Because of today’s global business market, many companies have stretched their departments to other cities, states or even countries. It has become normal to have several business partners or employees that make up a remote team, hundreds or even thousands of miles away from the corporate location.
There are many reasons cited for this trend including the ability to gain access to professionals with hard-to-find skills, the opportunity to lower costs, increase efficiency and bandwidth. Given this growing trend towards a global workforce, the ability to manage these offshore employees has become an increasingly important task for many business leaders.
When just beginning to work with an offshore employee or team, it is important to start from a place of trust and confidence. Teams that approach this new work relationship favorably often have the best experience and outcomes.
Getting the Most from Offshore Employees – 10 Tips to Try
Along with a positive attitude, there are several other things you can do to get the most from your offshore employees. Here are 10 tips to help you successfully manage offshore employees.
- Schedule predictable team meetings that everyone can count on. It is very important to engage your offshore workers in regular meetings in order to create the trust and productivity that develops from good team work. Using all of the different technologies available, including Skype, it is easier than ever to have great team meetings with onshore and offshore workers.
- Don’t flake out on scheduled meetings. Everyone gets busy and it’s easy to get into a habit of rescheduling meetings when you are in a crunch. When you are working with offshore employees, this is particularly damaging. It is very important to stick to your meeting schedule. Regular communication is at the heart of a successful onshore offshore business partnership.
- Get to know offshore workers as “real people.” Even though you aren’t sharing office space together, make the time to get to know your offshore software developers as “real people.” Not only does this help create trust, but it also improves teamwork and overall employee satisfaction for everyone.
- Emphasize the big picture. Whether located at the office, at home nearby, or in an offshore location, all team members have the ultimate goal – to make sure a given project is successful. Remind the team regularly of this larger goal in order to create a shared vision.
- Communicate in several ways. Make sure that your team meetings and ongoing communications with offshore workers are done in a variety of ways. This means that you may use email, texting and telephone to discuss project goals and details. Remember that visual and auditory contact are both great ways to improve communication between team members.
- Clearly document goals, expectations and objectives in writing. Even though you should have regular meetings and plenty of verbal communication, it is also helpful to have project goals and objectives documented in writing, especially when working with offshore team members. This helps to minimize the risk of any confusion about expectations, deadlines and more.
- Give offshore employees important responsibilities. In the beginning it can be tempting to keep the most important tasks for onshore workers, but it is important to give offshore employees the chance to use their skills and to make important contributions to the team. This helps to create a spirit of mutual dependency which is important for cultivating a highly productive team environment.
- Cultivate an environment of mutual respect. It is important that offshore workers feel like a respected and important part of the team. This helps to build trust quickly, and to increase overall productivity.
- Express satisfaction and reward good work. Whether in the office, working from home, or developing software offshore, employees of every type like to be recognized for their hard work. When a job is done well, take the time to show your satisfaction. For work that goes over and beyond, consider additional rewards like branded company attire. This makes people feel more engaged and proud to be associated with your business.
- Make An Effort To Meet Up In Person From Time To Time. Even though the productivity of offshore development teams is higher than ever, it is always good to meet in person from time to time. Whether you go to your offshore team, or you have them come to you, scheduling time for this is an important part of the team building process.
Managing offshore employees may take some time to get used to at first, but in many ways it is very similar to managing people at the office. Good communication and a positive attitude are a critical part of the process. But it’s also important to choose an offshore company that provides high quality employees with the talents and skills that you need. If you’re seeking offshore software developers, number8 is here to help. Give us a call for more information and a free estimate.