Offshore business has become a very popular trend because of the clear benefits it provides. Managing offshore business by overcoming language problems, time zones, lack of face to face communication, etc is a tough job.
But then distance means nothing when something means everything. There are a lot of ways which you can follow to effectively manage your virtual teams.
Build a team that you can trust
Be choosy when you have to hire the people to work with. You need to hire employees that you have faith in otherwise you will never be at peace. Also, the more you interact with your team the better your relationship and level of understanding becomes with them.
Make sure your team understands the vision of the company. This way they won’t just work for the paycheck, they will work for the betterment of the company. Let each other know your mutual expectations. At the starting only make them understand the work ethics, rules they need to follow, short-term and long-term goals.
Communication is the key
Making your teams understand how you want a project to be done is a challenging task and with the distance the level of challenge increases. Good communication removes all barriers.
Establish communication protocols that can be applied to all the offshore teams. Give clear instructions as to how you want them to work to get standardized outputs every time. Make each other aware of mutual expectations like work hours, reporting time, delivery style, etc.
Arrange regular team meetings, especially at the beginning. Share the vision of your company. Solve their queries and doubts, motivate them, help them work better.
Learn the native language of the countries to which your offshore teams belong to. In most of the countries, English is a common language that everyone knows. So while hiring make sure strong English language skills are present in that employee.
With the advancement in technology, communication has become easier and cheaper also. For visual communication, you can use Skype application, Whatsapp call feature.
Slack is also very good for communication in real time like file sharing, direct messaging, calling. Good communication helps to avoid conflicts and misunderstandings.
Also, make sure you annually visit your offshore team to make them feel connected to your company. Interact with your employees directly as well. It’s not just enough to talk to the team leader only. May a time employees are not able to express their ideas or problem in front of others, so talking directly to them removes this hesitation.
Make use of order management softwares like EMERGE App, to handles sales and orders. It can help you keep track of your sales, orders, costs, pending orders. You can filter the work of each sales rep, each geolocation, language etc.
Find good team leaders
You need someone to fill your shoes, i.e., to manage and guide the team. Every offshore team is administered by a location-specific team leader who supervises all the daily operations.
Designate a team leader that not only manages the team efficiently but also understands the cultural differences between your country and the offshore team’s country and helps you to tackle them.
Give performance reviews
Reviews act as a mirror, they show the employees how well they are working, what are their strong and weak areas, have they improved or not. It is very important for team’s productivity, it helps to analyze how well each member of the team is performing their responsibilities.
Positive reviews help to boost the morale of the employees. Appreciating your employees and showing confidence in them goes a long way, it motivates the employees to do better. On the other hand, negative reviews show them their weak areas, in which sectors they need to work harder.
Understand the differences
While working offshore there will be a lot of differences related to time, culture, language, etc. Make use of the time differences accurately, by giving them projects beforehand and setting deadlines earlier.
Many a time miscommunication arises due to language problems. So either learn their native language. Or if there is a common language like English, then hire employees who can speak and understand English fluently.
Every culture has its own set of beliefs and festivals. Create a calendar of the offshore team’s country and set project deadlines accordingly. Give them holidays on their important festivals.
Hold workshops for both onshore and offshore teams, so that everyone knows about the cultural practices of each other.
Every business has its own set of challenges, for offshore business distance is the biggest challenge. This challenge of distance can be overcome by a little bit of planning and using the latest technologies. Keep embracing the cultural differences and learning to overcome them.
Fill your employees with positivity and build trustworthy relationships with them. And after that distance won’t matter.