Remote staffing and staff augmentation
The digital agency field is another ongoing one. It is challenging to predict the scope of your job a few months in advance. But, of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t take on a project, even if your resources are lacking. What will you do then?
Another option is to remove the project or its components from remote partners. You have two options here; you can hire a freelancer or get your engineers from an agency that focuses on increasing staff.
Naturally, however, working with remote partners is different from managing every project in the house. Remote staffing involves its unique challenges that require adjusting the way you work to a certain extent to the benefit of everyone involved in the project.
But, let’s put your mind at ease – even these newborn challenges can be completely addressed. We have been lucky for you, we are able to get in and out of remote staff, and we have made our work visit welcome to welcome a team of engineers working on various client projects abroad.
In this post, then, we will delve into the most common recruitment issues. Our in-depth experience on this issue we faced and enabled us to provide practical solutions to the challenges we will list and discuss in this post. After reading it, you will be equipped to manage your remote team colleagues without having to worry about all the details of the operation.
- The Communication Factor
The first and foremost challenge of remote staffing – any form of remote work, therefore – is the communication factor. Good communication is absolutely essential for a project to run smoothly and successfully. We can even go so far as to say that poor communication is the key to many unsuccessful projects.
It is extremely important even if you are managing an indoor party – then you can reasonably think that smooth and effective communication with your distant partners is very important.
One of the most frustrating things that can happen when communicating with distant partners is that they do not respond. Imagine for a second you were transposed into the karmic driven world. Naturally, you will want the assurance that you will be able to reach your remote employees when you need them.
We at GradientM understand how serious this is. Therefore, we make it a goal to convey the importance of good communication to all new employees.
Our developers are always available to the client during their working hours and notify the client of any absence (e.g., daytime breaks) they may have. They also adjust twice each day, once they start their day and once they are ready to leave.
In this way, the client is constantly growing faster on any recent issues and developments and has a better view of the project, as well as a stronger relationship with the developer himself. And, as we know, it is always easier and more satisfying to work with someone with whom you have a good relationship.
The other communication issue we have to talk about is far from itself. The in-house team is best at exchanging ideas and sharing their expertise to solve problems quickly and effectively; however, the freelancer you have hired, for example, does not have the luxury of discussing things with your peers who share the workplace.
It is true that remote workers will generally be able to access all of your communication tools, which means they will technically be able to ask your internal engineers for guidance and/or assistance. Usually, however, they will try to solve the problem on their own – and then spend more time doing so, which leads to greater costs for you.
Fortunately, this rarely happens when you work with a team of remote partners such as the one provided by GradientM. Although they will be separated from your home team, so they are not used to exchanging information with them, they will always have their team partners to turn to and get inspiration from them, even though they work for different projects for different clientele.
Where there is the magic of outsourcing your work to an agency that puts a lot of emphasis on collaboration and collaboration, whether you hire one or two engineers, you will benefit from the combined experience of their entire team. This way, you will save both time and money while at the same time never compromising the quality of the project.
- Culture Diversity and Location Factor
The most pressing challenge in social media is to eradicate cultural violations. Understandably, it becomes more and more important when your partner’s distant culture is different from yours.The greater distances between areas – and therefore the greater the time difference – can lead to unwanted barriers to the project. Fortunately, even seemingly insurmountable cultural differences can be effectively managed if you deal with them properly.
The first step to eliminating cultural violations is to know that your long-term partner has a sufficient level of expertise in English. Admittedly, as English is slowly increasing and being described as a means of international communication, this is probably not something you will need to worry about.
Generally, a certain level of English is a requirement to work in an employee organization. Similar to GradientM: English proficiency is one of the priorities for us when hiring developers. In this way, we can pre-select both those fluent in English as well as entertaining and speaking.
With a freelancer, this is a little different because no manager sets those requirements – but when you see how freelancers manage themselves, you can expect them to have good communication skills (as well as English) because, otherwise, they will not work successfully.
Still, it is wise to get in touch with your long-distance partner so that you can be in person, not just by email, but by some type of video chat. Normally, agency leaders will have no problem organizing a video chat in which potential creators will also be present.
However, overcoming cultural violations takes more than the ability to get along. Extensive knowledge of a remote English worker will not be helpful to you if you do not have access to them. Here, perhaps we come to the real issue in establishing a smooth cultural connection: harmonizing both parties and arranging meetings accordingly.
This is especially important in the case of large time variations, e.g., six hours or more. With the site team, this problem would not exist; team workplaces and, to some extent, working hours. In this way, even those impulsive, random meetings are possible.
With a remote job or a team of remote employees, however, this can be very difficult to achieve. If, for example, your company is based in the US and you decide to deploy a project to a European development agency, you cannot expect remote developers to be available at the same time as your construction subordinates.
But what if the needs of your project require that they be present at a practical meeting, in their opinion, in the evening or at night? You can be almost 100% sure that you will not get the same quality of installation; whether or not they will be able to attend the meeting, or, if they wish, their next job may suffer from disrupted biorhythm.
