With globalization influencing businesses across the globe, it is normal for companies to collaborate with a number of international teams. Whether it is through outsourcing or offshoring, companies are gaining access to global expertise and resources thus increasing efficiency, profitability, and competitive advantage. Nonetheless, training and managing these teams can be a bit of a challenge. Trust will be your most important virtue in this business.
The question is, how are you going to handle these teams? Below are nine tips to successfully manage geographically (and culturally) diverse teams.
- Communicate virtually. Having to communicate with your teams can be tough, as your company is located on the other side of the world. However, there are several ways to touch base and conduct meetings. Emails are always the best solution for formality, but for weekly meetings, messaging apps such as Google Hangouts or Skype can be a good means of communication.
- Make things clear. Chop a long paragraph to pieces and segregate them into bullet points in your email, so that everything is clear and simple. In addition, for both parties to have clear dissemination of messages, ask your team to breakdown their ideas and questions in bullet points, ensuring the problems they’ve encountered are properly addressed.
- Include pictures in trainings. Training offshore teams is a difficult task, especially if you are not seeing each other physically. Don’t just send an email with words and phrases. Always remember to attach photos and screenshots, so the receiver of your message can easily understand what you mean. Don’t forget to highlight the important words as well. Some people learn much better through visual aids.
- Get insights. These offshore teams are composed of smart individuals. Let them propose ideas for your projects, but never forget to seek feedback from your onshore team first before making the decision. Confidence comes from knowing that you’ve gained insights and information from all sides of your business, creating a balance and well-thought out plan.
- Set plans B to Z. When working with offshore teams, constantly remember that not all plans work (for a number of reasons). How do you solve it? Have alternative plans. When plan A doesn’t work, you can still hold on to plans B to Z. They may never be as good as your original plan, but at least you have something else on standby. Always be prepared for the worse.
- Give constructive criticism. To ensure that your employees produce the quality of work you want for your company, you must know when to give constructive feedback. Don’t be too nice to everybody. As a manager, you should always be assertive. However, never forget to strike a balance. What you’re doing is for your employees and your company to work better. Remember to acknowledge their efforts and achievements, too. This motivates them to do even better the next time around.
- Have a regular meeting schedule. It is normal for everyone to be busy. However, everyone can still make time for meetings. Once a regular meeting schedule is set, prioritize it. Don’t make rescheduling a habit, as it sometimes wreaks havoc with the schedule of your offshore employees. A successful partnership is the result of regular communication. Plus, it gets you closer even if both parties live on different parts of the globe.
- Earn your teams respect. Do you want your employees to follow you with respect? Set the tone on how you communicate. Be calm, but authoritative. Be friendly, but professional. If you want your offshore team’s culture to be the same as your company’s, then set an example to them.
- Leave a mark. As a manager, you need to be influential to the people you work with. Build trust within your teams, as well as create a connection with them. With proper communication, your business along with your onshore and offshore employees will grow. Successful projects come from great partnership.
These are just a few of several other tips in managing culturally diverse teams. Better start practicing now than later, right? It’s almost the same as managing the people in your office, but a bit more challenging. Start outsourcing your services now and work on these tips to get you going!