Welcome back to Remote Staff Radio, we are now on our 2nd Episode and looks like it’s getting more interesting as we learn more about Remote Staffing. Our special guest–Lance Harvie, CEO of Remote Staff Inc. will be walking us through the benefits of Remote Staffing and who benefits from Remote Working. Come think of it, who actually benefits from Remote Working? Is it the remote staff? Or the business owner? That we will have to find out.
So get those earphones on, pull up the volume, sit back, click that play button, listen and share.
LOUIE: Hello, everyone! And welcome to Remote Staff Radio. My name is Louie. And picking up from our last episode, we have Lance Harvie again to tell us more about, and explore other aspects of Outsourcing: How to build a Successful Business using Outsourcing services and, you know, we’re putting tips. So, ladies and gentlemen, again, Lance Harvie is in the house. So, Lance Harvie, how are you?
LANCE: Hey, Louie! (laughs) I like that. Lance Harvie’s in the house! (laughs)
LOUIE: So, how’s it going, you know, for the past few weeks, how’s you and Remote Staff?
LANCE: It’s been raining like crazy here in Manila. You know, with our headquarters here in Manila. It’s an unusual weather. This year, I don’t know. Maybe we call this Climate Change and Global Warming. But it’s definitely been raining, right? It’s been raining a lot. Not that we’re complaining because it’s warm here.
LOUIE: That’s correct. That is correct. So…alright. So, now we’re going back to Outsourcing experience. So can you share us some of your clients’ stories. Let’s say, how about this guy named, Michael Hamdash?
LANCE: Yeah. That’s an interesting client, actually, Michael Hamdash. Really lovely, lovely guy. An Aussie, born and raised in Australia. He actually had a bit of a challenge. You know, he came to us because he wanted to grow, like most businesses in Australia want to grow. Small Businesses, they want to go from small to big, to medium to big. But a lot of the challenges with businesses in Australia — or even in the US, the UK, and Canada is that labor costs are very, very high. So when they hire people and look at any business, you’d find that 70% of the cost of their running cost of their over head’s operational cost are actually in staffing. So he had the same challenge. He wanted to expand his business. He has an online business where he’s importing. He’s an importer, he imports goods from overseas and he sells or buys them on websites or he buys them online to this journey market. He’s got a warehouse in Australia and he had people working in his warehouse, he had logistics people. He just couldn’t scale. He just could not, you know? Have enough capital to hire more and more people so that’s kind of how he stumbled upon us. I’m not sure how they got to us, but we’re pretty well SEO’d on Google so maybe he did some Google searches. That’s kind of how he found us, and that is kind of how he started our journey together.
LOUIE: And how long has Michael been with Remote Staff now?
LANCE: I’m not quite sure. I think it’s been eight months now. So eight months…it’s actually eight months has gone quickly. You know it’s like, it feels like yesterday he started.
LOUIE: That’s correct, that is correct. So that’s a great story, Lance, about Michael’s success here at Remote Staff. But could you tell us a bit more about some of the horror stories that you’ve encountered with some of the clients we have here?
LANCE: Yeah, well, you know, I mean eight months is a long time. You know, a lot of things have happened, even with Michael’s journey, I mean, he started with all the high expectations and hopes of most of our clients that engaged with us on the beginning. But when they started the journey, the vision and the dream is a little bit different from the reality. So, he kind of had that same experience. He started off with good intentions, we hired people for him. Some of those people worked out and are still with us and with him. But some of them did not work out. So one of the horror stories with Michael is that we hired people, we vetted those people. They work in our office here – we got 1,000 square meters here in Makati, that’s where our headquarters is. And he actually put a lot of trust into these people, did a lot of training, used to come here regularly to train them in person. He paid them really, really well. Gave them all the tools that they needed. But like in any kind of environment, any kind of work, or any company, when you hire people, it doesn’t matter where they are, they’re not all gonna work out, one reason or another. That’s kind of, his own experience here. It’s not really a horror story per se. It’s just the journey of employing anybody, be that in the first world countries, or here in the Philippines. On behalf of our clients, I think that Michael did everything right. But he was a little green round the ears, a little bit. You know, a little bit wet around the ears. I guess, in a sense that he was not aware of some cultural things, and some of the ways that people interact. He’s come from Australia. In Australia, when you go to work, there’s a bit of talking around the work environment. But, you know, there’s kind of the water cooler talking, the lunch areas. Then, you know, you get to work. Where as to Filipinos are very, very social people and, sometimes, they tend to bring that sociality into their work offices and work spaces. And Michael had to get used to that and work around that. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just the culture and he had to adjust to those things. So the horror stories were not really horror stories. It’s just that he had to exit a few of these people because they were not just giving him what he needed, in a way of output. And some of these, in particular individuals had issues out. Now, one thing you’ve got to understand about Filipinos is that they’re very family-centric. Family is everything to them. Family comes first. Work is really a secondary thing and that doesn’t mean they don’t work hard. It’s just that their priorities are towards family rather than work. Whereas, in first world countries, it’s work over anything else. So you’ve got to make sure that you kind of, build your ideas around and take that into consideration, and give people a little bit of slack, you know. If they need to go and do something on behalf of their family. And that’s what Michael learned. But some people can take that too far as well and that is kind of really, the horror story. Well, particularly an individual took it a little bit too far. It affected their work on a consistent basis which, obviously, Michael couldn’t tolerate. And therefore, we had to find a replacement. It’s not really a horror story, but it’s more of a cultural kind of getting used to.