The solution is to connect well with your long-distance ally and to establish in advance what are the best hours to schedule meetings. In the event of a large time difference, schedule your meetings within hours of the day’s activity of your long-distance partner. This will give them enough time to both be present and to continue their work without interruption.
Last but not least, you may want to make sure your remote engineers share your home team values or at least hold the same. Those values can vary greatly from one culture to another, from place to place. Some cultures have a different view of punctuality than others; the same is true of standards such as quality and transparency.
The best thing you can do is talk to your partner’s leadership about these issues. By learning about the values of an organization that can be your partner, you will be able to choose a partner with a vision, purpose and values that are consistent with those of your organization.
Another major challenge for remote staffing is its uncertainty. Have you ever heard of the saying “don’t buy a pig with a fist”? Well, that’s what hiring distant partners might feel like – like buying a pig in a tug-of-war or not being sure that what you got is what you paid for.And completely doubtful skepticism. How can you ensure that your remote employees are honest and trustworthy? How do you know if they are committed and experienced as your inner team? Actually – how do you know if your internal developers are honest and dedicated right?
The short answer is that you have to take their word for it. Often, you will not make the final decision to hire until you have carefully researched your potential job. But even CVs can be deceptive (pun intended) and unreliable.
You will definitely need to check the details provided on the CV. However, even if you find that everything is being tested, how do you know if they have a real responsibility, say, the front of a website or app? You may not find their signature encrypted or cleverly hidden in site construction.
At least with the in-house engineers, you’ll get a look at all the best of their daily and monthly performance. Granted, this will only happen after they have worked with you for some time, which means that after the investment has already been made. However, it gives you more power and control over the progress of the projects in which they are involved.
But, with a long-distance partner, you really have to gamble, right? Yes, yes – and, again, no. There may be risks involved in hiring a freelancer – but you have all of their clues to explore, which will help you make more informed choices. Also, it is easy and straightforward to stop working with a freelancer if you are not satisfied with their work.
The great danger of hiring a freelancer is actually something else – but we will deal with it and discuss it later when we come to the right challenge. In the meantime, let’s focus on how you can make sure your partner or your newly hired team has enough experience to grow your employees more effectively than hinder their work.
Also, this is worrying that we at GradientM have already identified and successfully completed it. Our approach ensures that our clients always find the best people for a particular project; let us briefly explain how we did this.
An important part of this approach is our highly effective training program: all of our new engineers go through an in-house ride project under the guidance of skilled consultants before starting work on any client project. This ensures that they become familiar with all the quality tools and practices, and as a result, can casually associate with the client team.
Our development guides are responsible for the training of new staff – as a result, they are also the ones who can best assess the level of competence and suitability of a particular client and/or project engineer. They choose the right person based on their actual experience of working with them, not just on the index.
What this means for you, a client who decides to work with such a long-term partner is that remote employers are actually looking at the facts in advance. All you have to do is look at the agency’s specific indications, which are often more important and informative than on your CV.
Also, the agency some are already satisfied with the vouchers of their employees – naturally, they only want talented people in their team, and careful selection made by the leadership ensures you are given the best of the best.
The great thing about this method is that it removes a lot of risk from you. It transforms project outsourcing into an informed purchase and not gambling – and, back to the point made in the introduction about the ever-changing digital environment, any level of validation is beyond acceptance in this age of uncertainty and overflow of option.
Right – we cover a major problem related to trust, that is, trust in the skills of your distant partners. What about the next step, though – relying on these newly co-workers to access your social media, sensitive, confidential information, trade secrets etc.?
An agency employee will likely have an internal ethical obligation to protect the privacy of their profession. It is unlikely that their moral compass will be stronger as they work on agency-client projects.
Also, the focus shifts to the agency itself: what is the culture of their company? What values do they have? Is the importance of privacy clearly communicated to all their new employees? Also, are any steps taken to ensure complete privacy protection?
These are all questions you will need answers to, especially if your type of work requires very high protection. It is important that you find out about the attitudes of potential partners about privacy. For example, if they make their employees sign non-disclosure agreements, this is already a good sign that privacy is something they value.
Even better if they assured you of their privacy protection without even asking – if this happens, you can be almost 100% sure that your privacy is in good hands.
At GradientM, newly hired engineers signed the NDA extensively at the same time as their employment contract. Additionally, we manage all our passwords – as well as any client passwords – with password management tools like LastPass, especially when you work from home. Also, because of our strong corporate culture, the ethical responsibility in our company is extended to all the clients we work with.
If you want more security, you can always add additional security layers to your channels and services, such as forcing everyone to set multiple authentications or change their passwords every few months in the event of a long-term association.
- Price and Profitability
This leads to the next challenge we wanted to raise. While in the past, it worked for any type of remote work, this is actually a challenge for remote work. We are talking about the costs incurred in hiring the partners of the remote party in terms of additional staff and the return on investment to make this decision.Here, the questions you may be asking yourself are: how quickly will my new remote employee use my tools, performance and workflow? How much should I invest in them before they can do the work I pay for? Will the investment be worth it – or would I be better off just growing my inner team?
