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Why Virtual Staffing is Important for Business Growth

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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:

BPO

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.

KPO

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.

Also Read: Chidi Nwaogu: Multi Award-Winning Entrepreneur Launches Global Fellowship Program for Aspiring And Early-Stage Entrepreneurs

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.

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Entertainment

TuneCore Launches Operations in Africa, Appoints Two Female Regional Executives

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TuneCore Jade Leaf and Chioma Onuchukwu

TuneCore, the leading digital music distribution and publishing administration company for independent artists, has launched operations in Africa. Jade Leaf has been hired as Head of TuneCore for Southern Africa and will share responsibility for key countries in East Africa with Chioma Onuchukwu, who has been hired as Head of TuneCore for West Africa. Both Leaf and Onuchukwu will report to Faryal Khan-Thompson, Vice President, International, TuneCore.

Onuchukwu will be based in Nigeria and oversee countries in West Africa including Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone and The Gambia. She will also look after Tanzania and Ethiopia in East Africa.  Leaf’s territory encompasses Southern Africa, including South Africa, where she will be based, as well as Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi and Lesotho. Leaf will also manage TuneCore operations in East African countries Kenya and Uganda.

Said Onuchukwu, “I am elated to be joining a renowned, independent music distribution powerhouse, especially in an incredible era for music creators in Africa at a time when we are gaining global recognition and increasing momentum. I look forward to collaborating with and supporting local artists.”

Before joining TuneCore, Onuchukwu was Marketing Manager at uduX Music, a music streaming platform in Nigeria. There she worked directly with popular African artists such as Davido, Yemi Alade, Patoranking, Kizz Daniel and more.

Commented Leaf, “I am incredibly excited to join the team in a time where the global conversation is around independence and ownership. TuneCore opens up a world of potential for independent artists at every level of their careers. Africa is home to a diverse range of artists who are seeking a reliable distribution service who understands their local needs and can ultimately give them the opportunity to turn their art into commercial success.”

Previously, Leaf worked at Africa’s largest Pay TV operator, Multichoice as the Marketing Manager for Youth & Music Channels, where she led brand re-imaging and marketing efforts for Music TV giant Channel O. Before that, she worked at Sony Music Entertainment Africa, focusing on African artists and content, as well as numerous marketing campaigns & projects for local and international artists.

There has been a meteoric rise in the uptake of streaming services in Africa, the growth has been attributed to several factors such as an increase in internet penetration via smartphones, the entrance of international and local streaming platforms in key territories and its youth population – More than 60% of African’s are under the age of 25.

In 2020, TuneCore saw an increase in music releases globally, with many African artists opting to use the DIY Distributor – DJ Spinall and Small Doctor in Nigeria, Spoegwolf in South Africa, Mpho Sebina in Botswana and Fena Gitu in Kenya to name a few.

Stated Khan-Thompson, “Africa is an extremely exciting music market with a lot of potential for growth. By hiring Jade and Chioma to lead our efforts, TuneCore is well positioned to maximize opportunities for independent artists across the continent. Both Chioma and Jade bring a wealth of experience and genuine interest in helping artists make their dreams come true. I couldn’t be more thrilled to have two incredible women representing the TuneCore brand in the continent”

TuneCore

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IFC Invest in Liquid Telecom Bond to Support Broadband Connectivity in Africa

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IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, invested in Thursday’s bond issued by a subsidiary of Liquid Telecommunications Holdings Ltd., which will allow the telecoms and technology solutions company to expand access to broadband Internet and digital and cloud services across Africa, further facilitating the growth of the continent’s digital economy.

Proceeds from the bond issued by Liquid Telecommunications Financing PLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Liquid Telecommunications Holdings Ltd, will enable the company to refinance existing debt and free up funds to expand its digital infrastructure network across Africa, including in markets with low broadband penetration.

By developing digital infrastructure, Liquid Telecommunications, Africa’s largest independent fiber, data center and cloud technology provider, aims to increase digital connectivity and inclusion in Africa and support the region’s growing digital ecosystem.

IFC played an anchor role and subscribed to 16 percent of the bond, equivalent to $100 million, which was listed on Euronext Dublin, Ireland’s main stock exchange, on February 25, 2021. The issuance raised $620 million.

Internet access in Africa relies largely on mobile networks, many of which are enabled by wholesale connectivity providers such as Liquid Telecommunications. Broadband penetration is low across the continent, with a mobile broadband penetration rate of 34 percent and fixed broadband penetration of less than five percent in most countries across sub-Saharan Africa, excluding South Africa.

