Bryan Lockyer – Key components of building a strong company culture
Last updated August 14, 2019
We have Bryan Lockyer back with us. We deep dive into Direct Sourcing Solutions and we learn about the importance of having a strong company culture, and other aspects of running a successful outsourced team in the Philippines.
Derek Gallimore: Welcome to the Outsource Accelerator podcast. This is a short format podcast where we explore business and outsourcing mastery. My name is Derek Gallimore and I am really excited to bring you the leading podcast in outsourcing.
Derek Gallimore: Hi and welcome back everybody. This is episode number 248. So today I have Bryan Lockyer back with us. We first interviewed him in episode 241 if you want to go back and listen to a bit of his back story and his 12 year experience with working in the Philippines. So today I’ve got him back so we can deep dive into Direct Sourcing Solutions, which is his outsourcing supplier here based in Clark in the Philippines, Clark is a satellite city just outside of Manila. he’s got a lot of really interesting insight because he’s, he’s been in business a long time and he’s been outsourcing or certainly involved in, Philippine resources and getting stuff done for the last 12 years. So we learn really interesting stuff about the importance of culture, and other aspects of running a really good ship here. So I learned a lot. I’m sure you will too. If you want any of the show notes, then go to outsourceaccelerator.com/248.
Derek Gallimore: Hi and welcome back . Today I’m joined by Bryan Lockyer again of Direct Sourcing Solutions. Hi Bryan. How are you doing?
Bryan Lockyer: I’m great, Derek.
Derek Gallimore: Good. You’re calling from New Zealand, which is great and you spend part of your time here in Clark. And just outside of Manila and I’m in Manila. so really good to speak to you. And you are the founder of Direct Sourcing Solutions or DSS and that is based in Clark. We previously heard about the kind of background of the industry. so I recommend that people go back and listen to that earlier episode, but it’s great to have you back and really want to dive into DSS and you know how it separates itself out from the other BPOs. So thank you so much for joining us. I suppose, and this episode isn’t infomercial, I don’t get any money from this, but, I find there’s a lot of value in really deep diving into people’s services, to give people insight into how these things have run and how they can benefit other people’s businesses. so I suppose if people haven’t listened to the previous episode, do you want to maybe just give you, give a quick intro into, who you are and how you got started in Clark?
Bryan Lockyer: Sure. Well, so we’re, we’re an outsourcing provider or BPO. we have offices in Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand, and they’re our main sales markets. Although we do have some clients in North America and in the UK. Primarily the delivery of those services is done from our Clark office where we’ve, we’ve grown fairly rapidly. in the last two and a half years, we’ve gone from literally zero to almost 300 now. in fact, I’ve just approved another thousand square meters of office space for extension for an office extension.
Derek Gallimore: Wow. Congratulations. Well done.
Bryan Lockyer: Yeah, it’s pretty fast growth. it’s, there are really a lot of opportunities out there and, as long as we can keep recruitment moving and our culture engine flowing, then, I think, we’re on target to hit 600- 800, a thousand without too much trouble at all.
Derek Gallimore: Wow. So let’s deep dive on that because you mentioned earlier that you’ve got obviously 300 staff, but you mentioned, just prior to this that you’ve got about 2% attrition or churn, which is super low for this industry, super Low for the Philippines and maybe also even the west. But, and culture is so important, isn’t it, about, how you get the best out of your people because it’s not just about what services you provide and whether you can get, the right people in the right seats. It’s about kind of creating a culture and getting people that stay in those roles so that they can get the roles done. But how do you perceive the key components of building a strong culture?
Bryan Lockyer: Yeah, look, culture is really important. as I said in the previous podcast, this is my third business in the Philippines. the business just preceding this, which I exited from. we didn’t do enough to focus on the culture and what we found is that as the business grew, the culture became extremely negative. and I never wanted to repeat that again. So as when we, right from the beginning of DSS, we focus very much on how we could balance. Obviously we have to be commercial and we have to deliver commercial results for our clients, but we also need to look after our staff. And as you pointed out, 2% is really low turnover for, for the market. I think you’d easily be looking at 20-25%. and I know it will rise a little bit over time, but I think the way we’ve focused that culture is by making sure that we’re very transparent internally with all of our procedures, policies and that we’re very, consistent across the board.
