How do I guarantee the quality of work when outsourcing?

Do you worry about outsourcing work because you don’t think the quality will be the same as you’re getting now? Do you worry that the outsourcer won’t be in line with your company’s cultural values? Do you worry that you won’t be in control of the process and that you might end up having to do more work checking over what someone else has done?

If you are guilty of losing sleep over one or more of these worries above, then take a step back and open your mind to the possibility that outsourcing work can be a huge success. Your outsourcer may even do a better job than your staff – imagine that! To help ease your quality concerns, here are 6 things that you need to do to ensure that you get the quality you want.

6 must-dos to guarantee the quality of work when outsourcing

  • Invest more in the selection process

Since you’ll be working with the outsourcer you choose, hopefully, for the long haul, you must take the time to select this person/company and ensure that they are a good fit for your projects. Try assigning the same project to 2 or 3 different outsourcers; it’s a great way of comparing the quality of work and deciding who are the best people to work with.

  • Ask them what processes they have in place

A good outsourcer will be able to show you the processes they have in place to ensure you get the level of quality you require and minimal rework. Before you work with them, take the time to ask them about these processes so that you can understand how they will ensure a quality job is delivered on time and how you can keep in control of the process.

  • Discuss how mistakes will be resolved beforehand

Will they rectify any mistakes and make amendments at no cost? Or will this be something that you will need to do on your time? Discuss this in advance so that you both set expectations.

  • Give clear briefs

Sometimes quality may suffer because the outsourcer hasn’t been given a clear or detailed brief. Make sure that you have given them everything they need and confirm this with them before they start the work!

  • Communicate regularly

Regular communication is vital to keep you both aligned to the goals of the project, so make sure that you decide the best way to communicate and when before the project starts. Whether this is via Zoom, Slack or even WhatsApp, make sure you are getting regular progress updates from them and that you’re available if they come across any issues.

  • Treat your outsourcer like a new member of the team

You wouldn’t expect a new member of your team to deliver a top-quality job first time around. After

all, you’d take the time to go over with them exactly what your firm requires, e.g. processes they

have to use and standards they need to achieve. It’s the same when you start outsourcing.

Your outsourced team will need some time to work to your standards and your processes, so oversee the first project and provide feedback. From then on, take more of a backseat but respond promptly when they have any issues or questions, and always give feedback to help them learn what you want.


Should I advertise that my business is a ‘family business’?

In an environment where trust in business is too often lacking, family businesses have the opportunity to stand out and above the rest. Why? Because they tend to work to a set of values that resonate with people; values that often result in them being committed to meeting or even exceeding customers’ needs. If you’re thinking about using your family business credentials in your brand, here are the main benefits of doing so.

People trust family businesses

A report, commissioned by the Institute for Family Business (IFB) Research Foundation, found that a considerable majority of the general public hold family businesses in high regard in terms of perceptions around their trustworthiness.

In fact, survey respondents said that they think family businesses are more:

  • Trustworthy (81%)
  • Socially responsible (70%)
  • Quality-orientated (68%)
  • Customer-orientated (67%)

Family businesses appeal to every age

Studies have shown that a company which promotes itself as a family business is more likely to attract clients across all age ranges. It makes sense when you think about it as a family business has professionals across different generations which clients can choose from.

Family businesses are more approachable

The marketing of a family business is very informal and friendly. Often, you’ll see a friendly attitude put out over social media and the website copy will be talking to clients as if they are already part of the family.

What this does is that it makes the business approachable. It makes clients feel safe and secure and they are more likely to reach out and confide in you. This is a major contributor for why family-owned businesses seem more stable, more customer-friendly, more approachable and more trustworthy.

Employees are happier and more productive

Bringing your family business into your team ethos has a massive positive impact on your employees as well as your clients. For example, research has shown that using the family’s last name in the company brand not only has a positive impact on sales but also on company performance too.

In general, the family aspect gives most people positive associations. The environment tends to be more ‘caring’ which ensures all team members are comfortable with each other. A family atmosphere also promotes honesty which helps the team to grow and not keep problems bottled up. Creating this common sense of belonging to the family unites employees and managers across business areas, and it shows in the performance of the company as a whole.

Will you use your family credentials in your branding and team ethos?

Hopefully, this article has helped to highlight the value of promoting your family business both internally and externally. Not only does it ground your brand in the public mind in a very positive way, but it also ensures that your team are happier and more productive in their roles too.


How do I adjust staff working patterns?

Whether it is staggering start and finish times to reduced prolonged contact time, introducing short term working due to reduced business needs or flexible working to enable employees to meet child care commitments, a number of employers are having to think differently about how their business operates and the working patterns of their employees.

Whilst businesses should seek professional advice to ensure decisions are legal and in line with employment law such as ensuring any decision around working from home/reduced hours is not discriminatory below are a few tips on considerations you may need to make as well as tips on making different working patterns work.

Team jumping

Knowing what your employment contracts state enables you to make decisions based on what has already been agreed and understand where a ‘temporary change of contract’ may be required and therefore agreement needed from the individual (e.g. short time working).

Parents with two children

Do you need to enhance your flexible working policy to meet current and future needs of your business and employees?  Flexible and agile working has moved beyond formal agreements to reduce working hours.  Policies now need to reflect informal, temporary and permanent changes to working hours, patterns and location of work.  The should also promote a fully inclusive environment that meets the needs of the individual and business.

