How to Build a Reliable Captive Team

By Gillian Grant

Anyone involved in business process outsourcing or knowledge process outsourcing is all too familiar with the time, money, and resources involved in hiring assets. If these assets, as often happens, are located in a foreign country, with language and customs unfamiliar to you, getting overwhelmed is a likely result.

Unfortunately, there are no set-in-stone rules you can follow to guarantee successful hires for your BPO or KPO efforts. However, following the best practices detailed below should make hiring to support your outsourcing programs a little easier. These are just some basic tips and tricks to consider when building your offshoring model and staffing in a captive environment.

1. Go organic – The people you want exist but not with the backgrounds or experience you expect. For BPOs and KPOs, you are going to have to train them on specific skills, so look for people who can work in your company’s culture and understand your goals. People who have strong backgrounds in communications, marketing, or education tend to have an appreciation of learning and will adapt to your environment quickly.

2. School is in session – Tap into recruiting events at local high schools and universities. If they don’t have recruiting events, then help form an informal one where you can present your business, services, and hiring needs. Also, if these schools have majors or curriculums that align with your work, tap into them. If not, then consider working with these local institutions to incorporate your technical needs into their program, which will give you a pipeline of candidates over the long term.

3. Get comfortable delegating – No matter how many phone calls, videoconferences, or onsite visits you have, it will remain a struggle to keep up with the day-to-day activities of your team. While most people look for a team lead who has a technical-domain understanding of the work, you will fall short on building a cohesive team over time. Bring in someone who has actual management experience and understands the goals and values of your group or company.

4. Know the competition – Understand your competitors, what kinds of hiring they’re doing, and determine to differentiate yourself with job responsibilities, benefits, and perks. Unlike the U.S., many professionals – especially in Latin America and the Caribbean – are not driven by money as the major factor when considering a job. A lot of our global professionals relish opportunities to work directly with Americans, working within a community, and having some work/life balance when it comes to commuting and shift timings.

5. Training is inevitable – Accept that you are going to have to facilitate in-depth, deep-dive training for your new resources. Before you start the hiring process, come up with a learning curriculum that teaches people the work from the bottom up. See this training not as a one-off instance but instead as incremental development standards to incorporate every few months to insure your offshore team grows with your onshore team.

6. Know your culture – Consider what type of culture your business has and compare it to the culture of the country you are in. Where are the differences? Identify them through testing during the interview process on technical and language skills. Also, do some research on the working styles of the country you are in so you can mitigate any cultural barriers between the U.S. and offshore countries.

7. Career paths = happy recruits – While these offshore workers may be more junior than professionals you have hired in the United States, their needs are no different. Showing recruits a career path that outlines the responsibilities of their job, incremental milestones, and where that will take them on their professional journey gives recruits a level of comfort that you have thought through your offshoring model beyond the first year. Make sure they know there is a spot for them long-term if their performance is up to snuff.

8. Have an “onboarding” party – Onboard your offshore resources using as many U.S. professionals as possible as an opportunity to set the expectation that these two teams are going to successfully work together. Find reasons to get everyone on the phone or videoconference. This will break down social barriers quickly and get everyone working as one team.

Most important, look at this as a journey, not a long-weekend holiday. It takes time and daily nurturing to create a strong self-sufficient team that will support your work over the coming years.

Gillian Grant is the Principal of VIS Consulting, a knowledge process outsourcing and information management consulting firm. She can be reached at




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