Managing Your Offshore Team: Best Practices
Flexibility is one of the major benefits of outsourcing. What if you suddenly need more skilled employees due to increased demand and you do not have enough time to find the right fit? Or you need to get certain work done now but, it is not in your budget? Outsourcing is the best way to save money and time, but it is daunting to think about managing an offshore team. There is a vast difference between managing on-shore vs off-shore teams. Even though it is a win-win situation for both; employers to get their work done in a cost-effective manner, and employees, to get more job opportunities; there are challenges faced by every business while transitioning from in-house to offshore. Routine desk work and IT services and support are major virtual assistant services.
Challenges in managing an offshore team:
- Different time zones: Difficulty in organizing weekly and daily meetings due to differences in time zones and clock-in hours.
- Scattered communications: Complication in keeping a systematic workflow.
- Cultural differences: People coming from different belief system affects overall work environment.
- Accountability: Lack in quality of work and meeting deadlines is an issue.
- Lack of control and threat of security: With handing over the responsibilities, comes giving away some control and security to a certain extent. Trust issues are a problem here.
Once you decide to outsource, taking the right approach is very important and finding a right remote staffing agency. The fundamentals of managing a team are the same, either be it onshore or offshore. Here are the essential tips for managing an offshore team.
- Build good communication infrastructure and use effective communication tools. Eg. Virtual stand-up meetings
- Make sure to interact frequently through daily and weekly meetings and make use of overlapping time to schedule these meetings.
- Understanding the culture of an offshore team is important, not just regional but work culture too.
- Set your vision right from the start and take your time to mentor and train your offshore team, at least during the initial stage. It is a time investment.
- Treat your offshore team like your onshore team.
- Get to know your offshore team as if they were in house.
- Explain your vision, define expectations and outcomes.
- Ensure accountability by designating skilled team leaders, either at your offshore site or managing from your local office.
- Do not micromanage. Set expectations and milestones and let them run with the task or project.
- Make security a priority. Check frequently.
Working with an offshore team is beneficial but has its challenges if you do not pick the right partner. It depends on your willingness to invest in good communication channels, trusting their knowledge and work skills, and making your remote team feel as important as your local team. At the end of the day, it comes down to how you treat your employees.