If you had to choose the single most impactful decision to help your business grow exponentially, what would it be?
We live in a world where we are either growing rapidly or stagnating. Research shows that the single most important decision business owners make to help them change their fortunes is strategically designing systems of delegation.
Partnering up with an offshore team gives you access to talent tools with precision in a way that was not possible before. In fact, a report by Fortunly claims that “78% of businesses all over the world feel positive about their outsourcing partners.”
I mean, who wouldn’t feel positive about their outsourcing partnership if it resulted in more time, resources and energy to pursue bigger projects and better clients?
There is a question just begging to be asked here.
What is stopping the remaining 22%?
Of course, there are many challenges that businesses face before hiring an offshore team. It is understandable that if you have burnt your hands working with poor quality talent from offshore teams in the past, you may be reluctant to hire a new vendor. We suspect that many of the remaining 22% above have had the misfortune of working with an inexperienced managed services provider.
Having weathered the ups and downs of the outsourcing industry for nearly 15 years, we strongly believe that the quality of service, management and talent that we provide are directly proportional to our customer satisfaction levels. No rocket science here!
In addition to previous negative experiences, many businesses in developed countries are also reluctant to give virtual offshore teams a try because of outdated myths circulating within the market about working with outsourcing teams. As many novice players have started to crop up in the market over the past couple of years, newer myths have also surfaced based on the experiences these outsourcing companies provide.
It is no secret that inexperienced providers diminish trust in offshore services. The misconceptions that result from these negative experiences hold businesses back from using offshore teams to their fullest potential. Read on to see how these myths impact offshore outsourcing culture and what we can do to improve offshore business relationships.
These myths raise concerns about productivity and collaboration among companies looking to hire an offshore partner. Many myths may stem from real experiences that businesses have encountered with inexperienced or poorly run offshore teams. At one point in time, the logical option would just be to eschew offshore managed services altogether.
But times have changed.
In this blog, we set out to look at how the offshoring industry has changed over the years to see if there were any myths out there that we can debunk!
Offshore team culture has been around for a while. So, despite the fact that team culture is being transformed, language barriers are coming down and technology is drawing the working world closer together than ever before, myths about virtual teams are still abundant.
Understanding the realities, not just the ‘benefits’ about working with an offshore team, can help businesses build a truly meaningful, mutually beneficial partnership with their managed services provider. By the end of this article, we hope that we can provide an authentic perspective on offshore team collaborations for 2021 and beyond by examining popular myths about remote teams, and debunking those that are no longer relevant.
Offshore Myth 1
Offshore teams are unaccountable
When talking about offshore work, the dramatic stereotype propagated by TV shows like “Outsourced” or maybe some lazy guy waffling around carelessly during work hours goofing off with his team members while the team manager is unaware of what is going on at the other end. Such a waste of time.
One of the main worries for those considering working with an offshore team is that the productivity of team members will solely be dependent on supervision and on-site control. Businesses may indeed find the transition while outsourcing operations to geographically far-away offices difficult at first – especially when it comes to setting up reporting and accountability. Read on to see how this myth about offshore productivity can be turned around for a more accountable, growth-oriented reality.
Highly accountable, process-oriented staff
While the lazy, poorly qualified overseas chap may have been a hilarious trope ten years ago, things are radically different today. Not only is the average offshore worker highly qualified, but he will also likely be highly professional, accountable and productive. In the modern age of time tracking tools, message boards and websites such as Slack, G-suite and Hubstaff, there are many ways to manage offshore workers and monitor productivity without having to be in the same room.
In fact, over the last ten years, we have found that process-oriented teams do far better on productivity metrics than even goal-oriented teams. The key is to hold employees accountable by establishing a flexible process. Surprisingly, helping people focus on the mouse at hand, helps take the anxiety of the mammoth goal looming ahead. As a result, employees are less stressed and more motivated to do the job they were assigned.
Businesses using productivity metrics to measure performance may find that offshore team members can be more productive than expected. This is because offshore teams are not only highly qualified, highly productive but also actively contributing to better business alignment & streamlined business processes on both sides.
Offshore Myth 2
Ain’t nobody got time for communication!
If you believe that offshore teams are difficult to communicate with, you may not be alone. In the early days of call centers, communication was indeed a sore spot for many global partnerships. However, as technology rapidly evolved, so too did the communication skills of offshore employees – all the way from agents to managers! Offices are no longer limited physical locations – but your manager and colleagues are still just a desk away – ensuring quick query redressal. However, if the team members are not in a rhythm of regular communication, important work can slip through the cracks. Read on to see how lack of offshore communication is a myth – and how modern tools are helping virtual teams communicate better than ever.
Better communication skills nurture realistic expectations
Physical proximity may no longer be a prerequisite for effective communication – but regular contrast is essential. Back when people had limited means of connecting, communication issues were a real problem. Today, research shows that offshore teams talk early, talk often and talk in detail about everything from deadlines to accountability to process improvement. According to HubSpot, a majority of people say that they are in touch with their direct virtual supervisor on an everyday basis – if not several times per day. Not only does frequent communication allow for better quality work, but it also allows businesses to set clear expectations about the scope of work to be delivered. Applications like G-drive, Slack, Skype and Zoom are great tools to ensure productive communication. The truth is that while virtual communication tools are ubiquitous today, training offshore staff to communicate regularly, respectfully and clearly will allow teams on either side of the pond to set realistic expectations and achieve common goals.
