Virtual staffing (Image: SuccessDigest)
You may have come across the term virtual staffing or outsourcing before but if you haven’t then you need not worry because by the end of this piece you’ll have all the information you require to determine whether virtual staffing is the right solution for your business.
Essentially, the term virtual staffing is broadly associated with outsourcing, which is simply a process by which companies either contract individuals or agencies in order to meet their business objectives. Contrary to some myths perpetuated by the industry’s critics, virtual staffing tends to actually begin when organisations understand their unique competitive advantage and gain insight into the areas of their offering that others can perform better. For example, if a company’s core competencies are in product design or development, it is sensible that it seeks expert resources to meet its non-core competencies from those individuals or agencies that are more specialised in those areas in order to achieve optimal efficiency outcomes. In short, it is getting the best talent wherever it may be located even if it means outsourcing.
Virtual Staffing Varieties
Most businesses today currently use some form of outsourcing at some point in their value chain. Technology has advanced the virtual staffing process and we have to remember that these developments have been largely driven by consumer and investor needs. For instance, most manufacturers today outsource significant portions of the components of their finished products. Similarly in the service industry, businesses now regularly make use of virtual staffing to run their back office operations from customer service, HR, accounting to technical functions.
Virtual staffing can be classified according to location. As far as the different kinds of companies, their operation can be identified by three main areas of activities:
- Local staffing – applies to companies whose operations are restricted to the local market in terms of their labour requirements.
- Offshore staffing – refers to instances where businesses tend to seek expertise outside their national borders in order to access the specialisedlabour which may not be easily available locally.
- Nearshore staffing – refers to strategic outsourcing to areas which share commonalities such as language and these tend to be within the creative industries where communication is key to the success of undertakings.
Furthermore, virtual staffing can split into two categories. These are Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) and Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO). Some of the main differences between the two include:
This implies outsourcing particular process tasks for instance customer service or payroll. The nature of the work is typically front office or back office related. This includes tasks such as technical support and customer orientated work like marketing. Other types of activities that are associated with business process outsourcing include virtual staffing for data entry services, writing, typesetting, or transcription services, bookkeeping, multimedia and design related jobs.
Knowledge Process Outsourcing on the other hand typically requires much more virtual staff involvement in tasks. Companies seeking to employ advanced levels of research, analytical and technical skills such as those sought after in research and development work, legal services, intellectual property research, architectural and industrial design, just to name a few. There tends to be higher engagement and advanced sourcing negotiations associated with KPO work.
Finding The Right Talent
The great thing about virtual staffing is that there are higher chances of finding the right talent because of increased availability when looking beyond borders. If your hiring is restricted to the local market then there are also chances that companies can miss out on a better or more equipped labour force. To get access to a wider talent pool businesses have long been searching for the best candidates across borderlines. Due to the competitive nature of many industries it’s no longer adequate for businesses to use local resources only for the simple fact of keeping things local. Today, with many businesses now part of the digital economy, entrepreneurs are waking to the fact that to be successful, utilizing the appropriate online tools is key.
The pressure to deliver the best quality in order to maintain competitive advantage has never been greater so businesses are using the convenience of technology to locate the best talent. Often it is as simple as registering a business on internet platforms, advertising the positions and providing the necessary jobs specifications and then drawing workers from all over the globe to your offer and doing the necessary assessments and due diligence and actually getting projects underway is a very short space of time. That is the power of social networks today. However, it’s sometimes better for companies to find the right virtual staffing partners who are reliable and have the reputation and proof to back up their claims and let them handle the recruiting.
There are also a number of trusted online platforms which help connect clients and virtual staff including online sites such as Upwork and BidModo.
Why Virtual Staffing Might Be Ideal for Your Business
There are numerous reasons why so many companies are turning to virtual staffing services. Some of the benefits of outsourcing include:
- Greater access to a highly skilled workforce.
- Increased flexibility allowing businesses to hire according to their business requirements.
- Virtual employees tend to be happier workers because increasingly more people want greater employment flexibility to allow them to work as and when it suits them.
- Higher scalability because companies do not need to rent or buy larger office or industrial space in order to carry out their business functions and this also strengthens business balance sheets since there are less operational costs.
- There is increased efficiency because tasks can be outsourced to workers in different time zones allowing companies to operate on a 24/7 basis.
How to Get Started
It’s actually not complicated to find the right virtual staffing solutions and start benefiting your business. What companies need to do is find a reliable virtual staff provider, outline their specific requirements, provide detailed project briefs and preferred candidate profiles and set up a system for quality checking the virtual staffing services and literally start giving the green light on projects and achieve the desired business objectives.
