The business world is facing a major dilemma over the extent of globalisation and internationalisation and how to translate them into concrete business practices. The more competitive a market becomes, the greater the need for companies to attract the best professionals. For some time, almost all companies have been thinking about how to own, acquire, and retain these experts. Then, they reach a level of expertise where they can no longer solve a task with internal capacity, with traditional employees, and are “forced” to bring in external resources. Although the world has been clearly moving in the direction of outsourcing for decades, many people are still completely averse to its use. But while it was a matter of choice even ten years ago, it is now clear that unique expertise, at its highest level, can only be obtained in this way. Moreover, the pandemic has given this trend a major boost in the last two years.
The impact of coercion
It has been said that every crisis has its own cleansing effect on the market, and that at the end of the process, weak firms die, and strong ones rise. We’ve seen this many times before, but companies have not really been hit so hard in this millennium. But it is also true that there are personality types who simply need to be forced to move, but because their professionalism is outstanding and their thinking logical, they can catch up with the market that is moving ahead and even outflank it. To do so, however, they have to face their own demons. Outsourcing and the home office share the same demons: the fear of losing control. However, I would like to emphasise straight away that it is a real fear when you surround yourself with the wrong professionals. You have to be very careful about using non-internal human resources, because it is safe to say that they are generally not the right partner for someone who fundamentally likes these informal forms. Those who have been a fan of the home office from day one, or who went outsourcing at the first opportunity – almost without thinking – have seen only one thing as an option: freedom. Work without control, accountability, or checkpoints. Based on over 20 years of experience, believe me, I have never seen an exception to this. But that doesn’t mean that there are no outsourcing companies that offer high professional standards, and it certainly doesn’t mean that all home office workers are unreliable. Only those who are true professionals will actually work, those who do not start with enthusiasm and do not go into a “remote job” with their eyes closed. Instead, they are much more likely to develop their professional skills and to be able to devote their time to the job, because they can avoid the unnecessary waste of time that socialisation at work often requires. After all, if a lot of people take an hour-long lunch break, and more people talk for hours at work, then the manager or professional wants to follow social norms and, even if he or she is not an active participant in the conversations, cannot engage in their work. This cannot happen at home like it can in a workplace setting.
A new type of loyalty
The business world has discovered and understood the place of outsourcing. We are also seeing that there are now companies with a very high level of expertise, which are not so loud, not so pushy – as was the case in the outsourcing industry – but are truly at the top of the profession. Their performance can be dramatically better than that of an internal employee. Being at the top of their profession, they are also assured of continuous professional development by working not for a single company but for several partners with different challenges. In addition, their working time is focused on the job, and as in most cases, there are no unnecessary socialisation expectations placed on them; they are able to do much higher quality work in significantly less time. In addition, they have a stronger sense of control over themselves than external control, so the client’s sense of security is increased compared to that of their own human resources. They don’t have to deal with motivating the workforce and, although they are superior to their own workforce in terms of unit pricing, they only use their labour to the extent that it is really needed, so it is more cost-effective overall. This, of course, requires finding truly professional outsourcing partners who are not willing to sell more work hours to their clients. It’s not too difficult to spot them in the market these days, as they are full of work, hard to reach, and want to get the job done within a noticeably tight deadline. And they do so to a high standard because they are demanding and, as professionals, they cannot afford to have an unsatisfied client. That is, they cannot face the fact that someone is legitimately dissatisfied with their professional work. For them, it is a matter of professional credibility, not ego. This market has changed a lot in recent years, and modern companies have clearly settled on outsourcing partners, as they can get the highest level of professionalism in all areas. It is another matter that another new trend is that outsourcing companies and their partners are developing an almost endless relationship, so that sooner or later, they can be seen almost as “internal collaborators”, at least in terms of loyalty. Because these new-approach outsourcing partners have a high level of loyalty, if only because of the personality of the person working there.
The biggest challenge and the next way forward for outsourcing is to eliminate local boundaries. Already today, many outsourcing partners are hired even if they are separated by an ocean. But many are still reluctant to find partners outside their own well-travelled locations. It is a developmental phase, just like the first steps. In the meantime, globalisation is clearly creating new opportunities for business decision-makers. In a market where new strategic approaches and non-traditional solutions are needed to succeed, it is not surprising that more and more companies are using outsourcing companies located at considerable geographical distances. Of course, the personal touch will always be important, but truly modern companies are equipped to build and maintain the right level of personal contact. It is increasingly common for outsourcing firms to have a “front office” solution or office in each of the relevant continents or major geographical units of business importance to them, between which they can move easily and flexibly. These offices are located in key business hubs, but for the sake of a true customer experience, they also maintain a network of so-called “project offices” to ensure that they have perfect access in time and space to a company not in the capital. Then the project office can easily transform into a standard office depending on the direction the partnership takes. In other words, international expansion is also moving into a new dimension in the outsourcing field, where international offices are appearing in no time, even in locations where no international company would plan to open an office, but it is worth it for the outsourcing company to maintain them in order to increase partner satisfaction and thus to maintain and develop the partnership.
If there is a positive return from the pandemic, it is surely that business opportunities that were already available to us, but which we had not taken seriously, are now being considered. If outsourcing is executed by the right professionals, it can be a major growth opportunity in the life of a company. It is worth rethinking our decisions in this regard and considering setting aside the limitations dictated by our personalities or our generation.