Ksenia Fedotova – Home-based remote outsourcing
Last updated August 28, 2019
I’m joined again by Ksenia Fedotova of Hopla online. They are an outsourcing supplier here in the Philippines but specialize in outsourcing professionals that are home-based. There is a big distinction there between home-based professionals and the Upwork and freelancers of the world, which we’re going to dive into and explore today in this conversation.
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 to another episode of the Outsource Accelerator podcast. My name is Derek Gallimore and this is episode number 244. Today I’m joined again by Ksenia Fedotova of Hopla online. They are outsourcing supplier here in the Philippines, but specialize in outsourcing professionals that are home based. Okay. There is a big distinction there between home based professionals and the Upwork and freelancers of the world, which we’re going to dive into and explore today in this conversation. So I actually previously spoke to Ksenia, in episode 238 so if you want her own backstory in a broader conversation about outsourcing, then go back and listen to that. But I had a really interesting conversation with her and we learned more about Hopla and their value proposition for clients in the west, like you. So, enjoy. And if you want any of the show notes then go to outsourceaccelerator.com/244.
Derek Gallimore: Hi and welcome back everybody. Today I’m joined by Ksenia Fedotova of Hopla online. Hi Ksenia, how are you?
Ksenia Fedotova: Hi Derek. Great to be here.
Derek Gallimore: Yeah, thank you. And again, of course, thanks for coming back because we spoke to you in a previous episode. So, just to recap, you are the Chief officer of HR and recruitment for Hopla online, which is a, outsourcing supplier here in the Philippines, but specializing in a remote home-based but professionalized staffing solutions. so yeah, thanks very much for joining us in this episode. We just really want to drill into Hopla and its value proposition for, business people. Now this isn’t an infomercial. I just see immense value in really seeing these organizations from the inside and talking to the leaders of these organizations. so again, thank you for your time and because you can do it so much better than I, would you mind just briefly introducing yourself?
Ksenia Fedotova: Yeah. So, my name is Ksenia, chief of HR and recruitment of Hopla online. And, basically I’m in charge of finding the best talent for our customers and build help them to build their right workflows to make a their remote journey comfortable, safe, and a very, very productive.
Derek Gallimore: Amazing. So, you know, we spoken to previous episode and, and people should go back and listen to that. In terms of your involvement with, obviously the corporate world initially and then into a remote working and now with hopper and I suppose, you know, where do you see the value add in terms of a home based professionals? and specifically with for business people in the West when they have the opportunity of accessing them from the Philippines?
Ksenia Fedotova: Yeah, so a we crazy to hope left for businesses, mostly small and medium ones who I would say already outgrown the freelancing model though they are looking for more dedicated people who could work for them on a full time or part time basis. so usually they are looking for cost effective and productive solution at the same. They want to, they really don’t want to be limited by one location and they just want to find a professional that would fit their environment the best and would drive the growth of their business as well. So yeah, this is one Hopla step seen and helps out.
Derek Gallimore: Cool. Fantastic. So obviously Outsourced Accelerator, we you know, covered the entire outsourcing market pretty much except for freelancers, project based work. And you know, I think pretty much Upwork and freelancer has all that covered. The reason why we don’t really involve ourselves in Upwork and freelancers is because of the, the reliability, the professionalism of those, the freelancing community. And I think all too often you get people, saying, you know, I’ve tried outsourcing and it really didn’t work. And when you dig deeper it was more a, you know, kind of part time person, to do a little bit of design work and often people can get a little bit disappointed. So where do you see the, I suppose the delineation between the Upwork and freelancers of the world and Hopla?
Ksenia Fedotova: I think the main difference is, that we are, we are looking into longterm, longterm engagements. So every time our team member starts to work with a company, they, they are stay together, as long as they can. so as if you did, to give you a few examples, this can be a digital marketing person that works on the, strategy, on building a digital marketing. It could be both online and offline strategies and then works on its execution. So this is a constant work and it’s really important for every client that, the person that joins the team will understand the, the company calls or will understand that values will understand the tone of the language. And this is not something that can be done just on the hope on, hope, one hope of one month project. This is something that needs to be long term and that’s kind of, the kind of profiles we are working with.
Derek Gallimore: Cool. Cool. And is you know, I, do I speak to a lot of different people and, and even academics that talk about the future of employment. And there’s some hypothesis that the fundamental nature of employment will change. Like everything’s going to be project based, everything that’s going to be sort of almost computer automated, but really I don’t think it’s going to be a long time before humanity changes and the way that people work. And there’s an aspect of onboarding people. There’s a need to get people, sort of tuned into the culture and the mission of the company. and I think that’s what people forget when they start outsourcing or using remote workers. A lot of those fundamentals still hold true. Like it’s, it’s important to onboard people. It’s important for them to share your mission and values. and then of course allow time for them to, to train up and upskill up to the role that you require.
