the personnel concerns not only for your onshore employees, but also for the overseas workers in order to develop powerful synergies between the two teams.
- Skills Checklist: Know what skill sets you need to have among the offshore team members and evaluate vendors' personnel accordingly. Pay attention to not only technical skills, but also project management abilities, which are equally important in keeping your project on track.
- Working Conditions: Examine the offshore vendors' facilities and their ability to train the offshore teams to better meet your needs. You might want your offshore vendor to create new policies and procedures to improve the working environment and help the offshore team better meet the demands of the project.
- Recruitment and Retention: Be familiar with the offshore vendor's HR policies and procedures and be confident that it will be able to recruit, hire, train, and retain the type of personnel you need to have working on your project. Ask about the company's attrition rate, which can delay your project and waste valuable resources on repetitive trainings.
- Teambuilding and Integration: Before the project begins, consider whether you plan to have onshore and offshore personnel travel to meet in person. This can greatly improve teambuilding and integration, but it is also expensive and time consuming. If your employees plan to travel to the offshore office, be sure to clearly explain how the transition and expenses will be handled ahead of time to avoid any unwelcome surprises.
- Confidentiality: Know the offshore vendor's policy regarding intellectual property rights inside and out. You'll be sharing a great deal of confidential information with your vendor and you'll want to be sure that the information won't be lost or misused. Understand the local laws for protecting intellectual property. Finally, make sure that workers who terminate their relationship with the offshore company are bound to maintain confidentiality even when they are no longer employed there.
- Cross-Cultural Considerations: When working with an offshore vendor, there are often significant differences in culture and language. These differences can be challenging at times, so it is important to address their implications for interpersonal relationships before the project begins. Your business should choose to use an official language, presumably English, for the project and make sure that the offshore team members have sufficient proficiency in the language to communicate with your onshore employees.