Retention of the offshore RPO teams is as crucial as retaining in-house/onshore personnel. People are one of the most significant assets for every organisation, and losing staff has an impact both on the clients and the bottom line.
The cost of employee attrition is directly related to the company’s ability to redistribute the work and hire replacements for lost employees, usually at higher salaries. Some studies predict that every time a business replaces an employee, it costs 6 to 9 months’ salary on average.
The reasons offshore RPO staff attrite are very similar to those employed onshore or in-house.
Lack of clarity and direction
Clarity of scope of work and direction is as crucial as deciding to outsource. Without transparency, no team, be it onshore or offshore can function effectively. Is delegating tasks when unclear leads to frustration both ways, leading to the casualty, i.e. losing an offshore RPO team member plus loss of time and investment.
Constantly changing goalposts (Scope of Work)
Yes, recruiting is dynamic. However, focus and a dedicated goalpost are imperative for the success of any project in-house or outsourced. The impact of constantly changing goal posts is an unexpected outcome creating friction between the teams, and leaving the offshore RPO staff to fend for themselves. Simply, the staff attrite’.
Lack of expectation setting, i.e. KPIs
Knowing what to delegate to the outsourced team and ensuring the teams are aware of the outcome expected is critical. Deriving the output from historical data of the onshore recruitment team is one of the best ways to proceed. Ideally, the recruitment agency and the offshore team must mutually agree on a sliding scale KPI structure at the time of signing the contract. Failing to set and manage expectations often results in staff attrition.
Lack of effective communication by the client, i.e. recruitment agency
The adage “Out of sight out of mind” stands true in many outsourcing projects. Recruitment agencies either forget that they have an offshore team or lose interest soon post-transition.
Leaving the team on their own, either with minimal communication or ghosted is no way to manage a remote team. Keeping teams engaged with effective communication is the key to staff retention. There are weeks and months where onshore staff and promoters hardly interact with the offshore teams, a scenario like this makes it abundantly clear to the offshore staff that they are not a priority or of little importance.
Who likes being micro-managed? Imagine being questioned every move every minute. Would you like it? Having a certain level of trust in the offshore team helps. Offshore staff are as human as people elsewhere. Cross those limits and people are bound to feel agitated, ultimately hampering their performance and in many cases deciding to leave.
Constant criticism/nagging (meaning stakeholders, i.e. Onshore Recruiters, Team Leaders, Management, etc.)
Recognise where due and criticise when required. However, constant criticism is no short of bullying. People take it for a certain amount of time until they find an alternative; they are gone the next moment they have an option.
Lack of appreciation
Being valued by peers and onshore colleagues is a more remarkable part of job satisfaction for the offshore RPO staff. When left unappreciated for lengthy durations by both the offshore RPO and the client management team, people start looking for an alternative.
No rewards/commission on hitting targets
Greed is good, but not rewarding the offshore staff for hitting their KPIs is beyond being greedy. It is exploitation, especially when saving on operating costs by 50%, there is no reason not to have a rewarding structure in place. People work for money and make a living, when not rewarded, demotivation kicks in, leading to attrition in a short duration.
No growth, stagnation
A straightforward reason for people to leave is when stagnancy kicks in, they go. Unless the client has an alternative for the offshore RPO staff or the offshore RPO has a choice, there is no option but to relieve the staff.
Incentive/Commission not shared by the offshore RPO with the staff
One of the many ways offshore RPOs make additional margin is by either undercutting the incentives or not paying it forward at all. The offshore staff find out in no time, ultimately leading to staff attrition.
Lack of training and development, no exposure
Training and developing staff lead to better service delivery, and client and staff retention. Both the recruitment agency and the offshore RPO are responsible for training and development. A structured TNI (Training Need Identification) process helps, T&D is also an avenue for active staff engagement. Lack of training creates an unhappy and dissatisfied work environment. People want exposure, and many leave due to the lack of learning new things.
Better prospects/commission/incentive structure on other clients with the offshore partner or a competitor
Staff leaving for pastures green. Should the offshore RPO wish to retain, the team are transferred onto another project with a better commission structure, of course, the client must approve of such transfer.
Stagnancy within the offshore partner, i.e. no growth of the organisation
Moving to a growing organisation or a large company is a dream for many to advance their career. One of the fears is stagnancy of both the client and the offshore RPO hitting the plateau that might not give them the growth they aspire.
Lack of interest by key stakeholders of the offshore RPO partner
The background, customer service acumen and commerce decide the fate of every project. A significant focus is assigned based on margins generated from every client, and commercials agreed—the more significant the margins, the better the focus and involvement. Diverse business verticals are also one of the reasons; i.e. if the company has a large portion of their profits being generated from the IT or accounting vertical, RPO is looked upon as a side non-core business. Given this situation, people migrate to companies that are serious about every client and vertical where they get due attention.
Double standards, i.e. different functional rules for the onshore and offshore team members
Sharing information is imperative, and a level playing field is crucial for the success of every project. Once the project is in action, different rules for onshore and offshore, many times unfair, and unreasonable without logic are implemented. They not only harm the overall outcome and objective but also leads to staff attrition in the long run.
A healthy work environment is vital for the retention of the offshore team. Effective communication and consistent engagement are key to the success of offshore RPO projects.