We acknowledge that these are very important and difficult questions. There is no universal response around them, other than “to”. Therefore, we can speak only from our own experience.
Fortunately, however, knowledge in this field is something we have a lot of. Having worked with a wide range of clients, our engineers are familiar with all the latest development tools and practices – well, at least for those who are unfamiliar with the ride.
All boarding costs are thus already taken care of by us; all you need to do is include new engineers in your in-house team – but you would need to do this even with a new full-time job.
What works best for you, however, is one that you will need to take care of when hiring a full-time employee – and, alternatively, what you won’t have to worry about when hiring distant partners. This is probably the biggest and most compelling reason to quit your job.
Because, let’s face it – read another 2000 words on the challenges of remote employment – there should be some benefits to it, too, right? The reason, if not, why are so many businesses transferring their work to distant partners?
That’s right – there are obvious benefits! In fact, these are so large that we do not even have to force ourselves; they just speak on their own behalf. You probably know what we get, huh?
While the daily rate of your homework may be lower than that of remote employment, this is the highest cost you will ever have – not much can be said about the past, however.
Travel expenses, health insurance, vacation and sick days, travel expenses, not to mention the equipment needed. These are just the basics. Don’t forget the chemical elimination, healthy office snacks and all the various benefits that create a fun workplace and take care of the inspiration and well-being of your inner team. It’s quite addictive – as you probably know better.
Therefore, the most important thing for you – or one of them, at least – is to reduce costs where possible; why not go for the first option with all the extra costs, save a salary you’ve already been paid?
But wait – there’s more! Looking back on the introduction and the volatile digital environment – how do you know you’re going to have as much work in, say, half a year as you do now? And, most importantly, what will you do if you don’t do it?
You probably do not want to get rid of your talented employees – but, at the same time, it would not make sense to keep paying their wages and all their expenses if there is no permanent job.
This will be especially important when you consider the cost of finding and hiring a full-time employee. With the need for developers already high – and growing ever more – you can’t even be sure that you will be able to find a full-time employee in the same area as your offices, which puts you at risk for your search not yielding at all –
For a distant colleague, it’s a completely different story. Remote and outsourced employees can easily join your team and leave you easily – no hard feelings, no attachments. And in case you need to add your staff again? No problem – agencies that tend to love working with clients have already established strong, trusting relationships.
All of this gives you the flexibility to measure success when needed while also greatly reducing the many costs associated with hiring. Also, going back to the issue of “trust”, as it is easy to measure the potential for remote employment in such a partnership, this also means that the cost will definitely reflect the quality of the service you receive.
- The Unexpected and Uncontrollable Elements
So far, we have put a lot of important questions that may come to your mind when deciding to hire remote workers. We’ve saved the following challenge for the last time because it’s the norm – but, again, it’s worth it. It has to deal with all sorts of unexpected issues and things that are right, well, uncontrollable.Example – what do you do when your newly hired employee away suddenly becomes ill? Or, worse, what if an accident happened? You can’t blame anyone, of course, but the fact of the matter is that your job suffers because of it.
Here, the distinction between outsourcing and private employment agencies is significant. Do you remember how we promised to talk more about one of the biggest challenges of hiring someone to work alone? Yes, since a freelancer is a one-man band, you are very much taken aback when they go on sick leave (or, God forbid, just stop responding – remember how important communication is).
If this happens, you need to redo the entire hiring process, which is complicated and time consuming with a freelancer or in-house worker, to begin with. Also, depending on your contract, you may still have to pay for an incomplete freelancer job.
When a domestic worker is sick or has any kind of medical emergency, and it is not the best thing in the world for you. In fact, it may be more expensive than a freelancer – you have to pay for their health insurance and pay them a salary during their sick leave.
Also, while you are sure that they will get better soon, you are still facing staff shortages. You can try to put things together by spreading one’s work among the whole team (and even that on the condition that the team has the necessary expertise), but that will only lead to frustration and worse work.
The best solution, then, is to work with the human resources agency and get the most out of your project. Since such an agency is focused on increasing the number of employees, you can count on them to provide you with the best possible replacement in the event of an unforeseen occurrence in your current remote employment.
This is exactly the approach we use at GradientM – and it is only made with the deepest gratitude for the ride program we mentioned earlier. The in-depth knowledge of our developers’ expertise allows us to not only provide the most qualified person at the beginning of the work plan but also to ensure that the skills of any replacement we have are comparable to those of the original recruitment.
We do our best to anticipate the unexpected – at least in the realm of what is under our control. We urge all our staff to notify us of any emergencies as soon as they are notified. In this way, we are able to rectify this situation and plan another approach before the emergency of an engineer becomes a disaster for the client.
This approach removes any recurring rental conflicts, saving costs while not compromising the quality of services in any way. If you can find a partner agency that can guarantee that level of competence and commitment, you will know that you and your project are in good hands.
There you have it – the six most pressing challenges of remote staffing and staff augmentation, combined with solutions for organizations specializing in outsourcing, including GradientM, on which they rely most effectively. We hope this complete blog post equips you with the necessary savvy to make informed decisions when outsourcing your work and managing external projects.