Building offshore and onshore team collaboration
With the advent of modern business solutions especially in the offshoring industry, many SMEs and large corporations are figuring out new ways in sustaining team collaboration while pursuing common goals, regardless of the geographical borders, time zones, or cultural differences.
The bigger concern here is, how do you make your offshore team part of your onshore team? Here are some useful tips for you to manage the current situation or simply to improve it better.
1. Identify & appoint strong people leaders
If you’re looking to offshore, it doesn’t matter if you’re running a small or big company, or even just starting out on your new business venture. The first thing to do is to identify new staff hires that possess strong leadership skills among the offshore team. Strong leaders allow you to eventually build around them minimising the need for micromanaging and ensuring teams become self-sustaining from a workload perspective. Whilst building a team of executors is great, without the leadership your time will be focused on workload management than business growth.
2. Organise training for both offshore & onshore team members
Aligning staff understanding and training helps build cohesive teams that are aligned in thinking and output. Conducting aligned training are opportunities to narrow cultural differences and strengthen the connection and understanding between teams. Training demonstrates investment in staff which will in turn pay dividends on output and staff retention. With standardised training modules being mandatory in most companies, giving the same opportunities of training to both offshore and onshore team members ensure upskilling them with the knowledge and experience they deserve. Trainings can be done via Skype, video conferences, or onsite training at your offshore team’s office for a better learning experience.
3. Bridging the cultural gaps among team members
Cultural differences are understandable given staff backgrounds and experience. Connecting your teams socially ensure cohesiveness and ease that is sometimes only possible face-to-face. Allowing team members to work from other offices or allowing them to attend AS White company trips to meet their offshore colleagues bridges gaps and allows a level of understanding that is difficult to reach over email. Even if this isn’t the case, leaders still need to encourage frequent contact among team members to strengthen ties, clarify cultural misunderstanding, and build close-knit, cross-functional teams for any project.
4. Build trust with your offshore teams
Trust is imperative to the success of any team and leaders who have shown to have high trust levels have been found to have higher performing businesses (Mäkipeska and Niemelä, 2005). One way to establish the foundation of trust is to create a safe and open environment to encourage both offshore and onshore team members to voice their opinions, ideas, and suggestions whether positive or negative. It’s a good sign if team members are willing to share or communicate with you and constructive responses from their leader will aid in building trust within the team.
5. Hold effective meetings
Contrary to many misconceptions, ‘banter’ prior to meetings should be encouraged among offshore and onshore staff rather than dissuaded. Regardless of offshore or onshore team members, staff with different expertise should be allowed to contribute ideas, debate, and support each other in a professional manner. The leader is responsible for balancing the discussion and ensuring that every team member has a voice in the decision-making process, allowing them to gain full transparency when it comes to feedback and understanding how to curb issues at hand.
It’s important to invest time, resources, and nurture trust with both your team, allowing them to blend in comfortably as one big family. Learn about the best practices on how you can strengthen the bond between your offshore and onshore team with us today.