There are several reliable freelance sites where you can get skilled labour to meet your virtual staffing needs. There are a variety of expertise you can outsource to Upwork, Fever and such virtual staffing sites including design, writing, marketing, and administrative tasks. Another reputable site is Toptal where businesses can find quality virtual staff to execute tasks that are particularly tech related. It’s well known for having great clients from some of the biggest corporations in the world. Other sites like Freelancer are also good for outsourcing jobs quickly. A new wave of outsourcing is also emerging with the likes of TaskRabbit and AirTasker which are platforms where you can virtually find people to do almost any type of job fast and efficiently. There is also the potential to network with freelancers and virtual staff who are willing to work remotely through platforms such as LinkedIn,Behance, 99 Designs and PeoplePerHour.
Written by: Heath Muchena, author of The Digital Economy Survival Toolkit, a book that highlights why being online is important for startups and small businesses and The Digital Entrepreneur Manual, a comprehensive list of descriptive links to free resources, tools, platforms and apps that you need to set up an income generating business on the internet.
Journey Wellness, an AI-Enabled, Personalised Healthcare Platform Launches in South Africa
Journey Wellness Co-Founders, Dr. Jacques Ludik and Laura Wayburne (Image: Nomsa Mdhluli)
Journey Wellness, an AI-Enabled, Personalised Healthcare Platform set to Revolutionize Wellness & Healthcare in South Africa. The Platform will transform business employee benefits and medical schemes’ approach to offering wellness for employees and medical aid members.
A revolutionary new approach to offering Ultra-Personalised, Artificial Intelligence-Enabled Healthcare from tech-trendsetting company Cortex Logic is set to transform the way medical aid schemes, consumers and corporates offering employee benefits as part of their EAP (Employee Assistance Programmes) view their current healthcare offering.
The Journey Wellness platform is perfectly timed to coincide with the current global shift in Healthcare, as the focus moves from a disease-management model to one that encourages optimum health and disease-avoidance, targeting younger as well as existing members with a holistic, pro-active offering.
Corporates and medical schemes are realising that they need to offer their employees and members wellness and EAP benefits that move beyond expensive, reactive, chemical care to cost-effective, proactive preventative primary care.
“Globally, an ever-increasing portion of healthcare spend and focus is shifting to promote wellness and wellbeing, rather than responding to illness,” says Lara Wayburne, a respected Healthcare Actuary consulting to Cortex Logic and part of the development team of the Journey Wellness Platform.
“Healthcare analysts predict that over the coming decade the focus on wellness and wellbeing can reduce overall healthcare costs by as much as 30%.”
“Journey Wellness enables that future by empowering and engaging consumers to better understand the drivers that impact their health and therefore be more actively involved in managing their own health. By doing so, the Journey Wellness ecosystem encourages positive health seeking behaviour, promoting better physical and mental health,” says Wayburne.
The driving force behind Journey Wellness, Dr Jacques Ludik, Founder and CEO of Cortex Logic, who has also recently written a book called ‘Democratizing Artificial Intelligence to Benefit Everyone’, says that the Journey Wellness platform will provide more healthcare, to more people, faster.
“Essentially, Journey is a cost-effective, pro-active, personalised and engaged AI health companion that will improve health outcomes for everyone involved – the medical scheme provider, employers, employees, healthcare providers and ultimately the end-user consumer who will benefit from personalised, proactive healthcare with the added benefits of cost savings all-round,” says Dr Ludik.
Journey Wellness offers a number of benefits for Medical Schemes, Corporates and End-Users:
Employer Groups and Medical Scheme providers will benefit from the cost savings inherent in moving from expensive, reactive, chemical care to cost-effective, proactive preventative primary care for their members and employees. This will result in increased productivity, increased employee engagement, reduced absenteeism and cost-savings to all involved.
Healthcare Providers will benefit from having a 360-degree view of their patients that will improve wellness proactively without costly chemical intervention, usually at the reactive stage and will also empower patients with continuous self-care.
And, Consumers will benefit from a Holistic Wellness Solution and the reduced need for expensive healthcare options, improved wellbeing, rewards for engagement and ultimately having a personalised wellness coach on hand at all times to help them understand their health status and associated risks and better manage their health and improve quality of life.
“Overall, it’s a win-win scenario in which technology, data and analytics foster a collaborative and progressive healthcare environment, creating an ecosystem for improved wellbeing one step at a time that benefits everyone,” says Wayburne.
Journey Wellness has also made an exciting announcement around making the Platform’s Mental Health Module available for free to users from 1 September 2021.
“We realise that the current state of affairs globally, and in South Africa in particular, with pandemic lockdowns and economic uncertainty foremost on our minds, places an enormous amount of pressure on people. So, we’re offering free access to our Mental Health Module to users, where they can access an AI-enabled mental health companion 24/7,” says Dr Ludik.