LOUIE: So…is everything good know with Michael? How’s his journey as of today?
LANCE: From what I know, his journey’s growth, he’s grown considerably since being with us in the eighth months. It’s gone from five to seven staff and he’s driving beyond that as well. So I think, from all the reports that I’m hearing, his staff are happy. He’s happy. But, you know, everyday’s, you know, different. Because he’s not here, he’s using us as the custodians I guess, or the overseers to see, to make sure that these people are, kind of, doing what they need to do. So the journey’s been very, very successful today. And Michael’s just one of many, many clients. We have quite a number of clients. We’ve got large teams in our office here. You know, we have over 600 staff that are working from home as well. And some of those have large teams as well. So, you know, the journey is very similar of across many, many clients that we currently have. But the investment needs to be made in part of the client as much as from us, as Remote Staff supplying service and the staff of Filipinos, they have to make an investment, we have to make the investment, the client’s have got to make the investment.
LOUIE: Thank you, Lance for sharing Michael’s experience and journey here with RemoteStaff. But to all clients there, for small to medium businesses, what tips can you give them, considering outsourcing is a way to grow their business?
LANCE: Look. It’s a fantastic opportunity, really. I mean, before, when I came here, with the involvement with outsourcing, I was involved in the recruitment space in Australia. I had my own agency and I was hiring Aussies for Aussie companies. And I’ve also worked in other markets like the US and Europe. So, I think the opportunity for companies, small businesses, is that you have a huge talent pool here in the Philippines. The education system is very good, people have no problem with speaking English, and they understand the western culture. I mean, I’ve lived here for quite a number of years and I have no, or zero cultural issues with Filipinos. They are understanding, they get me straight away, there’s no language barrier, whatsoever. There are cultural things that you need to consider, however, that are different from Australian society, from the UK society, from the European society, from the US, Canadian society. There are differences. There minor differences, they’re not deal-breakers, but you’ve got to go in with that idea that you have to learn to work with Filipinos in their own way of working as much as trying to get productivity out of the door. See, in Australia, you expect a lot of work from one person. Here, you’ve got to break that work up into many pieces and distribute across many, many people. Because you just get more work done than when you try to get it all done by one person. So that’s a little tip — is that try to get your core skills done by one person. For instance, I’ll give you an example. Let’s say you want an Accountant, like a Xero Accountant. And so, you say, “What are we going to be doing?” “Oh, I’m going to be doing reconciliations or invoicing” Maybe those two things can go together. But if you want them to do reporting, financial planning, that’s a different turf, you know? Whereas, in Australia, you might be able to get it out in one person. Whereas, here, you have to get a Bookkeeper, with a Xero experience. Ang then a financial planner, in another person. But that’s successful because it’s only going to cost you, still going to cost you less money. Be it two people for two-thirds of the price of one person that you get in Australia. So it’s cool, you’re still taking a third of your salary pass.
LOUIE: That’s gonna be a big savings.
LANCE: Yes. But you’ve got to be able to division your work. That’s really my tip. Don’t think like, “Oh, you can take your job description which you gave to an Aussie and give it to a Filipino” because they will do 50% of it, and then somebody else will do the other. Unless everything’s like just invoicing, that’s all they’re gonna do. Of course, give it to one person. But if they’re after different skills, they have to break them up into two separate job descriptions.
LOUIE: That’s great, Lance. As as an international recruiter, what advice can you give us in hiring the right person? I know it’s a challenge. But can you speak to us on what kind of advice you can give to our clients who would like to try to outsource candidates here in the Philippines.
