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For many organizations, outsourcing to freelancers, that can be picked up from the popular freelancing websites, is sometimes not enough. Either the work is not suitable for freelancers because of the complexities involved in it or else the information is too sensitive to be handed over to a virtual stranger who cannot promise any sort of credible security measures.
Luckily, such dilemmas can now easily be resolved, thanks to many far-sighted outsourcing companies who are providing a far more reliable resource known as the ‘virtual employee’ or the ‘remote employee’ . The question is, how to find them? And, more importantly, what are the criteria that they need to fulfill?
It helps to have some sort of a checklist handy before finalizing on any outsourcing service provider which can provide you with remote employees as opposed to mere offshore freelancers.
1.Credentials of the service provider. Obviously, this cannot be stressed enough. The companies that have survived the longest in this highly competitive industry have done so for a good reason. Go through the history of the outsourcing company on its website, its client list, and specifically, its past client testimonials. That gives a good indication of what employers have to say about the particular vendor whose services you are keen on hiring. Additionally, it is also advisable to scan through the ‘complaints/ grievances’ section. A reputed vendor would not hesitate to have this tab on its website to build a further proof of its credibility.
2.The infrastructure of the service provider. A well-established outsourcing company would have world-class infrastructure in place, including spacious workstations, latest hardware and software, computer peripherals like webcams, headphones, printer, fax machine etc. A well-maintained office is essential for extracting the optimum benefits from your virtual employee.
3.Measures for data security. Obviously, no company would want to outsource with a provider whose security measures are like a sieve. Data security is a very real and justified concern among the companies who outsource work that contains important company information or tasks that are aligned to the core segments of the business. Any service provider can lose credibility fast if security measures are amiss or wanting. Go for a vendor that requires its employees to sign Non-Disclosure Agreements, has closely monitored employee computer traffic and allows a client to work in a virtual work environment, with all data being stored on the client’s server back home.
4.Facilities for communication. Communicating with a remote employee is crucial for ensuring the success of any outsourced work. Has the vendor provided for advanced communication technology such as video conferencing, telephone with a local number from your country of residence, Skype, email, instant messenger etc?
5.Control over outsourced work and access to the employee. Do you enjoy total control over how the work will be done? Are you the one who sets targets and deadlines for your remote employee, who is accountable to you?
6.Handling non-work related issues. All non-work related issues can severely cramp a working relationship, especially a long-distance one at that. Established vendors will take care of all employee-related issues, leaving the client and their remote resource free to concentrate only on the work at hand.
7.Back-up and support. A 24-hour back-up support from the IT and HR departments is also what sets apart a great service provider from an average one.
There are many vendors, such as VirtualEmployee.om, who can provide all these features. Make sure these boxes are checked before you sign on the dotted line with your outsourcing service provider.