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Creating such diverse teams has a myriad of advantages for businesses and their overall growth trajectories in the future. However, one has to ask a few important questions regarding building and managing offshore development teams that are out of the traditional office setup.
Many businesses are struggling with the challenges of building and managing a global tech team in 2023. And if you are one of them, here are a few important concerns that you must address to ensure that you are on the right path towards a better, more talented, and inclusive global offshore development teams and workforce.
So let’s start with the most important and pressing question of the day:
International business opportunities have paved the way for businesses to conduct business operations, launch new products, and acquire new customers around the world. It is possible, thanks to technology, to conduct business across diverse countries, time zones, and even cultures. As many opportunities as it brings for businesses, it also brings many challenges in terms of diversity in the workforce.
A research study from McKinsey states that businesses that have a diverse workforce perform better, grow faster, keep hiring better workforce, and make more engaged employees than other businesses that do not focus on a creatively diverse, inclusive workforce.
We always say that every business is a replica of the society that we live in. In introspection, if we are not a diverse business, the very idea of a company being a slice of society fades away. The world is a complex, interconnected place where diversity is the very fabric of reality, which is further fortified by modern technologies, social media spaces, and globalization.
Therefore, creating a diverse workplace is not a choice but an imperative for businesses that want success. This is where diversity in the workplace becomes a strong asset that businesses can leverage for growth. Such a diverse, inclusive business environment can often foster strong innovations and empathy that most homogenous workplaces hardly have time for. That’s why hiring offshore development teams has become an integral part of any growth strategy for businesses.
Every business wants to appeal to every person in their target demographics. Diversity has now moved from racial, cultural, and gender constraints. It is now about people that have diverse religious beliefs, political affinities, academic backgrounds, socio-economic upbringings, sexual orientations, and even disabilities. As such, diversity promotes cultural interactions which can make innovations happen. Innovations, indeed, can disrupt current business and world dynamics and make ways for better, more efficient business conduct.
After all, that’s what businesses need, isn’t it?
Every day, more businesses are on the way to developing a geographically dispersed workforce for their projects depending on the requirements. As a result, the approach of these businesses towards building and managing a global tech team has to always take a modern approach. Thanks to the changing landscapes of technology and global business opportunities, it is high time that businesses have approached building a high functional global tech team in a modern capacity. All the tech that businesses use to go about their daily functions and manage their workforce from around the world requires the coordination and interactions of tech teams from diverse parts of the world.
This is exceedingly true in the case of businesses operating in the global spectrum. According to McKinsey, the current pandemic has encouraged businesses to adopt technology at higher than ever anticipated rates:
Not only do businesses have started using technologies to interact with customers and solve their concerns, but they have also integrated technology deeply into their operations, as well. The growing preference of businesses to have their employees work from the safety of their homes is a cue of this changing attitude of businesses. The pandemic has shown that most employees are able to perform much better when working from home than when they are on a typical 9-5 schedule.
The same goes for global offshore development teams as well. And businesses that are keen on creating the best tech teams for their business need to rely extensively on modern technologies as well.
While that may sound like huge investments, it is the need of the hour, indeed. Further, the advantages it brings for the businesses far outweigh the investment risks. Even then, there are opportunities to improve. A study conducted recently by Inkling Inc. in about 10,000 employees infers that 94% of them use emails to communicate with their teammates. Although it is absolutely fine to use email to communicate, emails take a longer turnaround time for replies. This puts them right under the delayed communication format.
On the other hand, if they shift to using instant-messaging platforms and videoconferencing technologies, they would be more efficient in their communication.
It will also reflect highly in the overall performance of the team, and the business at large, undoubtedly.
It will also reflect highly in the overall performance of the team, and the business at large, undoubtedly.
While global businesses need to have adequate teams to meet their project requirements and keep delivering on their promises to the clients, managing them is not easy. After all, they are not in the same office as you may be. And they also belong to different belief systems, cultural upbringing, and even social norms. Hence, the challenges are real. And they can be challenging for the business, as well.
