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  • Writer's pictureAmalga Group

Jens Erik Gould, Founder and CEO of Amalga Group, on Records Retrieval Companies and the Benefits of Nearshore Staff Augmentation

Originally published in Markets Gerald

Jens Erik Gould is the Founder & CEO of Amalga Group, a Texas-based nearshore outsourcing company specializing in IT, software engineering, and contact center staffing. Gould’s dedication to offering efficient staffing solutions backed by a team of professionals from the U.S. and Latin America helps U.S. companies overcome talent challenges and streamline operations, all while maintaining the highest quality standards.

Recently, Jens Erik Gould sat down to discuss records retrieval and how nearshore staff augmentation can benefit the process.

Tell us a little more about records retrieval. Who uses it, and who offers it?

Jens Erik Gould: Records retrieval has to do with the process of obtaining important documents stored in various different formats. I’m referring to both physical files and files stored in electronic databases or digital archives, which can be challenging to gather and find.

The process might involve requesting documents from government agencies, legal institutions, medical facilities, or any number of other organizations. On top of that, it can include research, order entry, subpoena prep, follow-up calls, checking documents for accuracy, organizing and sorting documents, and payments to custodians. It is a complex process that requires committed specialists.

Many types of companies specialize in or carry out the service. Legal support services companies, for one. Document management companies. And then there are the more specific and specialized companies purely dedicated to records retrieval. It’s their bread and butter.

As for what type of companies use records retrieval services—the answer is all sorts. Law firms. Healthcare providers. Government agencies. You name it. While insurance companies and law firms often have in-house records teams, large companies often have enough on their plate already without having to factor in records retrieval. So, in steps an outside party to help handle the workload and smooth out the process.

These services are used to retrieve employment records like payroll and worker’s compensation documents, medical records like billing, educational records such as transcripts, financial records like tax and bank documents, military records for active duty and veterans, as well as social security and disability records.

Let me give you a specific example. Say a law firm is putting together a worker’s compensation case. They need to gather material related to this worker’s claim. Medical records, accident reports, employment records, etc. This is by no means a simple process. It usually starts with getting authorization from the injured worker or their legal team. And then various requests are made to healthcare providers, employers, insurance companies, and government agencies to collect those records.

Records retrieval companies specialize in obtaining and organizing those documents. Facilities often take a long time to send records, and the entire process involves a ton of follow up and due diligence. Persistence is needed too. Record retrieval companies handle that entire process from top to bottom. And the good ones do so with gusto and in a diligent manner.

I’ve heard there are currently staffing issues in records retrieval. Why?

Jens Erik Gould: You’re right; there have been issues recently. They essentially boil down to a few identifiable challenges.

The first is turnover. The amount of turnover during and since COVID-19 has been significant. A lot of workers [across many industries] left their jobs during the pandemic. Naturally this impacted those industries, including records retrieval. We know companies that hired new staff who would only stay for a week. Sometimes workers wouldn’t even formally quit. They’d just disappear. When that happens, it becomes incredibly difficult to build a solid team.

The next issue is also common across many industries: costs. Wages for records retrieval specialists have increased in recent years. Specialists are the workers who do all the following up to retain records. They’re extremely important to the process. But because they now require higher wages, the overhead for records retrieval companies has increased significantly.

Adapting to remote work has also been tough. This is an industry where handling sensitive information is of paramount importance. So, figuring out how to handle these documents in a sensitive and secure manner has certainly been a shift.

Another issue has been finding workers with expertise. As I said earlier, the role of a records retrieval specialist is crucial. These workers need to be skilled in records management, legal procedures, and the actual retrieval of information. It’s also a job that requires a certain level of stamina and resilience. You face a ton of rejection as a specialist. And people don’t always want to talk to you. So, you have to be tough. You also have to be thorough and quick on your feet. Not everyone can do the job effectively.

What is nearshore staff augmentation and how can it address the staffing challenges in records retrieval?

Jens Erik Gould: Let me tackle the first half of that question to start.

Nearshore staff augmentation is when a company based in the United States looks outside of its geographical boundaries and contacts a nearshore provider to build a team. By a nearshore team, I’m specifically talking about teams based in Latin America: Mexico, Central America and/or South America. These regions are all in the same time zones as the United States, and many workers speak fluent English or have a very high-level grasp of the language. That makes the communication aspect relatively simple.

These teams are brought in to complement the existing U.S. workforce. This also allows U.S. companies to access a much wider talent pool.

As for the latter part of your question: How do we address the staffing issues? Let’s tackle those challenges from earlier one by one.

The first challenge we discussed was turnover. Nearshore staff augmentation has helped records retrieval companies, insurance companies, and law firms lower their turnover rate. How? Nearshore records retrieval specialists tend to be loyal and reliable. Teams that work nearshore typically do not leave their positions as often as they have been in the United States in recent years.

The next challenge we discussed was cost. Nearshore teams are generally more inexpensive than teams of in-house U.S. employees.

That leads us to the next challenge: expertise. Latin America has incredible specialists. Often these specialists already have years of experience working for U.S. law firms, insurance companies, and record retrieval companies. There is no drop-off in terms of quality. In fact, nearshore teams can even have better overall skill sets. So that is obviously a huge advantage.

The last thing I’d like to mention is that nearshore teams offer unparalleled flexibility and scalability. It is often extremely quick putting these teams together. For instance, the average time to hire a new employee in the United States is 36 days. But with a nearshore provider, it’s far quicker and it requires fewer HR resources. That means you can increase or decrease your team much faster.

One last thing. How can records retrieval companies, law firms, and insurance companies incorporate nearshore staff augmentation into the records retrieval process?

Jens Erik Gould: In many ways. Let me walk you through a few examples.

Records retrieval companies often have many different orders coming in—from law firms and insurance companies, for example. These orders must be fulfilled. That’s a job that records retriever companies can dedicate to nearshore teams. And those teams can then work through the orders in the same manner as U.S.-based staff would.

Training for nearshore teams is also quite quick. Usually it lasts about one week. Once workers are trained, they can make outbound and inbound calls, obtain documents, and handle any manner of administrative tasks. That essentially frees up internal employees to focus on other areas and increase the capacity and productivity of the company.

Nearshore staff can also assist with challenges like data entry and quality assurance. They can scan documents, index, and organize records. And they can perform quality checks on all the incoming records. This streamlines the process significantly.

So to recap, nearshore augmentation leads to reduced turnover, lower costs, and a greater sense of flexibility. Teams are put together quickly, and then they go on to match or even outperform in-house specialists in the U.S. When you put it all together, it’s amazing to see what these teams can do.

What is Amalga Group’s “Nearshore for Records Retrieval” program? How does it work?

Jens Erik Gould: So, the whole process I mentioned earlier is something that my company, Amalga Group, specializes in. We call it our “Nearshore for Records Retrieval” program.

We essentially build nearshore teams in Latin America for U.S.-based companies that require additional services. These teams provide all the benefits we discussed already—everything related to reduced costs and turnover, expertise, and flexibility. Whether for an insurance company or a law firm, Amalga Group can provide a team and the corresponding records retrieval specialists.

Our aim is to provide these companies with exactly what they need. For instance, do they need team members with a certain level of customer service experience? Administrative experience? We do our due diligence to ensure the team is right for the task at hand. And we always provide an extensive quality assurance process to ensure everything progresses as it should.

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