Managing Offshore Teams


Managing Offshore Teams

Managing Offshore Teams


Managing people requires leadership skills. John Maxwell, a leadership expert once said, “The foundation of leadership is the relationship, and leadership is influence”. It is how you get along with people. While this can be easier done when personally interacting with people, his statements may also be applied when managing a team in a foreign country. The following points will help your boost confidence in handling offshore teams.

1. Build Authority. First and foremost, there is a need to bring in good people. Not just good people, but the right people at the right place or position as well. A good outsourcing company like Ruby Outsourcing expertly handles matching of business needs with the appropriate resources. This includes team leaders. Offshore team leaders will ease the burden of overseeing projects and teammates and will lessen the work load. Team leaders have a more realistic view and understanding of what works best.

2. Communicate Effectively. While a team leader may do well, it is ideal to communicate to everyone in the team, i.e., a one-on-one communication whenever possible to create transparency. Learn to listen. Ask the team what they need and what needs to be done. Ask for their opinions and other concerns. Take advantage of all the available means of communication. Use email, Skype, Slack, or whatever is most convenient, practical, and efficient. Give constructive criticisms. Let them catch your visions and expectations. 

3. Meetings and Visibility. Conduct regular meetings for check and balance. It is best to use video conference. Facial expressions and gestures may convey more truth than mere words heard through calls. The language barrier may also pose a problem because some members of the team may not be excellent English speakers. The use of visual aids or pictures may help. Appropriately schedule meetings. Onsite visits, though costly, may be done periodically to monitor offshore operations.

4. Be considerate. According to the Association of Software and Service Companies, there has been as high as 40% turnover rate in a year for offshore employees. To minimise such high turnover, reward them with good salary and bonuses. Paid holiday leaves, as long as feasible, produce a positive reinforcement. Acknowledge top performers. Email them to praise a job well done. After all, employees do their best and stay in their jobs not just because of the high salary and benefits. Recognition uplifts their morale; thus enabling them to work with enthusiasm. To create consistency of work that equates quality, make people stay. Happy employees always return the favour.

5. Impose Strict Data Security. Do not send customer data overseas. Company information should always be kept confidential. Offshore staff must be given a non-compete contract. And most importantly, let offshore staff login to your secure site. Make sure the passwords are consistently secured. According to the US Security and Exchange Commission, passwords should never be stored on your computer. Kurt Muhl of Red team Security advises using a full sentence in creating a secure password. Other ways to build strong passwords are: have a minimum of 12 characters, include numbers, symbols, upper and lower case. Do not reuse the passwords for multiple locations as well.

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