With more businesses trying to have remote working as their priority, these challenges are only going to get even more troubling:
If you are a business that is looking forward to building a strong global tech team, you must understand the challenges that come with not just finding the right talent but also managing offshore development teams, at large.
Here are a few important ones:
Every project manager who would have led remote teams through a project execution would agree with all their heart that it is never a walk in the park. Scheduling tasks, timely communication, performance tracking, and ensuring compliance with project specifications are beyond challenging. It becomes all the more aggravating if your teams do not share the same office space that you do.
Although these are great project management tools that can help you alleviate some of these pains to an extent with diverse communication tools, you would agree that they are just balms. And not a solution to the pain itself.
Ineffective communication can lead to the project being off-track and even to slow decision-making that can completely jeopardize the project execution and its timely deliverance.
Differences in an employee’s upbringing and cultural backgrounds can affect their expectations regarding their compensations. There are locations where new employees would like to have a detailed discussion about their compensation packages along with what they bring to the table for the businesses. However, there are also those new hires, despite bringing tremendous experience, who may not be inclined to negotiate their compensation packages.
However, as a business that wants to navigate these murky waters to ensure that everyone is fairly compensated, you have a pretty tough job, to say the least. Therefore, it is important to stay sensitive to the cultural and social backgrounds of the new hires.
After all, dissatisfaction associated with compensation can lead your top talent to leave your business. And that is not something that you want.
There is no doubt that talent onboarding is a crucial aspect of making the new employees at home. It helps new hires familiarize themselves with the company, its policies, corporate culture, and values. Talent onboarding is considered by many experts to be the most important opportunity for businesses to create lasting impressions on their employees. This will decide if the talent is going to stay with a business or jump ship in a couple of years.
However, there are common challenges faced by the Human Resource Department in carrying out effective onboarding processes for new employees:
Although there are technological solutions that can take away these concerns to an extent, every business leader must prepare for some kind of turbulence.
Complying with local labor rules and regulations is another trying challenge that a business has to meet while building a global team. The business has to be aware of the laws, the dynamics of the same, and also the changes happening from time to time. No business can ignore these laws, and any lapses would be expensive and detrimental to the continued operations of the business.
Different countries would have different and unique labor laws depending upon their government, cultural elements, and overall economic situations of the country. Having deep knowledge of the labor laws of each country and their impact on businesses must be analyzed and studied.
On the other hand, if you are looking to develop an offshore development team, the company that you work with will have all the labor laws figured out. As they would mostly have employees from a single country, it would be easier for them to manage.
The success of any project is comprehensively dependent on the coordination between the teams and the accountability that they have for the tasks they carry out. In a regular, local office set-up, it becomes easier for the team lead to bring that coordination and accountability due to their proximity. However, if the teams are dispersed across multiple continents, it is a different challenge altogether. With software development being the most outsourced IT function, which requires constant coordination and evaluation, it becomes extremely important for businesses to have adequate levels of coordination and accountability.
Without adequate coordination between the teams and timely accountability, no software development project, or any project for that matter, can take off. Even if it manages to take off, it would not be nearly efficient, timely, or even value-adding.
However, coordination and accountability will come naturally if you have an offshore development team for you. When you associate with an offshore development team, as their primary task is to provide you with offshore development help, they would already be equipped with everything from technologies to strategies, and project control measures.
Diversity has become an integral part of any business that wants long-term success. In fact, it is reported in a study conducted by McKinsey and Company in 2018 that businesses that have executive teams with gender diversity are much more likely to over-perform 21% on profitability and 27% more likely to deliver higher value for their customers.