Offshore Myth 3
Say goodbye to interdisciplinary collaboration
Maybe communication is not such a huge issue for you with basic jobs like scheduling and data entry, but what about the tasks that require a deeper level of teamwork and collaboration? Where there is a need to exchange ideas and share technical information regularly, it can be challenging to keep everyone on the same page without a standard process of interdisciplinary collaboration. Without established collaborative workflows, you may even come up against problems such as duplication and data loss. Read on to see why you need not say goodbye to collaborative work – and how you can use the power of virtual teams to streamline workflows.
Adopt collaborative workflows for increased productivity
The good news is that collaboration need not suffer if your offshore team members can be trained to work in synergy with your existing business workflows. Ring Central states that 63% of managers say that team creativity and innovation have been unimpacted in the course of offshore working. In fact, 59% of managers claim that teamwork has improved when dealing with offshore team workers. If you have clear interdisciplinary workflows and assignment of responsibility, platforms like Visio can be a great tool to help assign and define responsibilities across team members.
Offshore Myth 4
Offshore reporting structures are non-existent
Managing virtual employees need not entail micromanaging their activities while hovering over their virtual shoulders. The employer may not feel like they need to have such a rigorous level of involvement unless the virtual employee (just like any employee) has done something to create a level of distrust. However, such cases are rare in our experience. Usually, setting up stringent reporting structures and employee hours tracking can help anyone manage offshore teams with minimum disruption. Read on to see how you can install strong reporting structures to ensure virtual team accountability.
Accountable structures provide room for growth
The only times you really need to micromanage people are in the early days of training or if an employee gives you a reason to doubt their honesty. There are some general performance metrics that you can track in order to ensure virtual team productivity. These metrics include the number of deadlines met, the quality of the work produced, goals achieved or tickets resolved. Using a project management process can help you track and measure performance across the board. From our past experience, we have noticed that for clients who have complex virtual staffing needs, putting in clear accountability structures and measures of performance actually allows virtual employees to feel engaged and inspired – leading to mutual growth in the long run.
Offshore Myth 5
Offshore teams only offer technical support
Historically, offshore work has been accepted widely as the support services backbone of the IT sector. Sure, data entry and 24×7 customer service are still offered by remote teams. However, this scope has expanded beyond general technical help to specialized software development, creative services and even process work. In fact, recent statistics show that 64% of outsourced services are related to software application development. Fortunly states that 37% of all accounting and IT tasks get outsourced. Digital marketing tasks follow at 34%, with development and human resources at 28%.
Offshore teams are more diverse than you can imagine
While IT development roles remain a popular offshore work niche, virtual teams can also be recruited for sales and marketing, product development, creative work and customer interface. Today, entire divisions can be delegated to virtual teams. You would be surprised at the range of services that can be efficiently delegated from research to bookkeeping to creative services and even business strategy development.
Burning the midnight oil for better business opportunity
At the beginning of this blog, we set out to explore the myths surrounding offshore team culture. Our main aim was to burn the midnight oil on your behalf so that we can illuminate the realities and help you grow your business. Many of the pervasive myths about offshore teams are slowly dying out as more and more people test and enjoy the freedom, resources and time are freed-up as a result of delegating work to a virtual team. The advantages of hiring offshore employees are hard to ignore in light of the digital transformations taking place in every sector of the developed world. Today, offshore teams can fill all types of work roles. Need someone to schedule your clinic appointments? There’s an offshore team for that. Need someone to keep your construction site safe? There’s an offshore team for that. Need to craft onboarding strategy, craft pitch decks and present to investors for your startup? Well, yes, there’s an offshore team to support you on the grunt work with that too.
For those looking to improve their business processes and free up valuable resources to grow their business by expanding their clientele, the following tools are helpful for managing offshore teams successfully.
In this article, we explored a few common myths and misconceptions about offshore workers that need to be dispelled before a company can embrace this growing business strategy.
At Technomine, we firmly believe that the early myths about virtual teams were learning blocks that helped us improve our managed services. When we started offering offshore services nearly 15 years ago, there were few players – and even fewer that were qualified to offer quality services. As more and more people join the offshore services business, good quality or well-experienced offshore teams are difficult to come by.
With years of experience under our belt when the pandemic hit, Technomine was fortunate to already have a strong history of component service across industries like recruitment, video surveillance, records retrieval, accounting and much more. While we have had a strong couple of years when it comes to growth, we are also proud of our longstanding relationships with clients across continents – and continue to champion better quality managed services. Experience is a precious teacher, and we have learned that when our clients grow, we grow too. Quality is an essential factor when it comes to offering virtual team services – a factor that no service provider – offshore or onshore – should compromise upon. If you have any questions about working with a managed services provider to help you grow your business, talk to one of our experienced managers by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.