One of the strategies of outsourcing providers in times of the pandemic was the transition to remote work. In each company, this change had to be preceded by many preparations, such as digitisation of documents, verification of the internet connection bandwidth, number of VPN and, above all, contacts with existing clients.
The ability to quickly adapt to the socio-economic environment has become crucial to secure the going concern. Given the opinions of experts in many fields, we must be prepared for many unpredictable circumstances in the business environment, including those similar to COVID-19.
In my reflections, I would like to refer to the outsourcing services industry, especially the outsourcing of accounting and payroll & HR services.
Preparations for transition to remote work
Remote work is the future for many industries, including outsourcing of accounting and payroll & HR services. However, the time of the pandemic cannot be used as a model.
In my opinion, each company should test the applied solutions – it is recommended to use the previously developed scheme for remote work, then try this solution at all levels of the structure and implement digitisation of documents.
Caring for employees in the age of technology
Outsourcing of accounting and payroll & HR services is mostly based on technology and people’s competences. As both accountants and payroll professionals in Poland have become scarce for several years now, caring for the staff should be of key importance.
Problems on the labour market are accompanied by frequent changes in the law, mainly tax law, so when deciding to work remotely, various factors should be taken into account in this field.
When a company intends to work remotely in a long-term perspective, the employers must consider who of their employees can and is interested in working from home and who must absolutely work in the office.
Moreover, with operational organisation based on permanent teams, remote work should be planned in a way enabling the rotation of entire teams in the future. In this case, both operational communication related to the provision of services and HR communication, which has an impact on maintaining emotional affiliation to the organisation, are very important issues.
It is also necessary to properly plan tasks and monitor effectiveness. I believe that trainings in team and client management in dispersed conditions should be the main item of training budgets for the coming years.
As far as taking care of the staff is concerned, it should not be forgotten that the employer is responsible for organising the workplace, including occupational health and safety, especially when the work is performed outside the office.
Recruitment and onboarding
Online recruitment processes were the fastest to catch on during the pandemic. However, apart from the recruitment process and the success of getting a new employee, the onboarding process is essential. The employee’s onboarding affects the work of the entire team, the quality of services and the client’s satisfaction.
The team leaders play an extremely important role in the onboarding process. Their soft skills may decide on the employees’ preservation in the organisation and mostly on their development.
One of the best practices in this area are onboarding videos - they can be replayed when needed, which allows better and smooth assimilation of knowledge.
Home office work influences the transformation of the way the office is managed. On the one hand the office space is reduced, on the other it is used more effectively to achieve a better growth. The approach to investment outlays related to regional development changes consequently. In my opinion, the key solution in this case is the coworking at the initial stage, which eliminates the need to invest in office space. Thanks to this, it is possible to develop business in several locations simultaneously.
Remote work may also modify office space allocation to the benefit of conference rooms equipped with remote communication tools, and the demand for office chairs or computer monitors per square metre of a given room will grow.
Technology in outsourcing companies
The pandemic has convinced everyone that technology became an essential factor in the success of companies. Higher labour costs and shorter deadlines for reporting to the client require the implementation of automation solutions.
The robotics is more and more used in the accounting and payroll & HR outsourcing in numerous areas. This ”worker” is extremely efficient as it does not need space or holiday. Nevertheless, it requires a tutor who will ensure the updating of the performed tasks, which in turn creates new categories of jobs.
In order to effectively manage such progressive changes, it is extremely important to prepare employees to consciously use the value brought by automation and robotics. Therefore, it is necessary to change the mentality and to support HR departments in making technology part of teamwork, so that no one feels threatened or unnecessary.
The future of outsourcing of accounting as well as HR and payroll services depends on the ability to manage permanent change and to adapt to economic and legal conditions transforming rapidly. In such circumstances, amendments to the labour law are urgently expected, as well as the updating of other laws enabling full digitalisation of documents.
The changes I have presented in this article have many benefits for outsourcing providers, but as always, they must be wisely planned and implemented. What requires special attention is, in my opinion, communication with employees and clients.