Outsourcing, offshoring or remote staffing; call it what you will but up until recently is has had a shaky reputation. You don’t know who you’re working with, how reliable they are or if they’re actually capable of doing the work assigned to them. Stories of unsatisfied customers or staff that have disappeared half way through jobs are quite easy to find.
New companies outsourcing to the Philippines aim to change all of that, by putting the ‘service’ part back into remote staffing services. The service provided by outsourcing company Stafflister isn’t just the service of the offshore staff you hire, but also comes from Stafflister itself.
“Companies that hire through outsourcing firms are often just left on their own with their new staff” says Toby Gospodarczyk, founder of the offshoring company. “We don’t really agree with that method. A lot of Australian business hire these outsourced staff without any training or knowledge on how to remotely manage them. It’s a different skill to managing onshore staff. We’ve decided to help mediate the process a lot more than other companies and always have a constant daily presence to make sure things are running smoothly”.
Toby says they are able to achieve this due to the fact that Stafflister has been built from the ground up with efficiency in mind. Many processes that would normally need manual action are streamlined, and the latest in online technology has been used as an integral part of their business structure. “This leaves us with a lot more time for customer service and really taking care of client needs”, says Toby.
This constant mediation process is possible because Stafflister provides easy to use online collaboration tools for client and their Filipino staff to work together on. “It looks a bit like Facebook, so people will already be familiar with how to use it. But it’s actually also very versatile and able to adapt to different types of work being done. For example if we have a graphic designer working with a client, we’re able to add a design approval application that allows staff to drag and drop a design for the client to see and the client will then approve or disapprove of the design, with comments and reasons as to why”.
Stafflister is also a little different in the fact that it also provides Project based staff, along with part time and full time staff. Traditionally, outsourcing companies will only offer full time or part time staff.
Where do these staff come from?
Stafflister head hunts its Filipino staff individually, one by one. “This takes time, and negotiation. The truly skilled workers rarely apply for jobs and are not found on the boards that many outsourcing companies use. They also expect to be compensated accordingly” says Toby. “We’re able to compensate our staff in the Philippines well, because we take less overhead and as previously mentioned, a lot of manual process have been streamlined so we can afford to do so. We feel there’s no point in saying ‘we have 10,000 staff on hand’ as in this industry we think the quality of staff is hugely important. We have staff that have worked with SEGA, EA, DISNEY and other big name companies. That is the level of quality we’re offering.”
Some of the most popular outsourced skills are reportedly graphic design, payroll, accounting, article writing, and data entry. This is a change from past years where most skills outsourced were of a more technical nature such as C++ programming, python, java development and so forth.
This change has been brought about as more companies and in particular the smaller ones realize that almost all skills can be outsourced, even your typical data entry services.
With this realization, these companies are able to outsource these skills to the Philippines at around $8 and hour as opposed to the $25 or so an hour they would be paying onshore staff. This frees up their budget for further advertising, marketing, or hiring onshore staff within a different area.
“It’s all about balance, and what you want to do with your budget. I love having the opportunity to help up and coming companies grow, and often have discussions with them about their experiences within their business. I learn a lot from it.” adds Toby.
Is Stafflister’s pricing any different to its competitors?
Despite all of the apparent benefits to working with Stafflister, its pricing remains on the lower end of the industry scale. We might see more of these types of business models in the future that rely the latest technology to deliver something special and cost effective, but for now it’s a slow shift. Invoicing and payment is also easy, along with being able to view the amount of hours your staff have worked at any time.
A more human approach, and a different philosophy on outsourcing
Toby maintains that his staff are treated exceptionally well, and sticks with the theory that “happy staff are productive staff”.
“With the amount of initial negotiating, collaborating with them in work, and daily chat, we get to know our staff very well. We make sure that everything is great on the staff end too, not just on the client side. That’s important.” Says Toby, when asked about his take on staff management.
I then asked what stops clients from working directly with clients and cutting Stafflister out of the equation. He responded “I’m very familiar with the struggles that gaming, music, and movie companies have with piracy and have followed the industry news in regards to this for a long time. It was at the forefront of my mind when creating this business, and decided to follow the model that online gaming company Steam uses. Steam’s founder says ‘Piracy is almost always a service problem and not a pricing problem.’ I love this way of thinking and I’ve applied this to outsourcing. We provide a service that’s worth paying for and once you experience it, you wouldn’t really think about doing things the old way. The amount you would save by going direct is minimal and the benefits of working with us are huge.”
This really seems to challenge the model of other freelancer sites that offer purely direct to staff services.
Stafflister has an interesting business model and may very well be the solution you’ve been looking for if you’ve been a bit cautious in trying outsourcing in the past. They look forward to further growth throughout 2015 and helping Australian business grow.
Australia is currently one of the largest users of outsourcing, with per capita spent almost double that of the USA.
If you’d like to know more about Stafflister, take a look at their Facebook page or give them a call on 02 8091 3131.