LANCE: So one of the challenges of recruiting is-…When I started recruiting, I was very much a person that looked at resumes and looked at the skills of the person, and match them to the job descriptions. So I thought, my thinking was, this job, because my background is engineering. As an Engineer, you have to have some skills and experience to do a particular type of work. It wasn’t much about the cultural fit, or the team fit. It was more about, you know, getting the job done. It was more individualistic. But then, over the years, I realized that, you know, unfortunately, people can’t work in a silent. They can’t work in the back, they have to work with people. So I think this day and age, you find soft skills — are very important as well. So culture fit is important. So when you’re looking into recruiting somebody, my tip in recruiting internationally is yes, of course, if you don’t have the skills and the experience to do the actual job, then you’re not gonna be successful in that job. But if you discount, you know, interactional skills, personal skills, you need to be a team player, you need to be a resourceful person, think outside the box, be a problem solver, communicate well with other people, then, you know… you’re also gonna fail. So if you have one, just the skills on the social skills and cultural skills, and not the technical skills, you’re gonna fail. Just have the technical skills, you’re gonna fail. Find those two mixes when you do recruiting. So, how do you do that? So it’s easy. See, when you got a skill set, put your description together, you give it to us, do it yourself if you wanted to, go to a job site, get a job ad up, you get a resume, and you start looking into the resume, but that doesn’t really tell you anything about the person. The person’s that’s sitting in front of you when you interview, that’s when you’re going to find out about the person. So what we try to do here at Remote Staff is we do all of that skills matching and resume matching against the job spec. But the thing you can help us, as one of the tidbits for anybody that’s looking to work with us, by providing us some sort of a personality profile, some sort of a cultural profile. What kind of person do you like working with? What kind of team do you have? What kind of people do you have with your current team, or at the moment? Now, what kind of things do you do outside of just working? You have interests? These are important for us to look for as well. Because your common interests has to work, they can glue, glue people together and in times of process. Also, in how you think. You know, a lot of the times, Australians, or Americans, or Brits, or Canadians, or Europeans, they have a certain way of thinking about problems. A lot of that stuff has not really come through to us in the job spec, and our Business Developers will talk to you about those things. It’s important for you to really understand what you’re looking for.
LOUIE: So, you’ve mentioned that for the client to be able to find the right fit, do they need to provide you like a job description? Do you think is that something, you know, is essential for you to be able to find the right candidate?
LANCE: So we have a process in Remote Staff. We don’t work without a job spec, you know? It’s very easy for us to give you that for you to fill in. It’s actually up on our website, there’s a link, we send it to you. It’s also available when you actually sign up with us. You get an email with a link. Now, we need you to fill that up with as much detail as possible. Basically, what that is is a job description. It’s really your name, your contact information, the title of the job, if it’s part-time or full-time, and the key, the three most important things this person is gonna be doing. Then the next three most important things, and then the desirables. So if you fill that in with as much clarity as possible, and if you can put in there extra notes at the bottom, there’s a section for extra notes. It’s kind of a personality profile, usually the kind of person you’re looking for. That will help our recruiters because we use that as the blueprint for us to go to the market and start matching candidates for your requirement. Without that, we can’t really help you. So, it’s very important, it’s essential. And we actually want to work with you to fll that in.
LOUIE: So it’s like a wishlist?
LANCE: Yeah. A Job Spec is usually a wishlist anyway. That’s why on our Job Spec, we force you to think about the three most important things. So we’ll work on that idealistic, everything, in the person to “What’s not being done right now that I’m struggling with?” That’s the most important thing that needs to be fixed now. So if you can put that down, then we can get started on that right away.
LOUIE: So once you’re able to provide the right candidate, will that free up some of their time? Like, so they can do other stuff?
LANCE: Right. So you have to ask yourself a question, “Why are you embarking on this journey?” Some people…I mean, growing up, “Oh, I want to grow a business” — What does that mean? Well, for a lot of people, they might be good at doing one thing, but not really good at something else. When you’re in a small business, you have to do everything. And when you try to do everything, there are some things that you enjoy and are good at, and there are other things that you’re not really good at but you have to do them. So it’s great taxing for you. So what I suggest to business that want to grow is identify those things that you don’t want to do, that are consuming a lot of your time, and then give those to us. So until we can find those people who can do that. That will free up your time to do things that you want to do. For instance, I’ll give you an example. Let’s say you’re a small business. Most businesses, or all businesses need…. They need to get in to new businesses. They need to be prospecting for new clients all the time. So let’s say you’re a sales kind of person. You like meeting the people. You want to bring the business in. That’s what you enjoy doing. But you don’t actually enjoy all the directory, all the paperwork, recording all these information. Well maybe we can find you a data-entry person, or we can find you somebody who’s an Appointment Setter to set appointments for you. So all they’ve got to do is go and sit with these people in their offices, talk to them, get their contract signed, whatever. So that’s just an example — doing something you enjoy and then outsourcing the stuff you don’t enjoy, where we can come in to play. And that way you grow your business. You double your sell. Basically, you claim yourself, in some respect, in no particular area.
