Outsourcing or Offshoring your Services in the EDU Sector
Tutoring is a great example of outsourcing versus offshoring for both districts and educational service providers. The federal government through the ESSER III program and their COVID relief funding has funded states to the tune of over $1.7 billion. Our partner and client Burbio have tracked these funds to 1300 districts. Districts such as the Memphis, Tennessee school district are looking to hire 600 tutors through their program. States such as California, Texas, Michigan, and many others are looking for similar programs and are working with not-for-profits, or traditional educational service providers to provide these tutors.
As the labor market tightens and the economy shrinks, tutoring is just one example of where our industry might consider outsourcing or offshoring these services. For many years the industry has used contractors for assessments, publishing services, customer services, tech support, marketing, and even technology development. The key strategic objective for many organizations has been the cost efficiency and overall productivity of outsourced or offshored teams and services.
As our economy continues to shrink and we continue to look for efficiencies within our organizations, there are still key differences between these two methods. Understanding these differences will help you decide on which option will best suit your business, depending on your goals and the services that you require.
Outsourcing: Utilizing the services of a third-party, such as a contractor or freelancer
Offshoring: Work is completed in another country by a dedicated team
With outsourcing, the work that you send is completed by a contractor or freelancer from a different company. They are not considered full-time or dedicated employees of your organization. The relationship and delegation of tasks are typical via the solutions provider management rather than directly to team members.
Through an offshoring services provider, you can outsource aspects of your business to a different country. Often the contract is between the solutions provider and the client, with the solution provider hiring staff as needed for your company only. The offshore employee or team is basically an extension of your company’s locally-based staff that you can directly manage.
Outsourcing: Refers to a specific task
Offshoring: Outsourcing a complete role
Outsourcing usually involves the hiring of a workforce to perform a specific singular task within a process chain. While these tasks can be time-consuming these functions are vital as they help promote productivity by streamlining the overall business operations and can include such areas as inside sales, publishing service, marketing strategy, and localized tutoring.
Offshoring involves assigning more complex functions and more engaged work to a dedicated team from another country. The offshore team is comprised of specialists who are well-trained and highly experienced in their roles that involve a myriad of functions and require a deeper level of responsibility and initiative, such as tutoring and technology development.
Outsourcing: Little interaction in talent acquisition, development plans, and performance management
Offshoring: Fully involved in talent acquisition and integration of offshore members
In outsourcing, a third-party provider conducts the recruitment and the interviews without your involvement. Since some outsourced tasks are not entirely dependent on having to learn in-house knowledge of your core business operations, there is no need for you to fully integrate the outsourced staff into your company. The third-party provider will supervise the team, provides training, and conduct performance management processes.
In offshoring, you have complete involvement in the hiring and eventual selection of your candidates. This includes providing your specific requirements to the offshore services provider, selecting from their most qualified candidates, interviewing them, and approving their employment.
You are also involved in the direct management of the team to ensure that their work is up to par with your business standards. It is expected that the new members of your offshore team will undergo an onboarding process that explains your company’s culture, objectives, and processes so they are completely aligned to fulfill your business goals.
Quality of Work
Outsourcing: Quality may fluctuate depending on who’s working on the project
Offshoring: You set work quality standards that your team adheres to
Outsourcing may affect the quality of work because the members of the team are not dedicated workers for your company. As a result, they are not entirely subject to your production control values. Since they are not regular employees of your organization, different members of the outsourced team will be working on your project. This may also mean they are handling projects from various clients that may be given more priority over yours, which can affect your production timetable.
Offshore team members are considered regular employees of your company. Just like your locally based team, your offshore staff is required to uphold your company’s standards, policies, and processes. Since they are dedicated to working on your company’s tasks — and not for other clients — it is expected that they are focused only on the work that you assign to them. This ensures consistency in terms of delivering high-quality output. Staff quality is reviewed in partnership with the solution provider and forms part of staff performance evaluations.
Time and Scalability
Outsourcing: Quick solution for quick projects
Offshoring: Long-term solution, ideal for scalability
Outsourcing is scalable in the sense that it is a fast and efficient option for ad hoc or per-hour-based projects. Outsourcing can solve problems for peaks and troughs with the ability to “flex up and down” staff when needed at periodic times of the year. When additional support is needed due to peak seasons of your business, such as sales and marketing, outsourcing these functions can be an ideal solution. Given the hiring process is upon the provider, the lead time to hire should be quite quick.
An offshore team allows you to scale its size based on your business needs. There is no need to heavily invest upfront on manpower and equipment however is considered the ideal fit for those requiring a full-time employee capacity. Start off with a small team or a large team and as your business expands, you can diversify the team by adding more roles as required. It is considered a longer-term approach given the hiring process is more personalized.
Working For You
In this highly competitive business environment – labor shortages continue. Finding a team that can provide your clients with the services they require in a timely manner is essential. Thanks to digital platforms, internet connection improvements, and cloud-based systems, opportunities to access a wider pool of highly skilled talents have expanded exponentially. Advancing Global EDU can provide you with the strategies and the partners you need to succeed. From Sales Data, Inside Sales, Tutoring, Assessment, Marketing Strategy, Marketing Content, and Business Strategy, find a solution that works for you.
Contact us if you would like to arrange a discovery call with one of our specialists.