Workforce planning series – 6 minute read – Outsourcing with BEEPO
Over recent years, NDIS service providers have experienced rapid change, as the funding model behind the industry evolved, and in turn, organisations were required to adapt to keep up.
But adapting isn’t always easy, especially when it means finding new ways to provide better service, with less money.
In 2019, one of the key frustrations identified by NDIS service providers, was the lack of funds to cover business operating costs. These are the administrative and management tasks that enable them to ensure the right carers, are at the right place, at the right time.
As we continue to adjust to the NDIS, one way successful organisations are working around this issue is to outsource administrative requirements.
To get the inside information on outsourcing and how it works, we went straight to the source, consulting National Sales Manager at Beepo, Gary Culverhouse.
What exactly is outsourcing?
As it sounds, outsourcing is simply sourcing support from a human resource that sits outside of your organisation.
In the past, outsourcing has essentially revolved around contracting local suppliers or freelancers to help with extra workload.
As the world has become smaller-and-smaller, NDIS service providers now have access to lower-cost offshore human resources, through Australia-based organisations like Beepo.
What kind of services can be outsourced?
While you can outsource almost any service, Gary suggests administrative and financial services are most sought after.
“For NDIS service providers, we find clients mainly look for accounts payable and accounts receivable resources, as well as people to help with administration duties.”
“Most of these resources are not client facing, so don’t interact with service providers’ customers directly, but do become an integral part of the back-office team.”
As the NDIS space becomes more customer-centric and competitive, the need to find ways to reduce overheads and fund further frontline workers, may become a key business strategy for many organisations.
Outsourcing to reliable companies, that have a trusted Australian presence, potentially offers organisations the opportunity to grow and expand their business without drastically increasing their costs.
How does it work?
The idea of contracting to a new ‘team member’ on the other side of the world might be daunting and can also feel fraught with risk.
Unsurprisingly, successful outsourcing suppliers have taken a close look at the market and what is required for both productivity and peace of mind.
“We start by working with clients, here in Australia, to put together a brief that captures their needs,“ Gary explains. “Once everyone is happy with that brief, we pass it onto our recruitment team in the Philippines; they provide us with an indicative cost, and with the client’s approval, they put the position to market.”
“Depending on the role, we’ll see around 10 or 20 applicants. We interview each applicant and shortlist down to just two or three candidates who best meet the client’s brief.”
“Finally, we get the shortlist in front of the client, on Zoom, for an interview. We watch behind-the-scenes, and after all interviews are completed, we work through each candidate with the client, so they can select the best fit for their business.”
The next steps are just as expected for onboarding a new remote employee, but with an unprecedented level of support. “Once the employee has been selected, that employee tunes into Australia via Zoom or Skype, on day one, to speak with their manager, meet the team, and be welcomed and inducted.”
What’s unique about outsourcing is the additional layers of management that come as part of the package. Each Beepo candidate is supported and managed by a customer experience team leader, who is overseen by a customer experience manager.
These two Philippines-based employees of Beepo manage and monitor performance, provide onsite support and help to overcome any conflict or challenges.
How to ensure outsourcing is successful
When hiring any new recruit, ensuring their skillset and qualifications match requirements is crucial. But these days, there is just as much emphasis on culture-fit and that match between an employee and the brand they work for.
“Like any new staff member, experience and qualifications are important, but so too is the ability to work with this person as a team member, that’s why the client plays the vital role in that final candidate selection” says Gary.
“The best thing a company can do is to introduce the outsourced recruit to the balance of the team here in Australia, so they really feel like they are part of this team, they are valued and they can invest in it.”
The main advantages of outsourcing in the NDIS
In speaking to Gary, it was clear there can be a number of benefits to outsourcing, especially for NDIS service providers that are struggling to balance those office and admin costs, or for organisations that have a clear plan for growth. Most notably:
- Security: data security and information management is so important these days. With updated privacy laws and the potentially far-reaching affects of the GDPR, any security breaches can mean millions in fines.
Gary explains that security is a big focus for Beepo, “Offshore employees are not provided with passwords or credentials to access client’s software, rather, these are all kept in an encrypted code by management, who controls access.”
“We also use our white label product, Beepo Secure, which essentially stops employees from ever knowing client IP addresses.”
- Performance: monitoring performance is leaps and bounds ahead of what most of us are doing here in Australia with our own employees.
With daily, weekly and monthly performance reports created and sent by offshore managers, companies can see if resources are working at or above capacity and can plan workforce accordingly. Similarly, it also allows companies to consider the well-being of offshore employees, so they are not overworked and over-stressed.
How are offshore contractors treated?
When we hear about offshore workers, many of us go to a dark place and picture dingy work houses, with desperate people operating under slave conditions.
Understandably, for us at VisiCase, and our NDIS service provider clients, the well-being of outsourced staff is just as important as those directly listed on our own payroll.
“In an accounts payable or receivable role, as an example, contractors are paid around $2,200 to $2,600 each month, in addition to receiving healthcare for themselves and their families. This is around 10 x award wages in the Philippines,” Gary notes.
“Employees work standard hours of around 9am to 6pm Australia time. Under Philippine law, we are required to give an employee 30 days’ notice of termination; but to ensure absolute fairness, we require clients to provide 45 days’ notice. In line with local requirements, employees also receive 12 days of leave each year.”
What’s the verdict?
Right now, with the economy and joblessness in Australia as it is, it can be difficult to justify offshoring.
Based on our conversation with Gary at Beepo, however, the savings related to offshoring admin, finance and other back office services, may equate to more funding for frontline carers, locally.
When outsourcing, always research the company thoroughly, seek references, review contracts carefully and make sure you investigate fully, how they treat their offshore employees.
VisiCase provides an NDIS-ready business automation platform, built on powerful workflows. It helps you manage, streamline and optimise every component of your business, and its modules empower a positive employee and client experience.