Cultivating Nearshore Employee Engagement: Proven Practices & Benefits


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Companies typically source for two main reasons: to acquire expertise and to cut costs. The desire to mitigate sourcing’s resulting inherent financial and transactional risks has led companies to consider a myriad of sourcing models and their hybrids: in-out, off-near-on, third party-captive-joint, and so on. And although the landscape is full of success stories, there are the notorious stories of fiascos that stick in people’s minds. Unfortunately, after pealing back the onion, most companies fail to realize that people are at the heart of their sourcing failures and that, yes, there are things they could have done, even remotely, to address this.
Presented at the IAOP 2013 Latin America Outsourcing Summit. Learn more at

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Cultivating Nearshore Employee Engagement: Proven Practices & Benefits

  1. 1. December 3-5, 2013 | San Jose, Costa Rica Cultivating Nearshore Employee Engagement Proven Practices & Benefits Jon Butler Information Services Group © 2013 IAOP® All Rights Reserved
  2. 2. December 3-5, 2013 | San Jose, Costa Rica ► Sourcing, Strategy and Benchmarking market leaders ► $65 billion in client savings delivered ► 70% of the Global F100 are our clients ► Overseen 60% of all global advisory-led transactions ► Five decades of global leadership in sourcing-based solutions ► 12,000 engagements ► $365B+ in transactions ► Operations in 21 countries on 6 continents ► Data driven with the most comprehensive and deepest client databases in the market ► End-to-end solutions from opportunity assessment to new service operation ► Proudly independent with deep collaborative relationships with all major service and technology providers © 2013 IAOP® All Rights Reserved
  3. 3. December 3-5, 2013 | San Jose, Costa Rica Lucky you! You’ve: • negotiated a great deal with your service provider, • signed the contract, • put the proper governance and PMO mechanisms in place, • established meaningful SLAs to ensure your business case will be met, • set up favorable periodic contract re-evaluations and rate benchmarking, • and finally outsourced that whole people management thing because… …THAT is now your service provider’s problem, right? But why are you continuously missing SLAs and why are the wheels falling off your business case?!? © 2013 IAOP® All Rights Reserved
  4. 4. December 3-5, 2013 | San Jose, Costa Rica Employee Engagement 101 ► Why should you listen to me?  I planned, created and operated the fastest growing delivery center in a multi-national’s 52+ center network  Leading center in financial terms Fact: Say Employee Engagement  Lowest attrition in LatAm – among lowest in the 200,000+ FTE company Stay is the emotional  Delivery always on time, on budget commitment the  The highest employee engagement in the company! employee has to the Thrive organization and its goals Engaged employees go the extra mile! © 2013 IAOP® All Rights Reserved
  5. 5. December 3-5, 2013 | San Jose, Costa Rica The Dollars and Sense Are There the Right Reasons …if Done for Companies with High Employee Engagement: Highly Engaged Employees: ► Have twice the customer loyalty rates than those with low engagement ► Are 87% less likely to leave their organization than non-engaged employees ► Have a 5x total shareholder return ► Average fewer sick days per year (2.69 versus 6.19) ► Have 6% higher net profit margins ► Deliver products with fewer defect and better quality (one F100 company went from 5,658 to 52 parts per million) ► Are 5x less likely to have a safety incident and 7x less likely to lose time as a result While the Engagement-Profit relationship is obvious remember: Driving engagement for the sake of money is a dead-end street, driving engagement for the sake of people is a highway. © 2013 IAOP® All Rights Reserved
  6. 6. December 3-5, 2013 | San Jose, Costa Rica ¿Quien eres? / Who Are You? Service providers Clients ► Communicate to your teams how you help the client meet its goals – reinforce the fact that this would be difficult for your clients to do by themselves – that’s why they have hired YOU! ► Communicate to your team your own organization’s goals and vision as a service provider ► Communicate to your teams how your organization makes life better for people and clearly communicate their part in your organization’s vision and goals ► Spend time with your service provider employees to explain to them your business and how you are different from your competitors Employees stay with organizations when they believe it is in their self-interest; they exert discretionary effort when they believe in the value of their job, team or organization. What value does your organization bring? © 2013 IAOP® All Rights Reserved
  7. 7. December 3-5, 2013 | San Jose, Costa Rica Aplanar el campo / Flatten the Field Service providers Clients ► Get rid of typical hierarchical structures ► Encourage people at junior levels in the organization to speak up and reward them when they do – even when they are wrong! ► When clients visit arm your juniors with insightful questions to pose to the clients – the clients will be impressed and your people will feel a sense of pride ► Communicate to all members of your team and not just leaders ► During site visits spend time with the management team AND with people more junior in the organization (without management around!) ► Remember: some of the best innovations come from people who are doing the dayto-day work In order to affect, you must connect. Do junior people in your organization feel empowered to speak up? © 2013 IAOP® All Rights Reserved
