With the global IT talent shortage, more companies than ever before are facing shortfalls when it comes to hiring in-house talent. The good news is that IT outsourcing partners can give you access to the skilled professionals you need. The bad news is that not all outsourcing companies are worth your time. Let’s take a closer look at how to identify the best IT outsourcing partner, as well as other things you’ll need to know to build up the talent pool you need successfully.
Is There an IT Talent Shortage?
In a word, yes. SHRM points out that it will be hard to find and keep IT workers in 2022 and onward, and that 97% of the IT leaders the organization surveyed said that they were facing unique hurdles here. In a report published by TalentLMS, 72% of surveyed IT workers are planning to quit their jobs in the coming 12 months. The 2021-2023 Emerging Technology Roadmap for Large Enterprises published by Gartner also points out that 64% of IT execs cited talent shortages as their most significant barrier.
What technology areas are affected, though? Again, Gartner gives us the information we need. The areas affected include:
- Computer infrastructure and platform services
- Network systems
- Digital workplace systems
- IT automation
- Storage and database systems
So, what does this mean for your firm? Simply put, you’re unlikely to find the talent you need when hiring for in-house positions. You’ll need to consider IT outsourcing partners instead. The challenge here is that outsourcing is often a gamble, particularly if you have little experience and no idea what to look for in the best IT outsourcing solutions provider.
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How to Outsource Your IT Needs
For small and medium businesses, the process of IT outsourcing can be challenging and confusing. You’re not able to set up your own overseas solutions centers the way enterprise-level organizations can, so it seems like working with a third party is the only choice. That’s not actually the case.
Today, the leading option for SMBs seeking a talented IT outsourcing partner is called the virtual captive model. This situation allows you to avoid the traditional outsourcing model and instead work with a business process outsourcing specialist. The arrangement ensures that the vendor will handle things like IT recruiting, equipment provisioning, HR needs, and the like. You will be responsible for controlling the processes, metrics, and output. With the right partner, you can even scale your team’s needs. For instance, you might only need one or two IT professionals on a regular basis but need to scale up for big projects.
Finding the Right Talent
There is a misunderstanding regarding outsourced talent in that many people assume that they’re “stuck with what they get.” They’re concerned that they have little control over who they work with because the outsourced partner is responsible for handling hiring and HR. However, that’s not the truth.
Instead, you have as much control as you would when hiring locally. You simply need to figure out how you define talent and then apply those considerations to the outsourcing process. For most organizations, this means going more profound than just looking for relevant experience. After all, someone can have deep expertise in a particular area of IT and yet not be a team player, lack adaptability, and be unable to communicate well.
You know what you need to see in an in-house hire. It would help if you looked for the same qualities and characteristics in an outsourced IT professional. For instance, most employers value resilience and adaptability, self-motivation, and a willingness to grow and learn over leadership skills, critical thinking, and the like.
Outsourcing Challenges and How to Overcome Them
Choosing to work with an IT outsourcing partner saves you money, time, and hassle. It also ensures that you’re able to overcome the staffing shortages discussed earlier. However, there are challenges that you may encounter and will need to overcome.
First, it’s essential that you can manage and train the employee(s) hired through outsourcing. They should certainly come to the table with a modicum of experience and expertise. Still, you must be able to train them in the specifics that apply to your organization and their responsibilities within it.
Screensharing during training and manual walkthroughs of policies, procedures, and responsibilities can both be helpful here. It’s also important that you have firmly set processes that tell the employee your expectations and their responsibilities, drawing firm lines so that there is no ambiguity.
In the beginning, it’s wise to follow a 100% quality assurance path with the new employee. As they learn the ropes and become accustomed to working with you, that can be reduced. This is really no different than how you would work with a new in-house employee.
Considerations with Managing IT Outsourced Partners
While training is certainly a hurdle, management of outsourced employees can be just as challenging when approached incorrectly. Thankfully, you have many tools at your disposal to help make this process simpler for both you and the employee. Some of the options you can use include:
- Feedback surveys
- Key performance indicators
- One-on-one meetings
- Performance reviews
- Defined performance metrics
When managing remote employees, consider quality, productivity, and utilization as your three main metrics. This will give you the best overview of their progress and value while also pointing out areas where improvement may be needed.
For many organizations, the IT talent shortage in the US means an inability to find critical talent in a timely manner. Hiring in-house IT talent may not be possible or practical. Working with an IT outsourcing partner can ensure that you have access to the talent you need while saving you money and time. However, it’s crucial that you define what you want to see in a remote employee and that you’re able to manage and train them effectively.