Communication is the key to personal and career successes. It is an important piece in every working relationship. In fact, it is almost impossible for any company to establish a working environment without effective communication.
Effective communication often involves finding a balance between sharing just enough information to establish a healthy working atmosphere and sharing too much information that could endanger the relationship.
And with outsourcing, that balance can be a little tricky to figure out. Outsourcing relies heavily on communication. Outsourcing vendors have to update company managers regarding projects, and project managers have to provide regular feedback to their outsourcing team.
Some outsourcing experts even recommend over-communication to establish trust and to avoid any communication loss. But is that really necessary? How much information is too much information? And how much information is just enough?
When Outsourcing Partner Tells You What to Do
Have you encountered times when your outsourcing vendor is the one telling you what to do and offering project recommendations? This might come as a surprise because as the client, you’re supposed to be the one in control the situation.
On the contrary, you can consider that gesture as an added bonus in hiring an effective team.
Keep in mind that professional outsourcing firms are specialists. The reason you hired this team is because they know exactly what they are doing and can deliver it on time. Don’t be offended when you’re outsourcing partner offers advice or takes initiative on projects. You always have the option to take or reject their recommendation. Just make it clear that as the client, you should have control over the operation, including the dissemination of information.
How Much Information is Enough?
As a business owner, you’d want to protect yourself as much as you can. Even if your outsourcing partner is trustworthy and you have NDAs that cover all information exchange, it’s still best to protect yourself by knowing just how much information you really need to share. Here are a few guidelines to help you:
• Interview your outsourcing vendor carefully – When choosing an outsourcing vendor, interview them carefully. Ask how much access they would really need to do their job. For example, a social media virtual assistant doesn’t need to have your social media passwords. A professional would simply ask you would assign her as an admin to your accounts or share a LastPass folder with her. Top virtual assistant companies and outsourcing vendors know how important security is to you and would not ask for any sensitive information unless it is absolutely necessary. If that vendor is asking for too much information, it might be best to be consider someone else.
• Consider transparency – Once you hire an outsourcing company, encourage them to have a transparent relationship with you. Be clear about what you can give or share and expect them to do the same. Learn when to lay down all cards, when dealing with your outsourcing partner. Be clear on your objectives with your outsourcing team. This will encourage the free exchange of necessary information and reduce any misinformation that can affect the process.
• Document Everything – The faintest ink is better than a reliable memory. Any information shared should be documented and tracked. If it’s needed again, it can just be tracked instead of redistributed. It also adds another layer of protection since it’s hard to enforce NDA’s on verbal exchange. But if it’s documented, it can be protected under an NDA.
What If You Don’t Have Enough Information
What if your problem is that you don’t have enough information, or you’re not in liberty to share your information because it’s your client’s data.
If you don’t have enough information, asking for help is an option. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, even in outsourcing.
Nothing’s wrong with telling your outsourcing partner that you don’t have all the information need. In fact, you can ask your outsourcing partner to guide you on how to get that information. They will consider that a privilege in assisting you on getting that information. You’ll learn something new and your outsourcing vendor will understand your business better which will help them once they start working on your project.
Sometimes there’s some information that can’t be shared, especially sensitive information that can make your business vulnerable. Or maybe it’s information from your clients and you don’t have the clearance to share it with them.
In most cases, your outsourcing team won’t need this information to do their task. But in the event that they do need that information and you can’t share it, you should provide alternatives that can serve as their guide.