Advances of globalization and technological progress have driven outsourcing forward. Ease of communication allowed us to work remotely. In addition, the way we communicate in business has changed drastically as well.
Management of the outsourced team differs from managing your in-house team. The main pitfalls can be cross-cultural, language, and time zone differences. According to the research of SourcingFocus.com,
“28 percent of 1,000 respondents claimed that misunderstanding and ineffective communication is the major reason of the outsourced project failure.”
So, here are some tips on how to communicate with your outsourcing team effectively.
Set the Right Channels of Communication
The difference in time zone, bad connection, or language barriers, all these issues may result in a failure of the project. You should be able to contact a team member in any moment, so create effective channels of communication.
For example, when force-majeure situations appear, you need to contact the members of your outsourced team any time. Connect with them via social media and video chat.
Set Regular Meetings with Your Team
Even if your team is offshore, it doesn't mean you need to refuse having meetings with them. Via Skype or any other video chat, you can communicate with your team on the same level as nearshore employees.
The frequency of meeting depends on the team size or project. For example, you can have two following scenarios of meetings.
Scenario 1: Weekly. Client's time is saved – Project Manager is needed.
Scenario 2: Daily. A lot of client's time is needed - Project Manager is less required.
Also, you should use different channels of communication depending on various factors. For instance, use the e-mail for heavy data, Slack or Skype for quick messages and discussions. GoToMeeting you may use for conference calls and screen sharing.
Due to barriers in language, emails can help in preventing misunderstanding. Send all the information by email, such as meetings recap, propositions or any news related to the project to make sure nothings is going to be missed.
Don't Forget About Cross-Cultural Differences
This issue can become the major reason of any misunderstandings. According to the study of cross-cultural differences, there are high context cultures and low context cultures.
The high context cultures are more collectivist, relational, and interdependent. Indian, Arabic, or Asian regions are more likely to represent high context cultures. In high context cultures, one of the most valuable behaviors is to not ‘lose face', avoid confrontations, and save reputation.
In this culture, politeness is more significant than detail orientation or critics. Another significant issue is that high context culture tend to be with low racial diversity.
A low context culture refers to the American and European regions. This culture is more individualistic, where the focus is on figures and facts. In outsourcing, these differences may influence communication process.
Clarify all possible cultural differences, traditions, official holidays, and the way business runs in the country you outsourced to. The awareness of your team's culture and traditions will help you to plan and hire staff for the project.
Provide your employees with the language courses to decrease the language barriers. Also, you may get your company onboard with a cross-cultural awareness program.
Communication process with your outsourcing team is not a challenge if you know the right ways and right channels to talk to your team. Technological progress as well as globalization give us the opportunity to overcome difficulties in communicated with the team that is outside the office or even country.