Ksenia Fedotova: Yes, exactly. And this is also what we are really striving to help with, to each client that comes to us. We provide not only just employee person that they, they that they can work with, but we also onboard them both on our work environment, on our, remote work values. and kind of rules. We help them to set the workflow to make sure that this remote, remote experience, remote journey is really comfortable for them. I spoke with many clients who had negative experience working with the, sometimes with freelancers, sometimes with the kind of, uh,assistant agencies and always the main problem was, was not even the, the talents and that the problem was that, it was really hard to manage their communication or task setting. And, if we’re speaking about, working remotely, this is something that definitely grows, grows dramatically.
Ksenia Fedotova: This in the past five years, there’s a lot of people working remotely. There is a lot of information about how to work remotely, but hiring remotely, this is an area that is just growing. And, for me, many people needs, additional preparation and guidance on how to, how to prepare for the call. With your first two remote team member want to mention how to set the task, how to develop your relationship in the first month. They says these are really important steps in a class setting, this a remote team for success in the future. And, yeah, this is something that we pay a lot of in Hopla.
Derek Gallimore: Yeah, it’s interesting, isn’t it? There’s, there’s a bit of a paradox, sorry. I get a lot of clients in the West saying, you know, how can we trust our employee in the Philippines? And, you know, I find more the issue is, you know, equally the employee in the Philippines is also thinking, how can I trust this boss? You know, how do I know that, that they’re going to invest in the future and that there is a, a longevity to this role? So it goes, it goes both ways, doesn’t it? And you know, also in terms of training, I find it quite amazing that people in the West. Okay. And just to generalize, but though they’ll spend time training someone locally and sitting down and taking them through processes, but then when they hire people remotely, they just expect people to, almost, you don’t like turnkey push a button and the job is being done, like almost like a, like a robot, you know. and so do you find that the need for training, for a new relationship for a new role is sitting more in the, the remote worker or do you find that you mentioned you’d spend more time with the, with the boss, with the client?
Ksenia Fedotova: this definitely depends on their previous experience of both of that. But, I would, I’m always splitting our time. I would say like 50, 50, 50% both requires attention. And, for us it’s really important to understand their previous experience that they had to, to make sure that both are ready to work together, to collaborate and both understands how to communicate correctly. Being remote work environment of course, yes. Here at depending on the time zone, even communication can be asynchronous and both needs to be comfortable asking questions per activity or sending information proactively so that the work he can, can be going around the clock. So there is a lot of small but so important elements in onboarding of both clients and and candidates, our team members and yeah, we really spending a lot of time also communicating during the first weeks, first months to make sure that both are comfortable, that everything is set at the, there is, there is no, ah, there is no challenges or questions that wasn’t addressed properly.
Derek Gallimore: And of course that is the benefit isn’t it, to having a professional services firm like yourselves is because you know, you’re really in the wild. if, if you work with someone remotely when there’s no structure around it and, you know, I try and, reiterate to people that the Philippines has 25 years of executive experience in outsourcing. and it’s that 25 years of executive, experience that they tap into when they use someone like Hopla to manage the outsourcing relationship. And again, it’s you, you know, who has a, a strong professional career in HR and recruitment and these are the things that, that help the outsourcing relationships succeed.
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Ksenia Fedotova: Yes, yes, definitely. I, I w I would say also it’s really important for all the companies who are thinking about hiring remotely understand that there is absolutely no difference in hiring someone in house, or remotely because with a foreign technologies, you have access to everything. You can communicate, you can chat directly, you can jump on the call and have a face to face meetings, you can collaborate on the documents. There is so many tools that allows us to, to stay together even being thousands, thousands miles away from each other. So there is absolutely no difference in working, between staying in the office and being remotely. But it’s also important to remember that on boarding and all other, all the processes needs to be sat in that in a very similar way in terms of task manager, task setting, yeah, previous onboarding, communication and yeah. And other things as well.
Derek Gallimore: And then that’s, you know, again, where your experience in oversight is so valuable because it’s in essence a kind of project management isn’t it? And it’s getting your team members, disciplined to stick with project management and using them properly so that everything is visible every quarter to be monitored. and exactly work as then efficient. What are some of the processes that, you know, you’re experienced and that you find help increase productivity and transparency and efficiency?
