If you’re managing an offshore team, then you know that it can be challenging. There are time zone differences, cultural barriers, and language difficulties to deal with. You need to make sure that the project manager is ready to communicate with the offshore team daily so they feel supported. Communication is the key when it comes to managing an offshore team, and here are some tips on how you can manage yours well.
1. Be transparent with them.
If you want your team to be successful, you need to be transparent with them. This means letting them know what’s happening and what they must do. It also means being honest about how much work is required for specific tasks and when deadlines are coming up. Transparency is essential because it helps the team feel like they have a say in the process—and that’s an integral part of feeling engaged in their work.
2. Set clear goals and expectations.
You need to ensure that everyone on the team knows exactly what they’re supposed to be doing and why. That way, if one person needs help with a particular task, they can go to another team member who has already completed it successfully—and everyone will feel like they’re working toward a shared goal.
If you don’t set clear goals and expectations for your team members, you risk having them work in silos and not helping each other as much as they can.
3. Provide regular feedback.
When you’re managing an offshore team, it can take time to see the big picture. You might have dozens of people working on your project at any given time and only know a few of them by name. It’s easy to lose track of their progress—and even harder to stay in touch with how they feel about the project as a whole.
You need regular feedback: an opportunity for each team member to voice their opinions on the work they’re doing and how it fits into the bigger picture. This helps give them (and you) a sense of ownership over their work—and it also gives you an idea of where things are going wrong so that you can fix problems before they become too big.
4. Don’t micromanage them.
In a remote team environment, it can be tempting to micromanage. You’ll want to keep an eye on what your remote team members are doing and give them some tips. But if you’re not careful, this can have the opposite effect of what you intended: Instead of helping your team members get better at their jobs, they’ll feel like they’re being watched too closely.
Instead, focus on setting clear expectations for each task and giving them space to do it. If you need something done in a particular way, make sure everyone knows that—but then trust them to figure out how best to do it themselves!
5. Give them space to learn and grow on their own.
When you’re managing an offshore team, it’s easy to get caught up in the daily operations of the project. You want to ensure everything goes according to plan, so you spend much time checking in with your team members. But this can be counterproductive if you’re trying to build a strong team culture and a sense of ownership among employees.
Companies like SOPHI promote autonomy and ownership within offshore teams. By delegating tasks and providing efficient project management tools, SOPHI empowers team members to take ownership of their work. This approach fosters a strong team culture and engaged workforce, while intermittent time off from constant contact allows individuals to focus and contribute effectively.
6. Be prepared for cultural differences.
When you’re managing an offshore team, it’s essential to understand that there will likely be a lot of cultural differences between your team members and yourself. There will be different ways of communicating, working, and varied expectations.
There’s no getting around it—you’ll have to learn how to manage across cultures to succeed with an offshore team.
You can start by thinking about what your own culture is like: what do people expect from their managers? How much feedback do they need? Do they need a lot of support or autonomy? It can help you get into the right mindset when thinking about how your team might respond to these things.
7. Recognize and reward Initiatives.
You want to establish a culture of recognition in your offshore team management. This helps to motivate your team and also makes sure that they’re consistently receiving feedback on their work and performance.
Initiatives can be big or small, but they should consistently be recognized. An employee who takes the initiative to create a new process that saves time or money will be rewarded just as much as an employee who completes an assignment ahead of schedule.
Inevitably, running an offshore team is a challenging task. It requires more than just good management practices to succeed. You will also need the right tools and technologies to help you manage your team more efficiently and stay in close contact with your distributed teammates.