A multinational financial institution recently awarded a contract to a global BPO. The employees at the vendor firm were responsible for handling account-related calls made by the client’s existing customers. The relationship, which was built on the foundation of trust and assurance, soon started to crumble. Lack of communication, absence of skilled manpower and overpromising made the alliance turn sour and become dominated by legalities.

Outsourcing part of a business is a current universal trend. Not only does it save clients substantial capital, it keeps the parent company from having to hire, train and manage new personnel.  In some cases, however, the task that is meant to relieve the client of countless burdens turns out to be one of its biggest nightmares.

Outsourcing requires exchanging information, aligning policies and organizational goals, achieving common targets, and defining conditions. Regardless of how straightforward the agreement seems, numerous challenges tend to hinder the relationship. In your next training outsourcing relationship, pay attention to following areas to reduce a considerable amount of stress and prepare both you and the vendor for unforeseen circumstances.

Avoid chunks, and take small bites.

Consider this situation. A client decides to outsource all its departments to the vendor. Despite having the resources to manage these functions, the vendor struggles to follow the procedures and fails to maintain the quality of the product. The result: unhappy customers, negative publicity and increased costs. The choice of relying on a third-party organization to take over the entire operation from day one is very tempting. But taking big bites has never helped anyone enjoy a meal.

Choose small bites. Never transfer an entire department to a vendor. Always start with handing over a single section, which will help you monitor the vendor’s capabilities and allow the vendor time to adapt to your organizational procedures.

Select the messenger judiciously.

Upskilling vendors is an excellent opportunity to transmit knowledge from the client to the vendor. At the same time, however, failure to transfer the required information systematically can lead to endless confusion, failure to meet targets and lack of quality delivery. Be clear on who is responsible for the task of sharing organizational knowledge, policies and procedures with the outsourced organization, including creating thorough training and process manuals. In most cases, organizations will have numerous options when it comes to identifying a messenger, including the management team, a mix of the highest performers or a dedicated training team.

Define a job description.

It is common in outsourcing relationships for vendors to be solely responsible for hiring the necessary manpower for the contract. Unless the third-party organization has received distinct guidelines on their job descriptions, however, recruiting the right candidate can be a tedious and disastrous process. An inability to hire suitable workers can lead to prolonged training sessions and incompetency. Always ensure that the necessary prerequisites, including job description, performance indicators and result areas, are shared periodically and understood by personnel on both sides. It is also advisable to conduct random assessments of candidates selected by the vendor to ensure that they have the required skills and proficiencies.

Set the benchmark.

The existence of measuring tape and weighting scales prevents several types of disputes. Whether it involves procuring fruit or selling a property, both buyers and sellers follow standard measurement scales. The same concept must be adapted when companies outsource training. The client should set quality standards by assigning a value to each part of the responsibility outlined in the job description or task checklist. This evaluation is one of the most important components of any client-vendor alliance. The vendor must constantly demonstrate that the quality standards are observed by conducting periodic independent or client-assisted evaluations. Based on the terms and conditions of the contract, failure to meet the minimum quality standards may have various implications, including a penalty.

Unfortunately, the attraction of saving capital by outsourcing can make the client organization overlook the end consumer of the product: the learner. The process of subcontracting must never lead to an decrease in training effectiveness. The decision to outsource must be worth all the invested effort. When contemplating saving capital, energy, time and manpower, outsourcing is a great option. Follow these recommendations, and ensure that it does not lead to poor learning outcomes or the ultimate collapse of the brand.

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