Potential Risks to Avoid When Using On-Demand Professionals
You know the advantages of using On-Demand Professionals. But do you fully understand risks associated with outsourcing and how to effectively mitigate those risks?
In any service business, the greatest risk of all is loss of control. Your greatest asset is your reputation, so when you send an on-demand resource to deliver services to your customer you still own the quality of the service, and the quality of the interaction with the customer.
No customer is expecting you to always send a service professional who receives a W-2 form from you each year. Customers expect results. They want to have an excellent experience doing business with you. Many of your colleagues and competitors have achieved positive outcomes using on-demand professionals, and if you manage them correctly, so can you.
Engage with Professionals Who aren’t Employees
Especially now, it is crucial to remember that engaging on-demand professionals to provide contracted work for you is a people-centered process. In an effort to automate the process, many portals have emerged that make it seem like the people you are hiring are just products with certain characteristics. But they’re not. They’re people.
Software-as-as-Service (SaaS) labor portals are useful to deliver factual information such as CV of their projects or Certifications they have earned. But when you focus on the more subjective issues such as personality, articulation, integrity, you go beyond what a SaaS portal can do for you. Even reviews posted on these portals from previous clients can be held suspect unless validated.
To mitigate your biggest risk, that of losing a customer due to poor behavior by the engaged on-demand professional, you must be comfortable that you have chosen the right on-demand professional and be confident in dispatching them to your customer. Above and beyond their technical skills, the on-demand professional must be able to put customers at ease, keep them informed and show respect at all times. Soft Skills are some of the most important attributes that qualify you as an effective vendor manager. Your ability to get a read on people and know whom you can trust is an important part of successfully engaging on-demand professionals.
There is a different dynamic when engaging with someone who doesn’t work for you. It’s critical to remember that your engagement is a professional collaboration rather than a manager/employee relationship.
Success Begins at Selection
A basic lesson taught to managers is that they own responsibility for any time an employee must be fired. They either selected the wrong person or they managed them poorly. It is always best to own responsibility, but never more so than when managing on-demand professionals.
The first step is selection, beginning with seeking and identifying potential candidates. There are a plethora of candidate job sites, portals, and boards that will furnish you with resumes. It is assumed that you have the bandwidth to read through resumes, check candidate reviews, and then feel comfortable enough to engage someone.
Recruiting experts have outstanding skills at matching people and projects to each other. While it’s fine to begin the search in a database, the next step should involve experts who understand the dynamics of the IT business and can work with you to find the best candidates.
The final step, just as in a full-time hire, is to interview. Develop an interview that speaks mainly to the qualities described earlier. Interpersonal communications, professional conduct, and trustworthiness are just as important as technical acumen. Even more so, the source you turn to for help finding the right people should also be interviewing potential candidates, vetting their abilities, and providing you with insight into each candidate they recommend. As you come to know and trust your preferred sources you need to find yourself able to depend upon them to evaluate people on your behalf.
Mitigating Other Risks
Account control is also critical to you. While your on-demand professionals may sign a non-disclosure, non-compete or non-interference agreement with you, you should never allow them to be your only or even your primary connection to your customer. You’re still managing the outcome, so be sure your own staff has robust contact and interaction with each of your customers. Inspect what you expect. The better your relationship with the customer, the more likely they are to tell you when someone you sent to service them didn’t fit their expectations.
Clearly document your expectations so the on-demand technician is the best representative for your company
The last risk we’ll discuss today regards information. Every time you are at the client site, it is important to obtain new information about your customer. Clearly document your expectations so the on-demand technician understands the type of information you want them to report. Instruct your on-demand professionals to utilize call notes inside the call management service and instruct your support people to review your expectations with the technician prior to dispatch.
Start Right, End Right
In the end, you still own the quality of the service and the quality of the interaction with the customer. After all, your professional reputation is your most valuable asset. It is imperative that you choose the best recruiting partner, one that takes the time to carefully vet each professional before engagement so you can scale your business quickly and successfully. For more information on how to mitigate the risks associated with selecting and engaging on-demand professionals, talk to a Techadox expert today.