By Derek Kissos, Executive Vice President of Strategy
No matter what industry you’re in, success in a post-COVID world will depend on if your customers — whether they’re patients, residents, guests, students, or travelers — trust that you’re able to keep them safe.
Gone are the days when common support services like housekeeping and food service were merely standard requirements of a business.
Your customers are now holding these departments to a higher standard, and they can either cost you business or build trust.
Outsourcing these services is an effective way to meet your customers’ rising expectations.
Though primarily seen as a strategy to save money, the benefits of outsourcing go beyond cost savings. Here are three benefits of outsourcing your housekeeping, food service, or other support service departments.
1. Recruiting and Retention
The process of recruiting, hiring, and training employees is expensive and burdensome. Especially for positions that fall outside of your organization’s specialty.
For example, a recruiting team at a hospital has experience hiring clinical resources. However, they may lack the skill to fill hourly non-clinical positions like a housekeeper or patient sitter.
When you outsource, the recruiting burden falls on the vendor, who has a recruiting team that’s trained to hire for that specific position.
That recruiting team understands the nuances in support service staffing volumes, like seasonal voluntary turnover, and comes equipped to keep consistent staffing levels.
Another benefit of outsourcing is the ability to offer flexible options for team members. This has been highlighted by the pandemic.
When organizations are forced to furlough, layoff, or temporarily reduce staff, a good service provider can find other options for those team members. This can include transferring to another location or cross-training for other needed positions. Then, as the organization stabilizes and is ready to ramp operations back up, the vendor has maintained the resources needed to provide staffing.
Outsourcing can take the recruiting and hiring burden off of your shoulders. However, what makes the hiring process so successful is when it’s paired with a good training program and the right tools and technology.
2. Technology, Tools, and Training
2020 has taught us that you need organizational agility to succeed. When an unexpected challenge comes your way, you need to stay ahead of the curve in terms of solving problems.
When the pandemic hit, most companies didn’t struggle to adjust how they provided their services or products. What they did struggle with was adapting the support services aspect of their operations.
Industries such as travel, hotel/resorts, and healthcare, now depended on the perception of safety, cleanliness, and risk to combat fear and build trust with their customers.
For airlines and resorts, routine cleans transformed from a standard requirement to one of their customers’ top concerns.
The reality is you may lack the internal capacity or expertise to shift gears in these departments. Meeting your customers’ expectations requires redesigning operating models, adjusting training programs, and implementing enabling technology — things that are outside of your business’s core focus.
The benefit of working with a vendor is that you’re not just outsourcing staffing, but also the expertise, tools, and technology to make the rapid changes your customers expect.
If you’re considering an outsourced service provider, you need to take a closer look at the training, tools, and technology they offer. Here are a few things every vendor you consider should have:
• Training programs backed by a learning and development team that keeps training content updated and can make adjustments as needed
• Specialist knowledge in the most effective equipment and tools to ensure both maximum quality and cost savings
• Enabling technology platforms that help teams operate more efficiently and give real-time visibility into performance metrics
3. A Lasting Partnership
Although both customers and vendors often talk about creating lasting partnerships, they too often devolve into a simple transactional relationship that’s bound by terms, conditions, and contract modifications.
This may produce some short-term cost savings, but it often precipitates poor results. It can also create a corrosive work culture that’s plagued with high turnover and a lack of career growth opportunities for team members.
Instead, a true partnership provides operational stability, a seamless customer experience built on trust, and a positive work environment.
COVID-19 has exposed the inability of transaction-focused outsourced relationships to endure the challenges of a rapidly changing environment.
But a lasting partnership may be the greatest benefit of outsourcing. A true partner — rather than merely a company you have a contract with — should have these qualities:
• Flexibility — This is like having a small business mindset. A partner should be able to work with you and adjust to your needs, even in hard times.
• Agile Decision Making — A good vendor is someone who can move fast. Being a true partner means acting quickly on any changing requirements or new challenges.
• Corporate Culture — You don’t want to be just another account at a large corporation. You want a vendor who’s culture breeds authenticity and real relationship. Someone who’s in it with you for the long haul.
By identifying these characteristics early in your selection process, you’ll be able to choose a partner that’s up to the task of working with you to achieve common goals, even during a pandemic.
Outsourcing is so much more than just a way to save money. It gives you access to expertise and resources that are required to meet the changing expectation of your customers.
With recruiting, technology and training, and a lasting partnership, outsourcing can help your organization become more trustworthy and resilient.