The Journey Wellness Demo Platform for Corporate Employers and Medical Schemes is available at , and for Consumers, the User App is available as a free download for Android and iOS devices at Google Play and App Store. Medical schemes and Employers looking to offer Journey Wellness to their members can interact directly with Journey Wellness by requesting a demo via the website.
Chaka secures $1.5M pre-seed round to power digital investments and wealth management opportunities across Africa
Chaka CEO, Tosin Osibodu at a press briefing (Image & Press Release: Chaka)
Chaka is thrilled to announce its $1.5M pre-seed funding round led by Breyer Capital, a global venture firm focused on catalyzing growth in high-impact companies like Spotify, Facebook, and now, Chaka. Other participants in the round are 4DX Ventures, Golden Palm Investments, Future Africa, Seedstars, and Musha Ventures.
Chaka is a technology solutions company on a mission to enable every business and person in Africa to access borderless digital investment and wealth management opportunities. The team combines investment expertise and best-in-class technology to provide reliable digital Investing, trading and wealth management solutions that are easy-to-use and easy-to-integrate.
Their mission is to enable digital border-less investing for African businesses and individuals. They’re powering the digital investment landscape in Africa through partnerships with asset managers, financial technology firms, and regulators with whom we have a shared mission. We achieve this by providing trading solutions that are easy to use and easy to integrate.
With this capital, they will focus on the goals to build a roster of formidable partners and accelerate expansion to other markets within West Africa. This investment also enables them to hire top talent and integrate more advanced functionalities into our investment and wealth management solutions.
Jim Breyer, CEO of Breyer Capital, shared his view on this investment and it illustrates their shared vision: “We are proud to align ourselves with a company that is leveling the investment playing field for Nigerians (and Africans at large). We’re confident in the value Chaka provides through its digital tools, and we look forward to playing our part in supporting Tosin, Bo, Olaolu, and the Chaka team.”
This is a significant milestone for Chaka and could not have come this far without their users, partners, early investors, and a talented, achieving team of Champions.
They see digital investments as a means to boost economic transformation in Africa, and we’re very keen to bring this vision to life.
Emmanuel Penneh set to lead the Ghanaian team that will re-assemble the first Nissan Navara made in Ghana
Emmanuel Penneh (Image: Lusawovana Pius- edelman)
Emmanuel Penneh arrived back in Accra this week, ready to start the next phase of a journey that’s taken three years so far and still has an intensive eight months to run. On Thursday 3 June 2021, the married 44-year-old father of three graduated with his team of 11 Ghanaians from an intense eight-week course at Nissan South Africa’s Rosslyn manufacturing plant outside Pretoria. That was just the first step for them. Now the hard work begins, getting Ghana’s brand-new Nissan assembly plant in Tema, outside Accra, ready to begin re-assembling the first ever Nissan Navaras to be built in Africa early in the New Year.
The graduation is a critical milestone in a process that began back in 2018 with the signing of the landmark Memorandum of Understanding between Nissan and the Government of Ghana, followed by the drafting and promulgation of Ghana’s automotive development policy the following year and then the appointment of Japan Motors Trading Company (JMTC), as Nissan’s preferred partner last year to ensure that the new facility will be 100% Ghana owned and run.
Penneh is up for the challenge. Speaking at the special graduation ceremony held at the Rosslyn, SKD plant, he said he and his team were proud and honoured, excited and delighted. “This is a historic evolution for Nissan Ghana, Nissan South Africa and Nissan worldwide. This is the plant where the Nissan Navara is being made for the first time in Africa, by Africans for Africa, now we are going home to re-assemble the first Navara made in Ghana for Ghana by Ghanaians!”
Penneh will be the plant manager. It’s a feather in the cap for the 10-year JMTC veteran. Before being approached to lead the team, Penneh was service co-ordinator for the group’s aftersales operations, overseeing five workshops across Ghana. He’s been in the automotive industry for 14 years, with four years at Man Truck Ghana before he joined JMTC.
“It’s exciting,” he says, “it gives a new dimension to my career. After concentrating on the after sales aspect, I’m now coming into the industry that actually builds the vehicles.”
The eight-week training that the team underwent in South Africa had been gruelling, he said, they had no idea what to expect. “It was challenging coming fresh into this industry and discovering so many processes and rules and mastering them, but it’s been exciting.”
He’s exceptionally proud of the team he led to South Africa and the way they’ve conducted themselves. “This (the creation of a Nissan assembly plant in Ghana) is going to be a game changer for ourselves, but also for our country, creating jobs, upskilling people and creating opportunities for local brand ownership.”