How to Overcome Language Barriers with Your Remote Team?
Effective communication between you and the remote team is more than conversing in a common language. Not surprisingly, most businesses are seeking strong English skills — both written and spoken — to deliver competency within the role. Whilst locations such as The Philippines and Malaysia have extremely high English literacy rates (over 97%), English in most instances is an offshore team member’s second language. It’s highly important that the staff can accurately interpret the message being delivered and not just converse with confidence.
For managers, here are some of the best practices to overcome language barriers between you and the offshore staff to mitigate those “lost in translation” moments.
1. Take advantage of collaborative communication tools
From work management platforms like Monday to email and virtual meeting tools such as MS Teams, MS Outlook, Slack, or Zoom. These will help you stay in touch with your remote staff and track their progress. Schedule regular virtual meetings with your offshore team where you can clarify and resolve any concerns. This will also give you and your team a great opportunity to hone your communication skills with each other for better comprehension and collaboration. For example, you can schedule a twice-a-week staff meeting with offshore global teams in the Philippines to share updates and catch up on their tasks.
2. Take time to train
There are plenty of online educational resources to improve your team’s communication skills. Your company can provide your remote staff with access to Coursera or LinkedIn courses. Coordinate with your offshore service provider and reach out to Toastmasters, a renowned educational organisation with a global network of clubs that can offer public speaking and leadership training programs. Offshore global teams in Vietnam, for example, can avail of Toastmasters’ Speechcraft learning paths to improve their English-speaking skills. You can also work with the offshore staffing service to sign up potential leaders in your remote team for leadership training programs to elevate their skillset.
3. Conduct team-building activities
Set a schedule for team-building sessions with your offshore staff. Focus on activities designed to improve your remote team’s communication style and collaborative techniques. Offshore global teams in Malaysia, for example, can undergo team-building workshops organised between you and the offshore service provider. Try this one: Blind Design is a team-building activity that’s meant to improve your team’s ability to give and understand instructions. The person with the secret object should describe the item and instruct their colleagues on how to draw it. Afterwards, everyone can compare their drawings, discuss on the communication challenges that they’ve encountered, and how to resolve them.
4. Empathy is key
It’s natural that you and your remote team will go through a learning curve as you adjust to each other’s cultural and language differences. Understanding your team’s concerns can go a long way to smoothen the transition. Use examples that they can relate to so they can also understand you. Reassure your offshore staff that if they have any questions or clarifications, you are available to discuss this with them. Showing empathy helps to create a safe space for your staff to open up and voice their concerns, allowing better communication between you and your team.
An effective offshore team is willing to learn and they’re counting on you as a manager to guide them. Though mistakes can happen from time to time due to the language gap, it’s important that they’re given opportunities to improve their soft skills on communication – a vital element to offshore success.
A reliable offshore staffing solutions provider can guide you and your dedicated remote team in the onboarding process for a smooth integration to help bridge the gap. Partnering with an offshore service provider will also give your team access to various tools and training resources to help them excel in their roles which will add value to your business.
Build your global team with the expert offshore service provider in Australia
AS White Global has extensive experience with supporting business communities in Australia, New Zealand, US, and UK through professional offshore staffing solutions. We recruit exceptional talent with and build dedicated teams based in Vietnam, Malaysia, and the Philippines to fit your requirements and work culture.
One of our client partners – Koda Capital – recounts their successful offshoring experience with ASW: “ASW’s ability to find people to get them onboard is just so much easier that it is in Australia. We have been very lucky in that our first hire is quite exceptional, and her ability to build, maintain and retain a team has been really good. Our team leader did high school in Canada and then did her online degree at Melbourne University. That clearly had some bearing on her excellent communication English skills. But also, when we’re talking about accounting concepts using Australian standards, she knows all about them. Communication is smooth because you are literally speaking the same language.”
Learn more on how your business can grow further with our offshore staffing solutions. Book a free consultation with us today.