Remote teams in Mexico can help address the labor shortage for US property management companies.

Remote teams in Mexico can help address the labor shortage for US property management companies.

Building a remote team in Mexico has been a successful strategy for companies seeking to open call centers. Over the last few years, other companies that have seen great difficulties recruiting in the US have realized that Mexico’s talent pool is vast and highly skilled. This talent pool can solve the increasing problem of talent scarcity back home. The advantages are apparent: Proximity to the US, same time zone, cultural similarities, and significant savings on recruitment costs. However, opening a remote office in a foreign country seemed too complex for many smaller companies. Is running a property with a remote team the solution to finding the right talent for a reasonable budget?

Working with Tenants daily can be exhausting if your team lacks the motivation.

Owen Graham, 46, a Los Angeles resident with luxury properties, struggled for years to keep his team in place. Owning a few prestigious lofts on Highland Ave., he understood the importance of keeping his tenants happy, with quick response to any problem: “I hired a team of five to manage my property. My Maintenance Coordinator

was not enthusiastic when the phone rang. Since I recorded all the company’s conversations, I could tell that it upset the tenants that she seemed not to care. I spoke with her and asked her to have a white glove service attitude since those tenants were paying north of $6000/month per loft. After I saw that her attitude didn’t change, I decided to let her go, but that meant I needed to pick up the phones, even if it meant in the middle of the night for emergency calls”. His case isn’t uncommon. Property management companies tend to have restricted budgets for hiring talents, and they compromise on their teams’ quality. It was later that year that he learned about the option of hiring in Mexico, which changed his life. “A friend of mine from a different industry has done recruiting for his company in Mexico. He worked with a staffing company and told me the results were better than what he expected. Quality was great; costs were significantly lower…”. Owen, an entrepreneur who made his fortune from online marketing, was unafraid to try something new. “I knew that if I started small, I would risk a few thousand dollars, but my gains could be getting my life again. I got into real estate for more passive income after years of nonstop work and pressure.” He hired a Maintenance Coordinator to replace the one he had to let go. “At the beginning, I just wanted her to cover the nights. I prepared a training like the staffing agency advised me and ensured she had all the contacts for emergency maintenance, not expecting she would have too much work. As Murphy laws have it, a pipe burst in one of the units on her third night. The next morning, she called to inform me of what happened that night. She handled it like a pro. I spoke to the tenant, and although it was a tough situation, his reaction was very calm. He said Majo (the coordinator’s name) was very kind and helpful and coordinated with the technician resolving the issue”. 

Majo is a university graduate, and working with a US-based company appealed to her. The salary was significantly higher, and working internationally was another tool she wanted to add. In the coming months, Owen recruited one more coordinator, a bookkeeper, and an accountant to help him with the books. His remote team completely replaced his office in the US, saving him 60% on his expenses and improving his services significantly. 

 Owen is not alone. He made his decision after evaluating the pros and cons, which made it easy. 

What does it take to work with a remote team in Mexico?

wexpand staffing agency in Guadalajara

The first step is building a team. Shopping around for a staffing agency can be challenging. There are numerous options, and you must come prepared with the right questions. But with the proper guidance and understanding, the process can be smooth and successful. Here are the most essential issues you should address with the staffing agency during your conversation: 

What kind of services do they provide? This question will let you know if that agency can cover all your needs when you recruit. Some companies only offer recruitment, some offer payroll management, and some offer to host your employees in their offices. For property management companies, the complete solution of recruitment, payroll, and hosting is the best solution. In this way, you only have to focus on your core business, i.e., training the employees to do their work. 

What kind of positions are they typically hiring? Some agencies specialize in specific verticals, such as IT. If you are looking for a bookkeeper, they might be unable to help you. Ensure you ask this question to avoid wasting your and the agency’s time.  

Understanding the agency’s compensation structure is crucial. You want to ensure that the employees are fairly compensated and receive their deserved benefits. At the same time, the agency should be compensated adequately to ensure they have a solid incentive to protect your operation in Mexico. This transparency is critical to maintaining a successful and ethical partnership. 

