For entrepreneurs, growing business means doing lots of projects and different tasks that to do them you don’t necessarily have to hire full-time staff. This applies to jobs like graphic design and technology support and even maybe some content, sales or marketing projects. So for a lot of entrepreneurs, it makes sense to give such projects to outsourced contractors. But this process also has its own issues. In this article we will discuss a mistake that you should try to avoid while working with outsourced contractors.

Responsiveness

Once you have a full-time worker, there will be a certain amount of responsiveness which you have become accustomed to. You hope to be able to contact them during working hours, return your phone calls or emails within a given amount of time, etc. Yet you anticipate the same amount of responsiveness from your graphic designer who helps you 10 hours per month? They surely have other customers and projects, so it’s not fair to ask them to abandon anything for your projects once they come in.

Responsiveness is something which destroys productivity when pushed too far. It’s killing the spirit. It kills creativity, and it eliminates the chances. So I want to encourage you to be very cautious about this in your business. For both contract and full-time staff, I would like you to show them through your modeled behavior, and through the culture that you build value for your company more than responsiveness or, in particular, hyper-responsiveness.

Ok, what do I say by that? It’s pretty normal for us to use how responsive someone is to relieve our fear of “Are they really working?” and I get it. I would be able to count on one hand the number of people I truly thought were taking advantage of the process, and that they were hyper-responsive to emails, but they did nothing else.

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Give them space to create value

If I send Sally an email and get a reply back in less than two minutes, I feel a lot more comfortable because I know that Sally is working, but at what price? If Sally comes back to you in two minutes, what that implies is that she’s likely having some low-level awareness to monitor her inbox.

Think about what’s going to be a burden to her best awareness. If she’s in business, I want some of her best awareness to do things like system refining and producing high-quality work for our customers. If she’s in sales team, I want a portion of her strongest time to be consumed with doing the prospecting research she wants to do and getting those closing sales convos. If she’s in accounting, I would like some of her best time to focus on the main reports that we need — to get stuff on accounts receivable, or on our P&L part, that’s right. If she’s in marketing, I want some of her ideal time to be spent reviewing the various campaigns we’ve got going on, making a better sales copy, really getting leads generated at the right price point cost per lead. I don’t really want her full time to be wasted checking her mailbox.

Experiments

I would like you to set up this experiment with your employees for the next 30 days. Bring them together and say, “Hey, we realize that this is a challenge and that we’re so busy listening to each other that we don’t have the opportunity to concentrate on building the best value we can for the business. So, what I’d suggest for the next month is to step back and develop some clear guidelines on how responsive we can be and how we interact with each other, how much we communicate with each other. Do we cc or bcc under what conditions? How do we utilize our project management tools to update this vs a flurry of emails?”

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You’re all going to get some changes and refinements along the way to build more interest, minimize tension, eliminate garbage job on each other in a manner that makes life easier for everyone. Good luck to you when you apply this basic concept to help the team achieve better for less.

What do you think about this? Don’t you agree that this method can help you get better results when working with outsourced contractors?

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