Therefore, it becomes extremely important for businesses to close their cultural gaps as quickly as possible to ensure that they are on the right path towards success and growth. It has been underlined time and again that candidates look for businesses that have an inclusive and diverse workforce to join. During times such as these when the tech talent crunch in the world is getting only worse, it is a serious situation for businesses to be turned down by top talent in the name of diversity and inclusiveness. The days are gone when companies had the upper edge in hiring talent. Now, the game has shifted in favor of talent as there are businesses with exceptionally value-adding diverse talent and inclusive culture to pick from. This makes it easier for talents to gravitate towards such businesses where they can identify with people who are from similar ethnicities, cultures, sexual orientations, and religious beliefs.
If you are a business that wants to carve a global team, the first thing you need to work on will be your diversity elements. Getting these right will bolster the confidence in your current and potential employees.
Although businesses have been looking at remote working as a viable option to face the challenges of tech talent scarcity for a long time, it was the pandemic that pushed businesses to the edge. According to a study published by Glassdoor, people are aggressively looking for remote work options. In just two years from June 2019 to June 2022, the online share of people searching for remote positions has gone up 360%.
This underlines the fact that remote working is here to stay—pandemic or not. Therefore, it becomes extremely important for businesses to build a culture of trust among their remote workforces. Since these teams must work on a range of projects together, communicate well, support each other, and move forward as a team, the element of trust has to be there. As they do not see each other every day and share a cup of coffee at the cafeteria like in the old days, it would be extremely difficult for them to cultivate the trust and feeling of kinship with each other.
However, as a business that depends on their performance, you need to nurture that trust. This is imperative for any business that wants to build a world-class offshore development team to manage its projects and keep growing.
Here are a few ways that you can leverage to build trust and excel in managing offshore development teams:
As you would be developing a global team, they would naturally be hesitant to be involved with the team in the early stages. They would take the time to blend with the team and start interacting with each other in a much more meaningful way. However, you need to be proactive in your approach with them. One of the most effective ways to excel in managing offshore development teams is to show that you are a reliable person as their leader. You must invoke that sense of security in them. And this needs to happen regularly without fail. Showing that they can rely on you as a leader and that you will always be there to support them consistently makes them even more trustful and committed to the team. This would naturally flow out to any project that you would undertake along the way as well.
On the other hand, failing to support your team and showing hints of being not reliable can be counter-effective to everything that you may be trying to achieve with the team. This can range from missing on tasks, falling behind schedule, and even in the team falling apart.
If you are setting up a team to work on multiple projects, you must show the team members that you are confident in their ability and the unique insights that they bring to the table. This is extremely important for each of the team members, especially in the long term. Every person that you will be hiring, no matter what cultural, national, and economic background they come from, would want to make you proud, the team proud. However, the chances are high, despite their best efforts and commitment, they may fail. And you need to be patient with them to get to a level where they excel. It is your job as a leader to show that you have your full confidence in each of the team members and the team as a whole to execute the projects that they are assigned to. If you do not show that you are confident in the team at their first missteps itself, then the entire team set-up is destined to fail sooner or later.
The confidence of the leader in the team is largely associated with the success or failure of a team. This is the major reason why people often leave managers and not businesses.
While building a team and managing it, being transparent with the team members is one of the important requirements for the team to build trust among them. When a leader is transparent with what is happening in the business and the field concerning the project and other matters, the team would naturally feel a sense of belonging. This would encourage them to be more trusting. On the other hand, if they feel that their leader is constantly hiding something and is not fully transparent with them, this can spiral into a snowball that can wreck the entire team. Therefore, one of the major aspects of getting the team to build trust in the team, each member of it, and in yourself as a leader, you need to be more transparent.
Your global team members might have diverse upbringing and work cultures before becoming a part of your team. And this can affect their response to you being not transparent in more ways than you might anticipate.
No matter how great a team you have with you, not everyone will perform as expected. Therefore, you must share demonstrable progress happening in the project. At the same time, you also need to ensure that underperforming members are given special support and coaching. This will not only ensure that the performing members are not feeling the entire weight just because another member is not performing up to the mark but also give the underperforming members the much-needed direction.
Such exercises over some time will establish that you are genuinely interested in the team’s performance and growth. This will certainly ensure trust from all members of the team.