Bryan Lockyer: Another thing is we have a large number of events for client, for, for staff. So, there are social events, there are fun events, there are training, they all, they all receive training, opportunities. And, the way we, the way we compensate people, obviously there’s, there’s a fixed amount of compensation. There’s the benefits alongside that, but they all fit into bands where there are promotion opportunities. So we’re, we’re looking at how we can develop their careers and make sure that we don’t have people that feel like they’re stagnant has been doing exactly the same jobs for the last year or the last two years. And they need to move outside the organization to choose a new role.
Derek Gallimore: Right. And how does that all, and I suppose for the listeners, if you can explain the relationship between, the BPO, the direct employees, and then the clients and their relationship to those employees. I assume just you don’t to, to cut this off first. Yeah. Every, every client you have has dedicated staffing. Is that right? Or is it kind of a, a mixed pool for some of the, the activities?
Bryan Lockyer: I would say the majority of our clients have dedicated staffing, or a dedicated number of FTEs, full time equivalent. We handle the recruitment. clients can be involved in the recruitment process, but the resource needs to fit the requirements of DSS for us to go ahead and hire them. Because at the end of the day, no matter what the relationship is with the client, they’re still our employee and our responsibility. So, it’s a, it’s a good, it’s sort of like, we were both looking out for the best interests of the employee. we try and match the incentive or the package to our client’s expectations as well. and that can vary from country to country. But at the end of the day, our primary goal is to make sure we have happy staff. and happy staff will generate happy clients.
Derek Gallimore: Yeah, sure, sure. And as well, I think clients can come to you and then lean on you for your expertise in the recruitment process and the knowledge that they can then best serve the clients. because, if you don’t hire right then, then the whole thing is kinda gonna go wrong, isn’t it? So I, I do find it super valuable when there are BPOs and outsourcing suppliers that really concentrate heavily on the recruitment process and really try and nail that instead of just literally filling the seat with a bum and hoping that it works out kind of thing.
Bryan Lockyer: Absolutely. Well, the kind of products that we offer, I mean that we really do need to match the skills with the client’s requirements because now we’ll be delivering software or they’ll have, have a requirement for a certain accounting standard or accounting system, that we need to provide.
Derek Gallimore: And so what services do you provide then? Are you a full services BPO or what? do you have specialized verticals?
Bryan Lockyer: We focus on four very broad products. So the first one, and, although we would love these to be, equally spread out across the full products, about 75% of our resources are in technology delivery. so our first product is technology delivery. And that could be software development. It could be quality assurance, it could be, some testing, some design work, some database management, some infrastructure, remote of infrastructure support. So anything to do with technology delivery. we provide out of that team. Then we have, an accounting and payroll team that’s providing, non advisory accounting services. Typically a client would be an accounting firm in say Australia or New Zealand or in Hong Kong where we’re providing additional resources to them to serve their clients. And then, and payroll would be just the payroll administration for clients around the region.
Bryan Lockyer: The third area is administration or virtual assistants. and that’s really broad. That could be anything from a traditional sort of executive assistant that sits remote managing an executives travel and calendar through to doing recruitment support for recruitment agency where they’re formatting CVs and contacting candidates and taking reference etc. to doing mortgage broker administration, filling forms, following up on, on approvals and things like that. So it’s really broad. and the fourth area is around what we call market insights, which is really sales and lead generation. So it’s the research campaigning, outbound calling and appointment setting for clients. And we do that, quite extensively in North America as well as Australia and New Zealand and in Asia, English speaking Asia.
Derek Gallimore: Yeah, it’s pretty, pretty broad, isn’t it? I’m pretty comprehensive. And how does it all clicking together then? If it’s dedicated staffing and, this is how maybe clients get a little bit, unclear. Can they just plug into any of those services? Can they pick and choose or do they have to get sort of dedicated resources at minimum hours per week? with the software, for example, can they, get project type work done or is it for ongoing activities? how would you advise a client that might have a series of multiple different needs?
Bryan Lockyer: So we definitely run teams, but what you call say, a bench of resources across a number of areas. And that’s, that’s primarily so we can support our own internal needs. So we have what we call Dev ops, which is a, broad skillset development and technology team. We have virtual assistants. We can offer run a pool or part time basis, but it’s not really the way in which we operate. I mean, what would typically be the case as a client may take a dedicated team and that could be, 5 to 10 to 15 people, but they might need some, they might need some graphic design work or some administration work done on an ad hoc basis. And we could definitely factor that in. But it’s unlikely we would take on a client that just wants a few hours here in a few hours. Again, with no dedicated commitment because, not, not that we’re being too picky, it’s just that if the labor laws in the Philippines require us to employ these people on a full time basis. And so we need to make sure that we have, relatively longterm work commitments for them.
