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Employers of Remote workers: How do they know the employee isn't outsourcing the work?

Hi Paul & all…

A question I got today that I didn’t really have an answer for:

How do you know the employee isn’t just fronting everything, then outsourcing the work?

I’m not a Dev (IT PM & Director in a Tech Offshoring & Consulting company here in Japan) but work with them, and we hire them, and a new AI arm is considering hiring people remotely to get access to high skills Devs, Japanese language for them being just a nice to have, and benefit all round.

Would like answers to this generally, but also to understand how one might guard against that!

I’ve read accounts of people who have outsourced their work while going to the office (and spend their days watching youtube or playing games there), so it’s not strictly a concern with remote work. I’d guess it is incredibly uncommon though, and mostly an urban legend.

My thinking is, if you’re the kind of person with the skillset to find people to outsource your work to, manage them, and do it so seamlessly no one notices, why would you get a job as an individual contributor? You could instead get a job as an engineering manager (who in Japan make 55% more than developers), or just start your own outsourcing agency. I’d wager it’d be easier to do everything above board, than do it in a clandestine manner.

Any tactics to try and suss out these “fronting” employees are likely to backfire, and end up hurting the morale of your other employees. Trust works both ways, and if employees sense that their company isn’t placing trust in them, the good ones at least are likely to go elsewhere.

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