How to Build Trust Among IT Outsourcing Partners

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Reduced costs, a skilled workforce, and minimized in-house overhead are just some of the greatest benefits associated with IT outsourcing. 

But as the first issues appear, we start to see that maintaining a solid outsourcing partnership is not that simple. Many companies that decide to establish an outsourcing model attempt to cut potential problems in the core by specifying the “rules of partnership” with an NDA agreement. But let us tell you, it will not suffice. 

Be mindful of the fact that fluctuations in a remote relationship are expected, which is why it is crucial to maintain them and address any issues early on. But those in the leadership position are expected to be proactive about increasing the efficiency of an outsourced partnership by implementing smart work methodologies. 

What can you do?

Communicate clearly

Communication issues are cited as one of the greatest outsourcing challenges. Time difference, asynchronous collaboration, language, and cultural barriers are the most common problems that prevent remote partners from building a strong professional alliance. To avoid miscommunication and minimize the mistakes that stem from it, companies that are working on nurturing their relationship with an IT outsourcing partner are advised to:

Take the time to meet the team

Set up a one-on-one call with every member of the team you hire. By getting some time alone with them, you will establish greater understanding and set a strong foundation for a trustworthy partnership. 

Leave open slots in your schedule to organize a regular virtual check-in with everyone. This will allow you to collect feedback, offer answers to any of the questions and concerns they may have, and promptly respond to their needs. 

Send a clear message

Define expectations and clearly communicate them with the team. The outsourced workforce needs to be familiar with more than just the main project objectives, which means you are expected to:

  • Familiarize them with the target audience so they can approach the work strategically 
  • Inform them of the scope of the project in advance 
  • Communicate the timeline and milestones accurately
  • Provide a detailed project plan containing all KPIs, metrics, estimates, and objectives so that all your staff - in-house and outsourced contractors - are focused on the same vision. 

Some companies even decide to sign the service-level agreement (SLA) that they can use as the building blocks of a solid professional relationship. By officially defining the nature of the relationship and key performance indicators, you ensure everyone’s working towards achieving the same goals. 

Stay on top of work to provide timely feedback

While you need to assign a trusted liaison who will help you overcome cultural barriers and streamline communication, you cannot detach yourself completely from the operations performed by the remote team.

Maintain involvement in the project, even if you have delegated everything to a local project manager. Staying on top of the work will enable you to notice potential issues in advance and raise questions when necessary. 

This way you can provide feedback regarding any aspect of work in real-time, in that way cut down on downtime or having to do things multiple times. The earlier you raise concerns, the faster the changes will be implemented, and sooner the people will get back on the right track.

Equip yourself with valuable software

To increase efficiency and further improve communication with remote partners, choose an arsenal of project management and collaboration software. A proper set of tools will help you organize all tasks and dependencies, assign roles, and record milestones while keeping everyone in the loop at all times. 

Fortunately, the market is flooded with software designed to make the management of outsourced projects easier. Now it is up to you to select the ones that best answer the requirements of the specific project(s) you are working on.

Online meeting

Share knowledge and ideas

It is not uncommon for companies to look for IT outsourcing services to delegate the grunt work no one in-house has the time to deal with (or simply doesn’t want to). Unfortunately, such partnerships suffer from high employee churn. 

Namely, when entrusted with only the most basic tasks, their work turns into a monotonous routine and your outsourcing partners quickly lose their motivation to contribute. 

Yes, you should be mindful of the work you are looking to outsource, and delegating 100 percent of everything that needs to be done is not always the best option. 

Try to find the middle ground: one where your partners will get to do versatile tasks, take more ownership, and feel like a valuable part of your company, and not just another cog in the machine. While that means a portion of your time will have to be set aside for onboarding and education, who’s to say that you won’t get to learn something new from them if you just provide them with a chance to speak?

Build strong interpersonal relationships

And don’t stop with establishing a professional relationship - really get to know your partners at a personal level, spend quality time together outside the office and work hours to build trust and understanding. Deeper connections will get the remote partner really invested in you, your company, and the project they are involved in. Remember: with greater emotional involvement come greater results. 

Bottom line: choose your partner wisely

All of the above will be in vain if you fail to find the most adequate partner for the next project. Transparent communication is necessary from the first interview you do with them. It is crucial to get to know the other side well enough to know that they are the right fit in every way: in terms of skills and character. 

Look into their work portfolio, but also consider testing the relationship through a pilot project before officiating the partnership. Hire a team that has the skills and knowledge necessary to complete the work you need them to.

And once you do find a trusted IT outsourcing partner, steer away from micromanagement. Remember that you hired them for their expertise and let them do the job they are good at. And you - you will get the time you need to focus on other things that are on your schedule and more in line with your specialty.

Be sure to share your values, company culture, ethical standards, and work methodologies since transparent leadership is a prerequisite for cohesive teamwork and long-term partnership.

Finally, don’t forget to actually treat them as partners. Consider their input and opinions on the matter because, after all, you have hired them for their expertise. Allow them to showcase their full potential and reward them for their exceptional performance - with a fair profit and recognition they deserve.

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