Challenges in managing outsourced workforce remotely

November 30, 2011: Outsourcing has become popular word among the business entities over the last ten years or so. The emergence of cloud computing, social media and many other mobile technologies has enhanced the capability of the firms to employ fully or partially remote work force and has made it easier and lot simpler. Moreover, the fast pace of globalization and the emergence of outsourcing hubs in the developing countries has opened up additional opportunities for the firms to get their work done through third party service providers.

Even though the trend has become widely popular, it has always contributed its own share of controversies. One among them is that it has shifted many jobs overseas and this has resulted in a growing population of at home workers which has created new management challenges for employers and Human Resource departments across the industries.  

A recent report by Gartner suggests that the global business process outsourcing industry is set to expand by 6.3 percent in the current year. The industry is expected to grow at 17.9 per cent in the Asia Pacific region alone. US market is expected to witness additional 29 million telecommuters entering into the remote work force between 2009 and 2016, which form 43 per cent of the total employees in the US firms.

According to Katie Ratkiewicz, outsourcing is not considered as temporary solution for short term needs any more. Katie added that it is now redefined as a permanent component in the organizational set up.

Every business is unique and their requirements differ from one another. The market segment differs; the customer profile differs and so on. This calls for the careful selection of jobs in the organization that should be outsourced. The management should compare the strengths and weakness of the current employees with the requirements of the specific project.

Outsourcing does not mean that the managers can consider it as out of control. Whatever the outsourced work may be, manages have to develop the process which is of interest to the organization and should ensure proper monitoring for quality control.

As technology has broadened the scope of outsourcing, it has also widened the hiring spectrum for the employers. There are different channels such as web searches, social networking sites, etc that assist organizations in hiring employees. What is difficult for organizations is finding the right people with necessary skills and talents.

An important objective of outsourcing is to free managers of non core business functions and focus on core issues. Managers must build a relation of trust with the service provider and should ensure that things do not go out of control.

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