  8. 8. December 3-5, 2013 | San Jose, Costa Rica “Conquistadores versus Gringos” / Father Figure or Big Brother? Service providers Clients ► If you are not a local national provider, see the client perspective ► If the lead is not from the region, then insist the lead learn the local opinions and perspectives on the service provider home country as well as client countries ► Remind clients interviewing your people about collectivism, simpatía, respecto and personalismo ► Know the history of the area in which you are working ► Determine where you want to fit in and the role you should play ► Spend time understanding what people in the region think of people from your country ► Essentially, find the cultural void/hurt and fill/fix it History 101: Do you know the collective story of the people with whom you are working? © 2013 IAOP® All Rights Reserved
  9. 9. December 3-5, 2013 | San Jose, Costa Rica Llevar la Playera / Wear the Company Shirt Service providers Clients ► When people join the organization give them a tee shirt, when you have an event give them a polo shirt, when you are not busy give them something else to wear ► Get rid of the Styrofoam cups and get company-logoed ceramic mugs ► Rain pens, pencils and even umbrellas on everyone – all with company logos ► During site visits bring the treasure chest of your own company-logoed items:  Pens, pencils, mugs, mouse pads ► Fill your work area at the service provider with banners, posters, etc. that make it feel like “home” to the people in the trenches ► Bring unique products you may produce and give them to your employees When employee closets are full of company-logoed items it’s much harder to consider leaving an organization (and lose half their wardrobe). What do your employees wear? © 2013 IAOP® All Rights Reserved
  10. 10. December 3-5, 2013 | San Jose, Costa Rica Diversión / Fun Service providers Clients ► Do lots and lots of events – things employees like to do (solicit their ideas) ► Go outside the normal “corporate” activities and get creative: paintball, baseball games, mountain hikes, bowling, employee music bands, organized sports ► Have the lead participate in planning to lightly control it and show commitment ► Put junior people in leadership roles ► Try to schedule visits during events so that you can participate ► Give money to your teams to sponsor events (creates envy among other support team members to be on yours) ► Encourage team members to show you the local flair during visits so you can create collective “fun” memories with all team members When employees are busy planning events, outings and parties they don’t have time to think about working somewhere else. What are your employees thinking about? © 2013 IAOP® All Rights Reserved
  11. 11. December 3-5, 2013 | San Jose, Costa Rica Los Mejores de los Mejores / The Best of the Best Service providers Clients ► Motivate the team by sharing every single superlative about them ► Remind the team that your company is the best so that when your team is tops in an internal category you can tell them they are the “best of the best” ► Challenge other centers in “friendly” competitions for the same reasons ► Recognize your service provider team when they do something well and are recognized at higher levels within the organization ► Share every single recognition with them ► Give client-sponsored awards and certificates to service provider personnel Employees feel a sense of pride when they work for a “best in class” organization. What do your employees think about your organization? © 2013 IAOP® All Rights Reserved
  12. 12. December 3-5, 2013 | San Jose, Costa Rica El Enemigo Común / The Common Enemy Service providers Clients ► Find/create a common enemy, a rallying point for the team ► Use a “rival” office location or anything that helps to unite the team against the “enemy”  Remind your employees that you are all still part of “one big family” ► Find industry competitors and share information about how your service provider team is helping you win in the marketplace ► Look internally for other locations against which you can compete:  Work quality  Charitable giving  Etc. Employees love to be part of a winning team. Are your employees accustomed to habitually winning? © 2013 IAOP® All Rights Reserved
  13. 13. December 3-5, 2013 | San Jose, Costa Rica Dar a la Comunidad / Give to the Community Service providers Clients ► Find opportunities for everyone in the office to give to the community ► Never just donate money – invest sweat equity into projects ► Make participation mandatory for all center leaders – they don’t get to just supervise, they get to sweat, too ► Encourage employees to plan charitable events that pull everyone together ► Consider sponsoring delivery center charitable time – a low-cost option to increase your corporate “hours of time donated to charity” numbers During a well-planned charitable event employees instantly see the fruits of their labor and experience a heightened sense of family. What brings your employees together? © 2013 IAOP® All Rights Reserved
  14. 14. December 3-5, 2013 | San Jose, Costa Rica La Familia / Family Service providers Clients ► Don’t call your people a “team,” “group” or even “employees” ► Use the word “family” on every occasion ► Being part of a family makes people  Reluctant to leave  More proactive in helping others  More likely to dispense judgment/encouragement across all organization levels ► Remind people how they are part of your client family ► Show them that you care and how valuable each family member is People are social creatures and “long to belong.” Do your employees feel like part of the family? © 2013 IAOP® All Rights Reserved
  15. 15. December 3-5, 2013 | San Jose, Costa Rica ► To summarize:  Having people who are emotionally entangled with an organization’s success yields more benefits than the most well-written contract or set of SLAs ever could  Engaged employees will go the extra mile and do what needs to be done to make the organization successful  Service providers: Create highly engaged environments!  Clients: Get engaged with your service provider’s people! © 2013 IAOP® All Rights Reserved
  16. 16. December 3-5, 2013 | San Jose, Costa Rica ¡Prosigamos! Thanks / Gracias Jon Butler +001 (704) 904-4444 © 2013 IAOP® All Rights Reserved