Companies often ask Prialto for U.S.-based virtual assistants (VAs). The reasons for this vary:
- They think Prialto VAs aren't available in their time zone (they are)
- They fear an education/quality gap (most Prialto VAs are college graduates)
- They think that the VAs language/communication will be a problem (Prialto VAs are fluent in English)
- They think the VAs will not be as professional with clients and contacts (Prialto trains for this)
- They think the IT is not as secure as a U.S.-based business (VAs undergo background checks, work in secure facilities on company computers with enterprise-grade IT security)
Or it may be a conscious or unconscious aversion to outsourcing. Terms like "offshoring" and "outsourcing" tend to trigger strong reactions in U.S. businesses. Both are known for tapping talent in developing nations to lower labor costs and are often associated with low quality work, poor treatment of workers, and lost U.S. jobs.
But that’s not always the case.
Hiring Offshore Teammates
When it comes to virtual assistants and any other offshore professional service that brings workers onto your teams, it is a different story. You are bringing overseas workers into your office, virtually, to work side by side. Prialto hires, trains, manages and coaches VAs as a managed service. There are benefits to this beyond potentially lower costs.
- Higher quality support
- A team of managers and backup VAs
- Faster hiring
- No extra management
Prialto trains VAs to be teammates with U.S. executives, and most love the relationships. When it comes to the treatment of employees, all are W-2 employees of Prialto with full benefits, and most have come from less rewarding jobs in call centers. Compensation is attractive—there are VAs that left nursing and teaching jobs because they can do better at Prialto. The company's mission, Amplify People, applies to employees as well as customers. In a recent internal survey, 98 percent of Prialto VAs said that their skills prepare them for better jobs and different companies.
While you might think you are taking a job from someone in the U.S., you are also giving meaningful work to VAs in the Philippines or Guatemala (in the case of Prialto), and the employees don’t have to leave their homes and families. You can read some of the Prialto employee stories here.
The Benefits of Diverse Teams
When we think of diversity in the U.S., it's often about our internal inequities for domestic populations, which is extremely important. We want to expand access to quality education, healthcare, and jobs to all. But there are also vast populations outside the U.S. that lack that access as well.
It is now well known that diverse teams outperform homogeneous teams. It's not even controversial. McKinsey has been studying the issue for six years, and every year the performance gap widens—diverse businesses keep getting better and better. Here's why.
- Diverse teams make better decisions 87 percent of the time
- Diverse teams are 45 percent more profitable than non-diverse teams
- Diverse teams are 19 percent more innovative
- Diverse teams are 74 percent more appealing to work for by millennials
"For over a decade, study after study has propagated the same conclusion: A diverse team – representing diverse nationalities, genders, abilities, ideologies, religions and more – makes organizations more innovative, profitable, appealing to workers and resilient to economic shocks," the World Economic Forum said.
One of the primary reasons diverse teams outperform homogeneous ones is that they remove bias in decision-making. "The main reasons you'll gain productivity and a boost in creativity is that you're bringing together individuals from different walks of life," Entrepreneur said. "These people come from varied backgrounds and experiences and will each have unique ways to improve your products and services."
Culture Fit vs. Culture Add
"It's time to bid farewell to 'cultural fit,'" said Indeed.com VP LaFawn Davis. Yes, you want to hire for shared values, and it is human nature to want to work with like-minded people. But culture fit has been shown to eliminate diverse candidates because they do not fit the background that the culture becomes. "Culture add is a much more meaningful and beneficial hiring consideration than culture fit," Davis said. "It means that the candidate in consideration will bring new, fresh and different ideas and experiences to their team."
You want to add skills, experience, perspectives, and aptitudes that you don't currently have. While engaging offshore virtual assistants is not a cure for diversity deficits in U.S. companies, it can be a step in the right direction.
Social and Economic Benefits
This is not to say that Prialto VAs are "better" than U.S.-based alternatives. There are multiple types of virtual assistant services and business models inside and outside of the U.S. Some advertise prices as low as $2 per hour. Finding the right VA or service provider depends on the needs of different executives and businesses.
The points here are that not all outsourcing is the same, and that can be social and business benefits to U.S. companies that engage workers from places where talent is abundant, but opportunities are scarce.