Glad to be back at it this morning.
Although I’m actually getting to the point of writing a little later than planned.
It’s 620am and whilst none of the UK/USA team are awake/working (it’s 01.23 am EDT) – it’s 1324 in the Philippines and 1054 in India.
This means that by the time the UK checks in at 9 am, the official start of most business hours… the Filipino and Indian teams are already away and working.
It’s actually the same for the Ugandan-based PR team.
They’re 2-3 hours ahead of the UK.
Furthermore, you can find highly skilled individuals from all of these countries (naturally) – and if your clients are typically in Europe and North America – it gives you a massive jump start on the day.
Let’s get into this even further –
In the Philippines, India, and Uganda – it’s quite common to work with a European and North American client. This means that the working hours tend to be somewhat longer than the standard office hours in the UK.
Practically that means all the way up to 4 pm UK we’ll still have their teams getting things done.
This is on the basis of having a 9-5 workforce.
However, if you modulate the working hours of different parts of your teams (e.g I have some who start at 6 am UK, others who start later), and have flexible hours…
It means in practice that someone somewhere is always working.
Furthermore, the living costs are lower as are the salaries comparatively. Now if you focus on those who can work from home in each of these countries – you can drive the salary rates lower still.
Much like in the UK – if (for example) I hired someone from a small village in Cornwall, or a remote part of the country then they just don’t have the same salary requirements as someone living in central London.
When you combine all of this together….
If you’re running any kind of business that has Western-facing clients (like Pearl Lemon does) – both you AND your clients face a massive tactical advantage.
For example –
Reports get generated more quickly.
Outreach at scale happens more quickly.
Response times are quicker.
Our ‘bodies/people per project’ is higher.
We have roles specifically for ‘innovation/r&d, reporting’ – and things that are often shared/not attended to when you focus simply upon UK/USA resources.
Since I’ve made more of an aggressive shift towards hiring in the Philippines and India…much like anywhere – you also begin to find your ‘rockstars’ as well.
These are folks who outperform / land in the top 10% of your team – regardless of where anyone is from.
This is why now – I look towards the Philippines and India first when it comes to hiring.
Account management, sales, content, and alot of strategy happens in ‘the West’ – and operations, processes, and implementation happens in the East. But the ‘West’ bucket is slowly getting chewed into by the East as well – it’s just the statistical outcome of hiring more heavily in the East.
The work ethic, attitude, and ability to take direct feedback from someone in the East is much stronger typically than in the West as well.
For someone in India or the Philippines – working with a company based in London carries a certain amount of prestige and security than working with a company somewhere else does as well.
This is also Pearl Lemon’s broad advantage – that we’re a London based company (as it’s where I’m from lol).
It makes hiring that much easier and allows us to set the bar high when it comes to finding excellent candidates.
The implication many naysayers will have is that ‘the candidates are just not going to be as good’.
Actually, it’s the inverse – as you’ll get dozens of applications per role – sometimes more, and that allows you to set a pretty high bar when it comes to picking your team.
- We have a 20+ question application form with a video submission requirement amongst other things.
- If that goes well we do a Whatsapp voice note back and forth interview.
- After this, we move to a week trial with some test tasks – which is heavily monitored and reviewed
- If this goes well it moves to a 30-day probationary period, and then after this they can officially enter a placement programme or full-time work.
This is how we’re managing to build a really solid backend operation to help scale our agency operations