Understanding the staffing agency’s recruitment process is critical. A structured and thorough process is essential for hiring suitable candidates. The agency should be able to explain its process clearly and provide examples of how it has successfully matched candidates with companies. If the answer is unsatisfactory, it could be a red flag about the agency’s conduct. 

One important legal aspect to consider when hiring in Mexico is the ‘employer of record’ concept. An employer of record is the legal entity that serves as the employer for your remote team in Mexico. Since your US entity can not offer the same benefits as Mexican law requires, having an employer of record can help attract and retain the best candidates. Many agencies offer to hire employees under their legal entities and provide them with the benefits Mexican law requires. 

Infrastructure: Can they provide office space for my employees? Working from the office creates a stronger bond with your company. Since the group you are hiring is in another country, ensuring their group is firmly connected and social relationships are made is essential. You can embed your company’s culture more efficiently and control your nearshore operation better. Some top staffing agencies can offer those office spaces and give you flexibility while you grow your team. Ask for pictures and locations, and make sure these locations are in safe and accessible areas.

What cyber security measures do they take to protect sensitive data? This question is essential if your remote team handles sensitive data. If the staffing agency has an IT manager, they can either share their security measurements or help you implement them if you have specific needs. 

Once you have the answers to all those questions, you can start the recruitment process. A typical process requires sending a detailed job description, which the agency uses to find suitable candidates.

The real work starts when recruitment ends, and you choose your candidate. Unlike hiring locally, you must have a plan for onboarding and training.

Onboarding: Onboarding is an integral part of getting your employee to a smooth start:

  1. Preparation for onboarding typically starts 5-7 days before the first day of employment. The staffing agency is responsible for receiving all the employment paperwork: contract, contact details, bank details, and any critical information needed.  
  2. The staffing agency prepares the workstation the day before the start date. That includes furniture, a computer, a welcome kit (if applicable), email, any necessary work software, etc. 
  3. 1st day: On the first day, the staffing agency takes the employee on a tour of the office, discussing the areas and their functionality, emergencies, common areas, and employee stations. Once the tour is done, the employee learns about the 1st day’s agenda, meets his team, and finally has the chance to speak with his new colleagues and managers. Companies usually prepare a presentation to discuss their industry, company, team, and challenges, and finally, discuss the employee’s KPIs and expectations. If an onboarding manual is available, the company will provide one at this point. It includes all the company’s protocols, rules, and regulations and a directory of all team members.
  4. Assigned champion: Having an assigned champion to the new employee in the first week can improve the experience. It’s not a babysitter but someone who naturally has good ability with people and can introduce the newcomer to the rest of the team in an informal way, such as taking lunch together.     

Training: Many tools can help you train a remote team, such as Trainual. You must write about all your processes in detail. Prepare the training so that each individual learns effectively differently: some are visual and love watching videos, some like to read, and some learn by practice. If you provide the training only using the method that works for you, your training will only be effective for some, and others’ performance will be affected. Training is one of the most critical steps for the success of a remote team. It requires effort and investment. Make sure you have it in place before you start recruiting.

Periodical meetings: Maintaining a constant connection with your remote employees is essential once the training ends. Schedule periodic meetings: weekly, monthly, and quarterly, depending on the position. Set up the agenda very clearly to ensure effective meetings. The goal is to give your remote team the feeling that they have an avenue to feel part of the company and supervise their performance regularly. Since there are no informal meetings like those with a team in your office, these meetings are critical to keeping the team aligned with the company’s goals.

Remote TEAM: Never hire just one employee. Hire a team. A team has different dynamics. If you want them to feel connected to your company/ brand, create a place where they feel proud to work. With a team, you can create social events where their bonds strengthen. A team is more than the sum of the individuals. It brings together different experiences that improve performance.

Building a remote team in Mexico using a staffing agency is an excellent solution to the labor shortages in the US. But you need to take an active approach to preparing for moving your team to a different country. This includes choosing the right partner to help you and understanding that your method of work and processes are going to change. You are expected to see great benefits for your investment: better quality of work, cost savings, and diversity of cultures and ideas.

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