Four approaches for better strategic integration with offshored team members
To create highly effective offshored teams it is important to fully integrate your teams, their processes and encourage active collaboration
Published 24 Oct 2018
One of the challenges with dispersed teams, including those you build through offshoring, is fully integrating your teams across your operational hubs. This is especially true on a strategic level and so this article will discuss four approaches you can take to better integrate your team at a strategic level within your organisation.
These are hopefully a solid basis to start from but I would love to hear your thoughts and what you have implemented within your teams too!
Where possible apply policies globally
There are some limits to this where legalities come into play, but where possible policies designed to improve engagement, interactions and organisational outcomes should be applied across all your teams. Consider how the implementation of updated labour laws may affect other regions.
If, for example, your working hours or leave entitlements for one region is mandated by law or research-based policy decisions, consider applying that to all teams globally, even where it may not be a legal requirement.
So consider the following policies being consistent globally;
- Leave entitlements including annual, bereavement, maternal and paternal
- Daily working hours
- Key performance indicators, goals and measurements
- Engagement activities such as company events & activities
- Dress codes and office facilities
Another recommendation that is going to have limitations based on how you are operating is to be as inclusive as possible. Ideally, you should plan your organisational activities in a way that as many people as possible can participate. If you are making an organisational announcement or running workshops, try to find a neutral time so that more teams across the world will be able to join in. If that is just impractical, consider the following options;
- Make the announcement or run the workshop via web conference
- Invite everybody, but advise those who are out of working hours that their attendance is desired but not required
- Record the announcement and make it available globally as quickly as possible (read: within minutes)
In the event that you are having a company event find ways to include others such as running simultaneous or rolling events globally, and have methods to connect with each other during the activities such as an open web conference area and encourage team members to interact through them.
Seek feedback globally before critical business decisions
If you are going through a process of seeking feedback from internal leadership and team members, ensure that you include everybody on parallel levels of the organisation globally. Irrespective of the fact that the decision will and will not affect those team members, they may be able to offer valuable insights and information that could influence the decision making processes.
Start by ensuring that;
- Feedback mechanisms are in place that supports online engagements and feedback
- Adequate information is provided to gather relevant feedback
- Adequate time is given for people globally to provide that feedback
Implement effective tools
I touched on tools a couple of times in this article and previously a number of times in other articles, but at the core of collaboration and effective global operations are the tools implemented to work together.
The age of sending emails with tens or hundreds of recipients is thankfully gone (hopefully!) but the decision processes regarding the tools we use to replace email are extremely important.
You should assess these tools and their success on the grounds of;
- Ease of use globally
- Access to information and the context required to understand it
- Ability to communicate effectively without jumping out of the tool (to send another email!)
- Ability to create virtual teams regardless of location
If your organisation is considering offshoring or setting up operations in another region, consider the above as strategic decisions and processes that need to be implemented to get the most out your new teams and ensure that all regions are working towards the same objectives and goals.
What initiatives have you implemented to support team integration across your teams?