“We are delighted that IFC has taken a significant anchor position in our new bond. In the countries in which we operate there are great opportunities to address under developed telecommunications and Internet access, as well as to accelerate the adoption of digital and Cloud-based services. Our refinance enables us to continue to invest in the African digital eco-system including driving penetration of digital and Cloud-based services to businesses who may not previously have had the resources to benefit from them, helping to bridge the connectivity divide, which is more crucial than ever in our current circumstances,” said Nic Rudnick, Liquid Telecom Group Chief Executive Officer.

“Our best chance at ensuring much-needed internet access for everyone in Africa, from large corporates and small businesses to individuals, is to invest in digital infrastructure. Our investment in the Liquid Telecom bond will help the company free up capital to further expand broadband access across Africa, laying a solid foundation for a faster, more resilient recovery,” said Stephanie von Friedeburg, Interim Managing Director and Executive Vice President, and Chief Operating Officer of IFC.

To support Africa’s digital economy, which could be worth $180 billion by 2025, IFC provides financing to mobile network operators, independent tower operators, data centers and broadband connectivity providers. IFC also provides capital to help entrepreneurs and innovative businesses grow and works with financial institutions and telecommunications companies to speed the adoption of digital payments and lending to expand financial inclusion.

Source IFC

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Diaspora investments: A must for the development of Africa

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Image Source: rupixen.com

It has been three years since his Excellency president Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana shared some controversial thoughts on Africa’s dependence on aid or support from Europe in a decades long effort to develop the continent.

He was applauded for his bold statement and stance, but many (especially people from the Ghanaian diaspora) thought they were only words. Words they had heard many times before, but without plans or actions backing them. This might be true from their perspective, yet for the current generation of descendants from those who have been sold into slavery, it was good to hear an African leader show some backbone.

“We can no longer continue to make policy for ourselves, in our country, in our region, in our continent based on whatever support that the western world or France, or the European Union can give us. It will not work. It has not worked, and it will not work”.

The Diaspora Is Linked To The Strength of Africa

President Nana Akufo-Addo’s views on European aid are commendable, even if we debate how much he will be able to back up his words with actions.

“The place of the Diaspora, the status of the people in the diaspora, of the African diaspora, is intimately linked with what happens on the continent. An Africa strong and performing, transforms your position, your status here in Europe”.

He was addressing diaspora members in France, but he could have been addressing all people of African descent worldwide. The fact is that his ability to back his words, not exclusively but to an important extent, is contingent on the support he as an African leader receives from the African diaspora.

Remittance Coming From The African Diaspora

As a member from the African diaspora, one might ask: “Are we not supporting enough?”

Ishmeal Lamptey (Source: unsplash.com)

According to the World Bank Sub Saharan Africa received an estimated 48 billion US dollars in remittance funds from the African diaspora in 2019.

A study by Comstock, Iannone, Bhatia published in March 2009 (yes, the phenomenon has been studied for some time now) shows most funds are spend on costs of sustenance (29%), medical costs (16%) and education (12%).

When looking at the order of precedence these costs take in relation to each other, we see that unforeseen costs come first, second are medical costs and the last are for education. This underlines what we all know. The fact that there is often a sense of emergency to these transfers.

The Need To Move From Remittance To Investment In Africa

So, to answer the question of the diaspora, if it is not doing enough…well no. Harsh isn’t it? The fact of the matter is that the remittance funds are our own version of aid to the continent. It is keeping our people our family from dying but it’s not helping with any development.

We, the African diaspora, need to make the transition from remittance to investment. Remittance will always be part of the financial flows, but when seen in relation with Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) from the diaspora, they shouldn’t dominate as they do at present.

Following the content of a few independent journalists, there is now ample proof that at least some in the diaspora are not only willing, but able to move to the continent and start new businesses. But this group is a very small minority. The vast majority will not be able to follow suit and we should not want them to.

The revenues of the use of their human capital is needed to generate the investment flows Africa needs. The challenge Sub Saharan Africa faces is that of aggregation of available funds originating from the diaspora. The funds are clearly there, the industries which need them for we’ve identified, but now we need to create a robust infrastructure to aggregate and get them to their destination.

Like we pointed out in our previous article about thinking sufficiently big; while we keep our eyes on the end goal, we might need to start building one stone at a time. From individual projects, to industries, to the whole economy.

When doing so, we need to keep in mind that Africa is a unique environment. The common instruments of capital allocation used in the world should certainly be our starting point, but not limit our imagination when pooling the diaspora funds and channeling them into the continent.

As we have admonished a few times now; Africa should think BIG. And that also applies to its diaspora. In the coming articles we will continue exploring the idea of “thinking big” in the African context. So please make sure to subscribe to our Newsletter. We invite you to share your thoughts with us on the matter and get a discussion going with us and our other readers.

Article By: Jerrol Cambiel, Chief Executive EU Operations Debnoch Capital

 

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