Successful offshoring goes beyond having virtual staff in an overseas office, but rather connecting global talents to facilitate efficiencies as if they are physically part of the team.
Here at The Back Room in the Philippines, when clients visit our Clark office to personally meet their team, it is a significant step in reducing the barriers between seas. And for the year 2019, the Moore-Stephens-Markhams Philippines team have been quite lucky to have one of their representatives spend a week with us in Clark, starting on the very first working day of the new year.
Connecting with the offshore team
Khadijah Milnthorp, client manager at the Markhams' New Zealand office in Christchurch, has always been a hands-on mentor to the Philippines team, conducting regular weekly catch ups, training and workflow meetings to make sure that everything runs smoothly between the two offices.
With her planned visit to the Philippines announced since last year, every member of our Markhams' Philippines team has been so excited to personally meet her.
“It was a fun experience to be able to spend some time with our client since we usually just see and talk with them through Skype. It was easier to talk with her physically than through Skype since we can easily relay our concerns or queries with her,” says Kimverly, intermediate accountant of the Markhams team and one of the pioneer team members.
“We appreciate how they put effort and invest time just for us to learn more about the jobs that we do,” added JD, junior accountant, and also a pioneer member of the team.
Khadijah spent five days with the team conducting training, assessments and ‘getting-to-know’ sessions with each of the staff to make the offshoring experience more personal to both the Philippines and New Zealand team.
According to Khadijah, her goal during her first visit to the Clark office was to “connect with the team in Clark, provide support and training and to find out how we can do things better.”
Learning, growing and improving
“The team is bright and positive, always eager to learn and take feedback constructively,” said Khadijah, expressing her great admiration on how such a group of very young talents handle the learning process to the heart. “I hope to improve and simplify our current processes, which I believe are crucial to enable the team to work more effectively and efficiently,” she added.
Alden, Markhams’ team leader for the Clark team, has found the client visit to be critical and extremely beneficial. “The training as a whole was a big help on our assigned jobs. We have learned a lot, and the training has given us more understanding and appreciation on the tasks being given. We were able to exchange ideas, ask questions and raise our concerns with her (Khadijah).”
“I have experienced one on one training with the manager/client, and I really appreciate the effort and time she gave while she trained me. I have learned a lot from the training, and it made me understand my responsibility and role as an accountant,” commented Patrick, who is the youngest among the staff members of the team.
“My client is giving me a lot of opportunities to grow and explore the other areas of accounting in which I have not experienced from my previous employers. This company is not limiting the employees based on their abilities – it’s helping the employees to grow and mature professionally,” he added.
But of course, the visit also went beyond the technical. Aside from making sure that the Philippines staff are aligned to how the Markhams New Zealand team are doing things, it has also been a good time for all of us to get to know each other.
“The training is memorable but having chitchats with the client during lunch is the most unforgettable, because that's the time we got to know Khadijah more as she shared her experiences as an accountant which is really motivational,” says Christine, junior accountant and pioneer member of the Markhams Philippines team.
The team has had good laughs during lunch breaks which sparked another level of camaraderie between the team and their manager. “The most memorable moments of her visit, for me, are those times when we eat our lunch. We were able to get to know each other personally and talk about things other than work. I believe it created a bond between the whole team,” said Kimverly.
“I gave Khadijah some tips and a list of do’s and don’ts during her stay here in the Philippines. She even had her hair treatment with the salon that I suggested!” said Patrick, of which Khadijah has also gladly shared.
“The welcome from the team will be the most memorable thing for me. We’ve also had a few good laughs during our training sessions and I enjoyed the one on one time that I had with each team member,” said Khadijah.
Khadijah also noted some good observations about the facility where the Clark team is situated. “The team occupies an office in a modern, secure building in an area which is served with a complimentary bus that comes every 15 minutes. The team has a Starbucks café, a minimart and a restaurant downstairs. Amazing! What more can you ask for?”
Working as an offshoring model may not be as easy as it looks, but maintaining the right mix of talents, communication, technology and a personal connection between team members in the Philippines and New Zealand, takes the offshoring relationship to the next level.