The following is an article written by Trellance’s Chief Services Officer, Steve Kass. It originally appeared on CUInsight.com.
As of yet, the US has not announced that it has entered a recession or that a recession has already occurred, but the phrase “do more with less” is being thrown around with increasing regularity. You may have found that your credit union’s budget has decreased from previous years, and that you’re having to find creative alternatives to complete projects that require either more staff or more resources. You are not alone – many financial institutions are feeling the squeeze as deposits reduce and loans increase.
It’s time to start looking for new ways to complete the work your credit union needs done, liquidity crunch or no. Rather than overworking existing staff or trying to hire new technology or analytics staff with a non-competitive salary, it may be time to look beyond our own shores.
How to Work with Offshore Talent
There are multiple ways to work with offshore talent. You may want to try and integrate them into your credit union’s existing team; this will require remote access to existing systems. Talk with your IT team about ensuring that such access is possible, and that secure protocols are in place to protect the connection on your side. Determine what areas the resource will need access to, and restrict access to nonessential areas if necessary.
You could also choose to work with talent on a more project-by-project basis. Depending on the project and the deliverables, it may be possible to work with talent in this way without providing access to internal systems. Make sure to provide clear instructions about expectations and deliverables in this case.
No matter how your credit union chooses to work talent, make sure you’re setting recurring meetings either with the contract talent or with the talent and your whole team to check on progress on projects. This will ensure you’re up to date on how the talent is working and allow you to address any challenges as they arise.
Benefits of Contracting Offshore Talent
In addition to saving your credit union money, contracting offshore talent can provide other benefits, if you know how to capitalize on them.
Contracting talent is often a flexible arrangement; adjust the number of resources you contract up or down as needed or add and remove hours for a truly scalable operation as your credit union’s needs fluctuate. Depending on the talent provider, you may also be able to terminate the contract at any time, if your credit union’s need for additional talent ends. Many providers work on a month-to-month basis, rather than an annual or quarterly one.
Offshore also means a different time zone. While this may pose some initial challenges in communication (though often short-lived, as resources often make themselves available in the contractor’s hours of operation), it also means your credit union could develop a 24-hour working model, meaning someone can be available to address issues or errors at any hour of the day. How much quicker could you implement changes if you woke up to the code you needed to make a change to your credit union’s app or website?
The outside perspective itself can sometimes be invaluable. Someone who isn’t entrenched in your culture or credit union’s way of doing something may be able to offer insights you or your existing IT team hadn’t even considered.
Security Considerations when Contracting Offshore Talent
Contracting offshore talent may sound like a frightening concept, but with today’s technology, it’s incredibly quick and easy, and can be a great cost saving method. With the rise of work from home and hybrid work arrangements, your credit union likely already has the video conferencing software needed to communicate with someone overseas, and remote access to systems is easier to set up than ever. Likely, your credit union’s largest concern will be the security considerations of utilizing offshore talent.
When reviewing talent contract providers, make sure to inquire about the working arrangements with potential talent. Look for providers that bring on full-time employees then contract those out, rather than those that connect you with a third party resource. Providers that use full-time employees can better control the environments the talent works in and put protections in place to protect your credit union, such as contract clauses or non-disclosure agreements.
Also ask about the working conditions of the talent. They should work in a secure building with controlled access, such as the use of key cards for entrance into the building and secure areas. The office should also provide access to strong, consistent and secure internet. These components will ensure that any work the talent does for your credit union is completed quickly and securely.
Choosing a Contract Talent Provider
We’ve discussed a few things to keep in mind when selecting your talent provider, such as the security and internet provisions. But your credit union should also look for providers that specialize in credit unions. We know that credit union needs are specific and require knowledge of the industry to get right; choosing a provider that specializes in credit unions will ensure that the talent you contract is able to hit the ground running and get started on your credit union’s projects right away.
Important things to look for in an offshore talent provider include:
- Full-time employees, not third party resources
- Provides a secure working environment
- Provides strong, secure internet
- Allows for different working models (integrated in existing team or project-by-project basis)
- Allows for easy scalability as needed
- Provides talent with strong English-language skills, both spoken and written
- Specializing in the credit union industry
- Provides a variety of titles and skills
Being frugal shouldn’t mean sacrificing quality. Utilizing offshore talent can allow your credit union to continue to maintain and improve upon the experience your members expect while still cutting down on costs. Make sure to do your research when considering offshore talent providers; ask questions and make sure the talent they provide is the right fit for your credit union.
Steve Kass is the Chief Services Officer at Trellance.