So, let’s start at the beginning – what is company culture (https://www.thebalancecareers.com/what-is-company-culture-2062000) ?
According to thebalancecareers.com this encompasses the shared values, attributes, and characteristics of the organization. This culture (https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/tools-and-samples/toolkits/pages/understandinganddevelopingorganizationalculture.aspx) is also said to set the context for everything an enterprise does. Anyone who has worked in an organisation with a good company culture will recognise it almost immediately, and the same can be said for the inverse. An unhappy and demotivated workforce can easily be identified by those part of the company, and those outside.
Now, the question that many people grapple with is whether company culture is affected when companies opt to outsource workers as opposed to hiring employees to work in- house. If this culture is said to set the context for everything an organisation does, then it would be a very important question to ask. A few years ago the answer to this would’ve been a no brainer – but with the advancement in the technological tools we have at our disposal, the question requires a lot more thought.
Let’s find out.
Outsourcing workers has been an option for a while, with companies such as Avirtual (https://avirtual.co.uk/) being around as early as 2015. However, the likelihood of making use of this option has become increasingly common as a result of the global Corona Virus pandemic that has forcefully made remote working a norm. The digital era has also pushed a lot of companies out of their comfort zones, but in turn, has facilitated a space to re-evaluate a lot of traditional work functions.
What are the benefits of outsourcing workers?
There are many benefits that come with outsourcing workers, but the ones that seem to be reoccurring are quite clear. You have access to a larger talent pool which allows you to find someone specialised in any part of the world. You are also essentially hiring help on a contractual basis, which saves your company a lot of money. And, as your business grows, outsourcing can be a way to promote innovation (https://www.thebalancesmb.com/top-outsourcing-advantages-2533765) and in turn reposition your company in the market.
Research shows that employees perform better (https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/why-organizational-culture-is-important) when their environment fosters a sense of belonging as that allows them to feel like they are a part of a unit, as opposed to operating in silos. At first glance at both options, it might seem obvious that one would provide workers more of a sense of unity. It is important to note however, that the unit doesn’t necessarily have to be working from the same space – they just need to have the same vision.
So, how do you achieve and maintain these company culture ideals irrespective of whether your staff is outsourced or in-house?
1. Effective Communication
While leadership generally sets the tone for company culture, it needs to be successfully communicated to the rest of the staff. Communication is very important in maintaining any relationship, but even more so when workers are not working from the same space. Many frustrations can arise when employees feel like their voices aren’t heard. Poor communication can also lead to poor deliverables because the ouput is mostly based on assumption. Healthy communication allows us to avoid effective management turning into micro-management. Open, honest, transparent and consistent communication will make team members feel valued.
2. Make employees feel valued
What is common with bad company culture is communication only being prioritised when there is a problem, in turn completely neglecting praise and positive feedback as an essential component of your company culture. This should be avoided at all costs. Appreciation feels good in any environment and can still be achieved when workers are outsourced. Performance should be measured and celebrated in all roles and functions in your team. Positive feedback is a valuable motivational strategy.
3. Manage expectations
Employees like to feel that their expertise are trusted, and that they are recognised as a valuable member of the team. Trust your team, but also communicate any issues you may have if you don’t. When trust and respect are maintained, it makes it easier to have an honest conversation on progress.
Research (https://www.fastcompany.com/3061250/these-are-job-seekers-top-3-priorities-right-now-according-to-linkedin) shows that 66% of job seekers consider a company’s culture and values the most important factor when considering career opportunities. When your staff are happy and fulfilled, they will put in the necessary effort to achieve the necessary goals. While it might seem that it is easier to achieve this with a staff team that is only in-house, it is important to note that the digital era has made it possible for company culture to be maintained irrespective of where your employees are.