LOUIE: Nice. So, thanks, Lance! For those wonderful tips. Small to Medium Businesses, hear us out. So, thanks, Lance again. And to finish today’s episode, so could you tell us a little about Remote Staff’s future plans?
LANCE: Our Remote Staff will continue to innovate with new products and services. We’re going to new markets. But you know, really, the thing that you need to know from Remote Staff is that our passion and our vision is to help fellow Filipinos and clients around the world. Small to medium size businesses that want to grow. A struggling, competing out there for resources, they can’t find enough people to do the work, they’re finding it very hard to justify the cost of paying people in their countries. We are committed to those people and that’s why we’re helping to grow our services even more so we can help those clients. And also, we’re very passionate about Filipinos. We want to provide them long-term employment with us. And the way we work, regarding that is that, when somebody finishes up with a client, we will try to find some other client for that same person. We want to have some sort of continuity of employment with that person. As long as we can do that for them, we will. Because we are committed to providing this type of opportunity to Filipinos, and also providing the cost savings and all the other benefits of outsourcing to the clients around the world. So the future is bright for Remote Staff. We are in vetted in all the technology, internally. We have built our software in-house. We also developed these inhouse. We are also moving in to another market. So we’re going to the US, UK market soon. So, yeah, I mean, just watch the space. And by the way, I want to plug my E-book. There’s an E-book that’s available on our website. If you want to go in to that: www.remotestaff.com.au. Go down to the bottom. Just scroll all the way down there. There’s actually a place where you can just type in your email address and download the E-book. Now that E-book is actually…it took me a while to write. It’s kind of bringing together my knowledge and experience of the recruitment and outsourcing space. And there’s lots of tidbits in there as well to help you guys along on your way up to the outsourcing model. Even outsource with other suppliers, there are suppliers out there that you can leverage. So, yeah, look it up. It’s free. It’s available. If you want to download that, please go ahead and do that.
LOUIE: Wow. It does keep you busy, huh? Around Remote Staff?
LANCE: Yeah. I mean, look, I like giving back. There’s so much to do. For me, I mean, I’m sort of…I’m in all different departments, trying add as much values as I can. We’re a very transparent company internally and externally. We’re a family-based company. You know, we’re very much a culture where we are a family, we help each other out. But, you know, it’s just that when you’re a small company…we’re still a small company in relative terms. We’re a large company in our numbers and our age, but our mentality is still that scrapper’s data. We haven’t grown to that sort of mannered-size company where every thing’s slowed down, you know? We’re very agile. We move very quickly, we deploy the latest technologies when it comes to digital marketing and ideas. Our culture’s very young. I think the average age is about 26, or something here. So we have seniors, obviously. All the managers. You know, it’s a very young culture. And we really believe that we can add a lot of value. It’s really about value that we are about in Remote Staff. It’s not about “Oh, we’ve been here long so they trust us” No, no. It’s never about us. We always say test us. Test us first, see if we can deliver, then we want your trust. If we haven’t, we’re very sorry. That’s never our intention. But we did our best. But give us a go, that’s all we ask for.
LOUIE: Thank you Lance for today, I think we should start start to finish of this podcast. And, is there anything else you’d like to add? Like, a website they could visit, or your email address that you could share where we can send you a message if they want to start their outsourcing business.
LANCE: Yeah. Well you can catch me, us, or any of us. Not just me. I mean, really, my whole team is available in chat on our website. So just go to www.remotestaff.com.au. If you go at the bottom right corner, there’s a chatbox there. You can start chatting to us. Actually, that, would you believe? Even if it’s only available to a small corner of the website. That’s like our intel chat system that rings on every desktop. So someone will pick it up and have a chat with you. Or you can reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you can give us a call at our numbers, which are published on our websites. So there’s many ways to reach out. We’d love to hear from you. Please get in touch. Even if you’re not ready now, and you just want to have a chat. Have a banter with me or my team. Happy to help, you know? We’re happy to sort of help in any way we can.
LOUIE: Thank you again, Lance Harvie, International Recruiter and CEO of Remote Staff. Thank you for your time today. And everyone, thanks for listening and watch out for our next podcast soon. Until then, be safe!
LANCE: Thanks very much, Louie. All the best! Cheers!