Staff Turnover Problems – Is Outsourcing The Solution?

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You walk into your offices on a Tuesday morning. You’re hoping this week sails by without any further team members leaving for pastures green. The inevitable happens—another resignation. 

You’ve got lots of demand, jobs to fill, clients to retain, and profits to make. You’re scratching your head and looking for a quick fix to an issue which needs more than a band-aid. 

Now you remember receiving a cold email from an offshore RPO company and reaching out to them looking for a quick fix, assuming that outsourcing will resolve your staff retention problems.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but outsourcing is not “THE” solution to your staff attrition problem. Working with an offshore RPO partner without resolving your staff retention will only aggravate your problems. In short, you will have more issues on your plate than you can handle.

You’ll have problems not because the offshore RPO partner cannot deliver but because you will not have enough resources, i.e. time and champions, to execute the offshore RPO projects.

Why do I say this? I say this from the experience of working with over 100+ recruitment agencies over the years that developed their offshore RPO teams. 

One common observation is that the recruitment agencies that had a high staff turnover onshore, i.e. in the UK or the US, replicated the pattern on their offshore RPO teams. 

Here are the suspects of high staff turnover on their offshore RPO teams.

  1. The objective of outsourcing: Their sole purpose was to address the onshore staff turnover issue. Don’t get me wrong, outsourcing helps scale and retain offshore teams, but this cannot be the prime objective, and if it is, you want to address these factors to be ready for outsourcing to work.
  2. Champions: You’ve got to have team members who will champion the offshore RPO project. In cases with higher staff turnover, Champions kept changing, or there were none. Another factor that had a significant impact is their awareness of their role in making this project a success. 
  3. Time and Resources: In cases where there were champions, they didn’t have enough time to transition the processes and systems. So, suppose your champions don’t have time to communicate and transfer knowledge. In that case, it is going to impact the sustainability of the offshore RPO initiative and the retention of the offshore team.
  4. Point of Contact(s): You will need PoCs for respective functions the offshore RPO team members can reach out to. Someone accountable. In cases the offshore RPO team had high staff turnover, it figured that there were no PoCs or staff responsible for responding to the offshore teams’ queries, feedback, etc. Leaving the offshore team members to fend for their own.
  5. Lack of Internal Communication: A significant contributor to staff turnover. Instances where the onshore teams don’t talk to each other. The offshore team members have little clue about the politics that goes on in the business onshore, and most of the time, they fall prey, leading to staff turnover. 
  6. Processes and Systems: You’ve got the best recruitment professionals on your team, but your methods aren’t documented, and you decide to work with an offshore RPO partner. Your expectation is similar to your onshore experience, and you’d expect the offshore team to get on with it from day one. We are still searching for Unicorns, aren’t we? 
  7. Expectations: You need clear expectations and documents outlining the processes you want the offshore team to follow because you want to maintain and improve the standards of your business. This is another myth; the outsourcing team needs scripts to get on with the work; no, they need scripts to start with to ensure your processes and systems are replicated. In the absence of knowledge transfer and documentation, the offshore RPO teams take things into their hands, and you aren’t happy because you listened to a call or two or one candidate complained. You conclude the quality isn’t good. Pass on this feedback without supporting the offshore team; a high frequency of such instances results in staff leaving.
  8. Respect: One of the biggest reasons for offshore staff turnover is being disrespected by the onshore teams. In my tenure, I’ve had as much as one of the Managers asking the offshore team member to F**k off. You’d think twice before disrespectfully treating your onshore peers, don’t do it with your offshore team if you want to retain and grow.

To conclude, if you have staff turnover problems in your offices onshore, you better resolve those before deciding to outsource. It would be best if you had the following factors to be ready to develop an offshore RPO team.

  1. Your objective of outsourcing – access to skilled talent, scale, improve fill rates, battle rising inflation, reduce operating costs, improve operating profits, etc. 
  2. Champions: You need more than one champion depending on the size of your recruitment business
  3. Training Modules: Documented manuals for the processes you want your offshore RPO team to follow because you want to maintain and improve your delivery standards
  4. PoC(s): You need team members accountable for each desk/function. Because your offshore team members will need the same level of attention as your onshore teams to make the project successful and retain offshore teams.
  5. Weekly feedback: If you don’t give your teams feedback and leave them in oblivion, sooner or later, they will leave. If you don’t have a feedback process, contact us; we will help you.
  6. Internal politics: You want this out of your way if you want to retain your offshore teams. You will know the road blockers in your recruitment business, and you want to manage them to execute the offshore RPO project and successfully ensure team retention.

Of course, other factors, such as commission plan, career roadmap, etc., are vital for staff retention, but you have to get the basics right first. In short, don’t rely on outsourcing to address your staff turnover problems. 

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