Two employees talking

Engage with employees to establish what their needs are and works well for them.  Where possible, involve them in the decision making process.  You also need to have a clear business rationale behind any decision that impacts working hours and/or working patterns and communicate these to your employees.

Continue to talk with employees to review success of changes to working patterns and adjust where necessary.

Traditionally, many businesses (and managers) take a time-based and ‘presentism’ approach to work and performance assessment.  With high numbers of individuals needing to work from home and many rethinking about work and domestic working patterns adjusting, a move to a more outcome based approach promotes a more productive and healthy working environment.  To help with this, managers should:

  • Set clear objectives and tasks that can be measured, moving away from a time focus
  • Agree ‘contactable hours’ where individuals commit to being visibly online and/or available for calls
  • Accept that working 9-5 is now not the norm. Many individuals may choose to start work earlier/finish later to enable them to deal with domestic responsibilities or personal activity (such as exercise)

Calendar and out of office

Utilise tools such as out of office messages, calendar’s and answer phone messages to advise people of working patterns and reduce levels of frustration when uncontactable.

agree core working hours

Having core working hours (e.g. 11:00 – 14:00) and enabling teams to arrange their working times around this gives flexibility whilst having some consistency where all employees are available for meetings.

More ‘forced’ business closures are on their way

The chancellor, Rishi, on Friday popped up with an announcement of more support for businesses in the next 6 months. Sadly this announcement is a sure indicator, for businesses in areas where they are failing to get COVID-19 under control, that tougher lockdowns are about to hit their ability to trade. The news is also peppered with articles that the PM is going to announce tougher lockdowns for parts of the country on monday.

The announcements by Rishi have been designed for any business which is LEGALLY forced to close their premises as a result of any lockdown restrictions. If you can still trade but choose to not trade, this package of measures will, sadly, not apply to you. However, if you are a pub or restaurant who is forced to stop serving meals to diners sitting in, you can still claim on this scheme if you are able to offer a food delivery service or takeaway.

What is available?

For any employee who can not work because the employers’ premises are closed for a minimum of 7 consecutive days, the government will pay 2/3rds of their normal wage up to a max of £2100 per month. As with all of these grants, the payments are taxable and you, the employer, would be expected to cover employer NICS and automatic enrolment pension contributions. Similar to the Furlough scheme the wages can be claimed monthly in arrears. This scheme is open to employers from 1st November for 6 months.

Unlike the winter economy plan, this new extension to the government job support scheme seems to have been rushed through very quickly. Here are more details of the scheme Note the lack of branding for a key communications document! And the fact it is light on ‘how’ to actually claim…

In addition to the extension to the Job Support Scheme the government will increase the grants it pays to businesses in England legally forced to shut in local lockdowns. The grants are:

  • Small businesses with a rateable value of or below £15,000: £1300 per month
  • Medium-sized businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000: £2000 per month
  • Large businesses can claim £3000 per month.

If you are concerned about the impact of lockdowns to your business, please get in touch. We can help you make sure your business survives this winter.

How to get back in control of your workload

For many of us, Covid has caused a wave of work or we’re experiencing challenges with everyone working remotely and there’s just too much day-to-day work that needs to be done. This is an issue that needs to be nipped in the bud quickly so here’s how to get back in control of your workload so that you can make time to work on the business rather than in it.

3 steps to take control of your workload

If you are spinning multiple plates and you have too much on each plate, you need to take back control. This amount of overwhelm can be difficult to shift, so here are the 4 steps that you need to take:

Without valuable deep-thinking time, you are constantly spending your days firefighting. To take back time (and stop firefighting), see the time-management tips below. Start working smarter not harder.

Get more headspace

You need to know where your business is growing and how you are going to get there. If you have this, then you can prioritise work of high-value and ensure that you have the capacity and resources to facilitate this growth.

Once you have a clear growth plan and a capacity and resources plan, you need to make sure that you monitor and measure progress. Whether that’s a daily huddle, a weekly operational meeting, a monthly leadership meeting, and/or a quarterly one big focus reset meeting, find what works for you and your team to keep everyone on track.

How to get back more time

We are all guilty of working too much within the business rather than on it, but how do we make more time? How do we reduce the time spent on low-value tasks and increase the time we spend on the tasks that will grow our business?

Here are our best time management tips:

  • Do a time audit – where are you actually spending your time? Track what you are doing and how long it takes for 2 weeks. You’ll soon see where your time is being wasted and what needs to change.
  • Plan and prioritise work – which tasks are urgent and which are the ones that will help grow the business? Prioritise these to do first.
  • Delegate effectively – start delegating authority as well as tasks so that you don’t have to micro-manage.
  • Minimise interruptions – when you’re doing high-value tasks, switch off your phone, mute notifications, block out your diary, and work somewhere where you won’t be disturbed.
  • Ditch unprofitable clients – low fee clients are often more of a hassle and take up the most time so let them go.
  • Outsource low-value tasks – this is the quickest way to gain back time and increase your revenue.
  • Hold everyone accountable – even yourself. If you and your team are all held accountable for your tasks, they will get done and done promptly.

Start working smarter, not harder

If you’re overwhelmed with work and there’s just too much in the day to do, every day, take a step back and breathe. What are the goals for your business? What do you need to prioritise to get there? What can you delegate or outsource? What are the tasks that you, and you only, must do?

If you take some time to put these three steps in place – get more headspace, develop a growth plan, and monitor and measure progress – you’ll soon find that you’ll be back in control of your workload and you can spend more time working on the business rather than in it.