Offshore outsourcing has become a necessity in the modern world, thanks to the convenience and cost-effectiveness it provides. It stands at the foundation of the most successful companies today, helping with day-to-day operations. The power of offshore outsourcing is undeniable, but the people behind these teams need to overcome challenges.
In such a globally competitive industry, it only follows that people behind the operations come from various backgrounds and cultures. An offshore team in New York, for instance, may be home to various people of all backgrounds and races, which can lead to cultural differences. Language barriers and cultural gaps can often lead to misunderstandings, making it important to address.
Unfortunately, cultural gaps in the outsourcing world are often overlooked. This leads to seemingly endless stumbling blocks, which affect the company’s effectiveness and efficiency. It’s important to always remember that the company’s biggest strength lies in its people—and its ability to ensure that regardless of language, background, culture, and values, they are welcomed in a community of openness.
For these reasons, it’s important to invest in raising awareness and implementing programs, all designed to help your team work efficiently together. More often than not, your choice to invest could mean the difference between failure and success.
Addressing these barriers, however, is easier said than done. How can you properly address something that could be so deeply ingrained in society? The truth is, it will be difficult—but not impossible. Here’s what you can do:
Tip #1: Assess your leadership systems
Outsourcing operates differently from traditional workplaces, especially considering the nature of the job. While hierarchies may not be clearly defined, it’s important to ensure that leadership roles are filled—and filled well. You’ll want to establish a chain of command that oversees your onshore and offshore teams, especially if you’re in the business of hiring remote workers.
You’ll want a manager you can trust and rely on, particularly when it comes to task delegation, communication issues, and other concerns that may arise. Team members must know who they can report to, which drastically reduces any chances of escalating issues.
Tip #2: Invest in cultural awareness training programs
Apart from hiring a leader you can trust, you’ll want to also address the problem right at the root. This means allowing your team members the opportunity to handle issues on their own, why is why investing in a cultural awareness program is paramount. These trainings are designed specially to address gaps, which allows various team members to be aware of various cultures existing around them. It could touch on religion and sexuality, along with other fabrics of society they may have otherwise been unaware of.
By investing in these workshops, you build a culture of understanding. This bridge will then promote a healthy working relationship in the team, all without sacrificing boundaries. It’s important to remember that significant costs will be incurred, but having such an advantage will be well worth it—and will likely pay for itself.
Tip #3: Ensure an honest and consistent communication
One of the most important processes you need to invest in is communication. It’s often the cure to dealing with countless issues, including one as vast as a cultural gap. All relationships require an open and honest communication process, and the same holds for business relationships. The mere step towards awareness can help transform the workplace tremendously, helping your team members succeed in various projects.
If you wish to invest in a clear communication system, start by developing a good communication strategy. This includes the channel you wish to introduce to the company, whether it be email, Slack, and other more innovative tools. All these can help create a system that can support your team members, also serving as a consistent connection they can rely on.
Tip #4: Keep your goals clear
Working with team members from various backgrounds can be difficult enough as it is, so it’s important to make your systems clearer by establishing clear goals and tasks. This process is essential, especially since each member understands their roles clearly—and what tasks are needed to get their jobs done.
Without clear goals in place, you only leave room for conflict. This also allows your team to ensure the quality of work, as team members will also be guided in terms of standards and expectations. In doing so, you avoid any conflict that may arise.
Tip #5: Encourage offline activities
Collaborating online is a non-negotiable, especially since most of the company’s tools are likely operated online. This makes digital connections necessary, especially when it comes to your remote team. However, never underestimate the power of physical presence. It’s important to invest in opportunities that allow your team members to meet, such as the beginning and end of projects. They’ll be given the chance to meet to gauge the connections, and can later celebrate once projects are completed.
You’ll also do well to invest in various team-building activities, all of which can encourage better leadership and communication among team members. Even something as hosting a pizza party can help, as being exposed to one another allows them to change to mingle despite differences, thereby prompting them to work together better.
Tip #6: Test, test, test
Choosing new team members is difficult, especially if you want them to be compatible with your existing teams. It’s a tricky task, which is why it’s best to do test runs. Make sure to allow the candidates a trial day or two, which will be beneficial to both parties in the long run.
This should be done before final contracts are signed, so make sure to never assign them huge tasks. You’ll only be gauging compatibility, so never try to overwhelm them! Start with something small and evaluate the quality of their work from there.
Investing In Your People Eradicates Cultural Gaps
All these tips are made to address cultural gaps, so make sure to keep them in mind! However, nothing quite beats the prospect of visiting your team members and spending the time to get to know them. This includes their culture and how they work naturally, which could be the best way to understand which working styles and processes work best for them.
Learning is always a two-way street—investing in the right people can help you succeed in the long run, but learning how to experience and understand various cultures helps you understand them better. More importantly, you set an example—one that your employees will appreciate. At the end of the day, it’s all about doing your best and inspiring others to do the same.
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