Because of the business market today, 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. 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.
Along with a positive attitude, there are several other things you can do to get the most from your offshore employees. Here are 6 tips for managing offshore employees.
1. Schedule regular team meetings. 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.
2. Emphasize the larger goal. 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.
3. Communicate in different 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.