Most people say that communication is the biggest challenge in remotely managing offshore development teams. Well, it is true to a certain extent. With many IT communication tools, if you are willing to make communication your strongest forte, you can always do that. There are numerous IT tools that you can leverage to build a strong communication channel for the team. In addition to that, there are also performance appraisal, task management, and scheduling tools available that you can use to effectively lead the team.
It is stated that businesses with better communication are likely to retain their top talent by about 4.5 times over those companies that fail to properly communicate with their teams.
This will help the team understand that you are committed to communicating with the team and helping them carry out the project in the best way possible. This will pave the seeds for the team to develop and sustain trust among the team.
Just because your teams are virtual and scattered, it does not mean that you cannot build interpersonal relationships with your team. It is more important to do so in a remote work setup. Develop a virtual space that can replace the daily interactions that happen in a regular office set-up. Motivate your team members to share their personal experiences, like how they spent their weekend, the latest movie they watched, and how their family is doing.
Such interactions will create a kinship among the team and this can lead to the members trusting each other more with the project. You as a business leader would need this from the team to ensure that your business goals are met.
Taking advantage of the many technologies available today is one of the best ways to improve the efficiency of your company’s globalization efforts. In fact, it is the advent of reliable, value-adding, and cutting-edge technologies that enable businesses in the first place to look for global talent. Although businesses did have a range of perceived barriers to technology adoption, the pandemic has ensured that all such barriers did not matter in the run for survival.
It has been reported by Statista that major challenges that businesses were facing about adopting technology to their businesses were related directly to the workforce and management of the business.
They say the following reasons to be the most challenging ones:
—Skills gaps in the local labor market
—Inability to attract specialized talent
—Skills gaps among leadership
Even though businesses have their inhibitions, they have begun to adopt technologies at a much faster rate than they would have if the pandemic had not happened.
Statistics show that businesses are adopting technology at a faster rate now than during the pre-COVID era. The report by McKinsey shows that here:
There are a plethora of tools that businesses can use extensively to collaborate with their teams working from different geographical locations in the world.
Such tools as Zoom, Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet are used by most businesses to great success.
Apart from these video conferencing tools, there are multiple, extensive project and performance management tools available for businesses to take advantage of. Adopting such technologies and tools can make it easier for businesses to not just build global teams but do extremely well in managing offshore development teams, as well.
Everything in the global business community is changing—from technology adoption to hiring global talent, to creating diverse business environments to how people are working. And the trends are here to stay. The best thing a business can do to ensure that it stays on the right path and adapt to these changes is to embrace them when it arrives.
Transformation and growth are two important, fundamental aspects of any business. Whether you are a small business, a start-up, or an MNC, if you refuse to change and grow, you will be taken out of the equation altogether, ultimately.
That’s why it is important for you to keep in the know of the trends in the global workforce in the near future and understand its importance in growing your business as a global brand:
As you can see, these trends will have lasting impressions on your business and the way you look at your teams, as well. With global talent taking the frontline as the most important workforce for businesses, you need to be ready to welcome the talent in the best way possible to your business when the time comes.
As you are aware, the world of business is changing everywhere. The reasons for the same are many—the pandemic played its part; growing, advancing technologies have played its roles; and changing societal norms have also fed into the same. And as a business, it is important that you do, too. They say that a true leader is a person who influences others while being open to being influenced by them, as well. The same goes for your business, too. While it is extremely important that you influence the corporate world as a brand and business, it is equally imperative that you stay open to being influenced by the changes happening in the world. Whether these changes are social, economic, or cultural, you need to stay amidst these changes. Not because your business needs to grow and outrun the competition (Yeah, that too), but more importantly you need the best people in your business, working for you. Not having the right, skilled, happy workforce will negate everything that you might otherwise have. If you have the right people, you can bring everything else gradually. So your priority should be in building a diverse, satisfied, and reliable team, and the rest will come to you.