Derek Gallimore: Yeah. And again, it’s realizing it’s tying this work back to humans. these are people they’re interested in their career and their, their opportunities as well. So the short, the short roles don’t work as well. And also, it’s trying to remind people that you really get the best work done once people are kind of three to six months into a role once they’re properly onboarded, once they’re on board with the vision and values of the company. And that’s really when someone really starts kind of producing fantastic staff. Yeah. And it’s no different within an outsourcing environment really.
Bryan Lockyer: That’s true and we do have a layer that sits across the top of the resources, which is what we call VPMO or virtual project management office. And that resource layer is something that is normally on a shared or part time basis where they’re actually doing. depending on the type of work they’re doing, they might be the agile scrum master. They might just be the account delivery person, but they would be overseeing the work that’s done by the resources and making sure that there’s a good handover in case there is any change of staff or if there’s a ramp up period where, where more resources are required. We’ve got some people that understand that account ready to go.
Derek Gallimore: Yeah, absolutely. And that’s the value of going with an outsourcing supplier, isn’t it? Because they have your, it’s not just getting people to execute a job, it’s about having your oversight, your expertise, your experience within the industry, which helps guide these projects to success. and then there’s also the redundancy if things go wrong and the recruitment support and everything. And how does it work? What does pricing, can you, can you give an insight into pricing? Just a structure? Is it, is it kind of a salary based thing or an all in cost?
Bryan Lockyer: Typically we work on an all in cost basis. I’m going to be very broad, but we are very transparent with prospective clients about the pricing. But what the last thing, and again this kind of comes back to my experience in this industry, the last thing you want is to think that you’re paying x and then every month is x plus y plus z and you didn’t realize that you’re going to have to pay these additional costs. So what we factor into our pricing as we factor into our pricing fee, all of the employment costs for the resource, which in the Philippines is, it’s a significant amount above what you would say is their monthly salary, is their 13th month, It’s their statutory benefits, It’s their HMO or their private medical insurance that all of our staff are covered with.
Bryan Lockyer: Then we, we apportion the office overheads and that includes the electricity, the office space, the rent, etc. and the technology costs for that resource. So all of our resources, when they get engaged by a client. we, we have, they have a brand new PC. They have all of that technology costs covered into their, monthly cost. And, so, so that’s what really forms the basis of the costs. So the variable amount of that cost really is the, is the salary requirements of the resource. And that’s the bit that’s difficult to be exact on, without understanding what the client requirement is.
Derek Gallimore: Yeah. And it’s sometimes a bit of a shock to people, isn’t it? Because they see all these costs loaded on top, and when you employ anyone or, even contractors, there’s a lot of intangible costs. There’s a lot of invisible costs that get added to just the basic salary of, of anyone sitting anywhere in the world. But with the, with outsourcing suppliers, at least it’s then all itemized is put on paper. There’s no surprises. but I think sometimes people are just a little bit surprised at what all of these additional costs. Yeah. But it’s just the nature of employment isn’t it? Is this significant overheads in terms of getting anyone on board over and above the basic salary?
Bryan Lockyer: That’s right. And it’s a country that is very heavily employee benefit focus. So, we want to make sure that we stay compliant in every way and that our resources are happy with the compensation.
Derek Gallimore: Absolutely. No, that’s amazing. Thank you Bryan. And if of course, if anyone wants to get in touch with you, how can they, do that? And if anyone wants to learn more about Direct Sourcing Solutions,
Bryan Lockyer: We’ve got a lot of information on our website, including some cost comparison calculators. and the website is dss.asia or if you wanna talk to me directly, it’s just Bryan@dss.asia.
Derek Gallimore: Amazing. Thanks so much Bryan. Thanks for your time.
Bryan Lockyer: That was Bryan Lockyer of Direct Sourcing Solutions. If you want to get in touch with Bryan or know any more about this episode, go to our show notes, which is at outsourceaccelerator.com/248. And as always, if you want to ask us anything, then just drop us an email to email@example.com see you next time.