Ksenia Fedotova: yeah. To give you a few examples, that could be a task setting. so when someone creates a creative task, it should be very clear. All lead formation needs to be attached there. so when someone else starts to work on this task, he or she will not have any obvious questions and will not need to, to wait, on the response or an additional clarifications. and other important in that important, lesson learned I would say is, that if question or response to the questions takes a more than two three minutes. Sometimes it’s easy just to jump on a quick call and discuss rather than to be typing for one hour between each other.
Derek Gallimore: Yeah, yeah, yeah, that’s true. Huh. And in terms of, now if the team expands, because obviously if there’s one remote worker within the team and that’s, that’s fine, but how do you sort of prevent a situation where if there’s 10 remote workers, then the boss or the, the client becomes like the hub and spoke. is it possible to create hierarchies within remote teams?
Ksenia Fedotova: yes, definitely. in case if the team is growing, we always have, options for, like a team lead or a project manager. So it’s going to be easier for, for the client to have a kind of flow, one point of contact with whom they can discuss all their, all the plans, all the tasks, what needs to be done and that this person asked spreads this task. So puts it, and the distance go down from this project manager to the team. definitely this is something that we recommend to all our customers who, who has a team of more than five people. So usually we recommend to have a ratio for one team lead per every five, 10 people. But even with the smaller teams, we have project managers who are handling the work with the, graphic designers, with video editors, kind of team members who join as a one of a small project to work on something. Definitely it’s really helpful to have a project manager or a team they hold handle, general team management.
Derek Gallimore: Yeah, for sure. I see a lot of people kind of fall down with outsourcing because they can often have, I don’t know, someone in the Philippines and someone doing something in India and then a coder in Poland and everything then comes back to the middle to that middle client, the person, and they just, they’re kind of exhausted and then one person leaves and then they have to recruit a new person and, and upskill and train them again. And you know, I think very early on you need to create the, the, the structure, the hierarchy so that not necessarily everything goes through the boss.
Ksenia Fedotova: Yes. That can be, yeah, that’s going to be really overwhelming sometimes because it consumes a lot of time and yeah, the, the, the, this additional point of contact is essential. And another benefit of having all these people working for you from a, for one company, from one place is that, you also have just a one, one set of tools that you are using. You have these one point of contact. You always have, compared to freelancing platforms. You always have someone from their management team to home, you can reach out if you have any concerns, quality of work or how was one of the team members. And if someone leaves, you also have a team of recruiters working for you to replace and find the best fit candidate.
Derek Gallimore: Sure, sure, sure. And so if people are interested, Ksenia and they haven’t done outsourcing before and they, they think that you guys are great, how do you suggest they start the process? Because it all feels a little bit scary, doesn’t it? What do you suggest the, the kind of initiation processes for people?
Ksenia Fedotova: A will is a, so just to start from the first call where we, where we will walk you through the model, through the way we work and also discuss the requirements and the ideas of the tasks that a client would like to pass to the remote team. And, well we like to do at Hopla. So we always come up with a suggestions because, yes, at times a client may come with one idea and we can offer more tailored solution that can work for them, much better. so it’s definitely important to discuss all the requirements, all the tasks that you want to, to pass to your email team. And then we’re gonna brainstorm and come up with a perfect fit for you.
Derek Gallimore: Cool. Fantastic. And is there any guide to pricing? Do you, is it like a, an all in one? and of course if people have two or three people, then I assume it’s just one payment at the end of the month. What, what’s, what’s the sort of pricing structure?
Ksenia Fedotova: Oh, we’ll work with the monthly packages. also to make it easier for you, you just have a monthly payments. We agreed on the day. We send you the invoice, you just take the button to pay the bill and then it’s done.
Derek Gallimore: Amazing. Thank you so much. And of course, if anyone wants to get in touch with you or learn more about poplar, how can I do?
Ksenia Fedotova: Yeah. If you want to get in touch with me, you can reach me by email, email@example.com or just connect with me on linkedin we’ll be happy to chat and help you to explore the world of for remote hiring.
Derek Gallimore: Amazing. Thank you so much.
Ksenia Fedotova: Thank you, Derek.
Derek Gallimore: Okay. That was Ksenia Fedotova, Hopla online. If you want to get in touch with Ksenia or Hopla or know anything else about the, what we discuss in the episode, go to outsourceaccelerator.com/244 and as always, if you want to ask us anything and just drop some email to firstname.lastname@example.org see you next time.