Communication drives everything we do.

“Poor communication” was recently highlighted as the reason why 28% of employees don’t deliver work on time. In addition, “miscommunication” can cost companies with 100 employees an average of $420,000 per year. With many SME’s opting for outsourced teams to provide accounting, HR and IT support it is evident that businesses require clear communication strategies to get the most out of these teams.

To ensure that your business can get the best results from your outsourced services we have outlined four keys to achieving clear and consistent communication with external firms.

1. Make it regular

We recommend regular work in progress (WIP) meetings. Time is money, and when business owners are proactive in engaging in conversation with their external teams, they can set realistic timelines for projects and avoid any assumptions. In addition, touching base regularly can help anticipate and troubleshoot problems before the fact, alleviating stress and ensuring there is no need for damage control.

Particularly during projects, setting milestones and communicating regularly creates a good rhythm that opens a dialogue of honest feedback and can result in quicker turnarounds. When business owners are active in delivery rather than passive, conversations have more power and intention to them — and inspire more efficient and deliberate work.

2. Build trust

Outsourcing parts of your business requires you to establish trust and a working relationship with your external teams. Communication is an effective way to achieve this.

In the TED Talk ‘The Art of Effective Communication’, Marcus Velazquez explores how being open-minded and a good listener is the key to unlocking stronger business relationships. Velazquez explains that being able to listen to opposing viewpoints and new ideas is crucial to creating a good rapport and trust with external parties.

When working with outsourced teams, business owners should share their story and be authentic in their delivery. In sharing, albeit briefly, the journey of their business, outsourced firms can gain insight that contributes to building trust and the ability to develop tailored strategies. Business owners and outsourced teams can then build on this established trust by being active listeners.

3. Purposeful conversations

Communication needs to have a purpose; that is, there needs to be a reason for speaking. Simply put by philosopher Joseph Priestley, “The more elaborate our means of communication, the less we communicate”.

Purposeful communication is about knowing the goal of a meeting; practically, it is knowing the issues that are to be resolved. For larger projects, there may be planners and/or agendas to keep everyone on the same page. To keep communication effective, it is important for all parties to understand their role and what they require from the conversation.

Ineffective, inarticulate conversations can waste time and energy. They can even result in detrimental misunderstandings. Identifying a meeting’s purpose allows all parties to be active listeners and for everyone to stay on task and ultimately resolve problems and concerns, and deliver work outcomes.

4. Be assertive

Good communication requires honest communication, and being assertive will lead to conversations that will propel better work.

When business owners communicate clearly with their outsourced firms, it ensures that time isn’t wasted constructing a strategy that won’t work. It allows external teams to progress through tasks and deliver outcomes, which can often result in improved business growth for the business owner.

Not only does being assertive benefit self-confidence and self-esteem, it also develops mutual respect. When honest relationships are created between business owners and outsourced teams, it can lead to overall improved job satisfaction.

As communication with your outsourced team is prioritised, sound relationships are established. Outsourced teams are then empowered to effectively deliver greater results for you and your business.