21
Dec
2021

How to Effectively Manage an Outsourced International Team

Nowadays, working hard is not to stay relevant in the industry your company is in. That’s because it will be challenging to catch up with competitors that are five or ten years ahead of you.

In order to survive, businesses should learn how to work smart. Working smart is simply using the available resources and choosing innovative options to improve your productivity as a company. One popular way you can do this is by outsourcing some of your business tasks and operations.

Outsourcing Non-Core Business Operations

When we say “outsourcing business operations,” it does not pertain to the core areas, such as the development or improvement of the product or service you provide. This refers to tasks that are needed to keep the company moving forward as a business organization. Some of the most common services that are outsourced to international teams these days include:

  • Customer services – Some companies outsource their customer support services to international partners to respond to customer queries 24/7.
  • Marketing – Outsourcing to a digital marketing agency can help you reach your target market even without a marketing department in your company.
  • Backend tasks – You may also outsource your bookkeeping and accounting tasks so you can take those off your checklist every day.
  • Human resource management – There are outsourcing companies that can handle all the HR tasks such as recruitment, payroll, promotions, and even terminations—sometimes, even without your knowledge.

Perks of Outsourcing Services

Working with an offshore partner or partners can help you achieve a lot of things; primary, it lets you give your full attention to work on your core services and operations. Many small companies that work with international outsourcing firms do not only achieve better efficiency; they also enjoy some of its benefits:

Skilled resources

Most outsourcing companies specialize in particular tasks and projects that address a business’s need, such as payroll, legal services, or tax filing. Unlike most startups, they have entire departments that handle these operations, and they always strive to do better for their business partners.

As a result, getting their outsourcing services will not just take a task off your shoulder but also yield improved and cost-effective results.

Cost-cutting

The workforce isn’t the only resource you need to do backend tasks—you will also need the right infrastructure and technology. Both hardware and software come with a price. However, when you start outsourcing some of these tasks, you won’t need to directly purchase these tools anymore because your outsourcing partner already has them (and if they don’t, you may want to reconsider hiring them).

24-hour operations

If you plan to work with an international outsourcing company, you can also benefit from the time zone difference. Imagine needing some documents and processes done by the end of the day and receiving the completed tasks as you start the next day. Also, as mentioned, this is useful in customer support.

Managing Your Outsourced International Team

While outsourcing has certainly changed the way companies handle their core and non-core operations, there are also quite a few challenges you should be aware of. Differences in work culture and perceived goals can sometimes affect the overall efficiency of outsourced tasks. Because of this, you must be capable of managing your outsourced team. Here are a few pointers on how to do this:

  • Acknowledge cultural differences – As the client company, you have to be aware that you are working with an international workforce. Take note that these skilled professionals come from different cultural backgrounds, so knowing more about them will help you work with them more efficiently.
  • Maintain communication – Humans are social beings, even when they are working online. That is why you should always maintain contact with the outsourced team. Specify what tools or channels may be used for specific concerns. For instance, a public chat room may be used for casual conversations and discussions. Emails are encouraged for more critical or formal correspondence.
  • Evaluate regularly – When working with a remote team, you must still monitor their work regularly. You may check them every few days or once a week just to make sure that you’re still on the same page in their assigned tasks or to see their progress.

  • Utilize collaboration strategies – If your international team members work independently from one another, their product outputs may not gel smoothly enough. This is why you need to encourage them to use collaboration strategies, just like what you’d do in an on-site team. Always remind them that they are part of your company and that each member is essential.

  • Create a balance between flexibility and consistency – Some outsourcing professionals prefer a flexible work schedule, and you should keep that in mind. However, while you are providing flexible schedules, you also shave to remind them to maintain consistency in terms of the quality of their work and submission of outputs.

  • Set up a project management system – Most outsourcing companies have their own project management systems where everyone can submit their outputs for the day to be reviewed by both the outsourcing manager and the client.

    However, if you are working with individuals rather than an outsourcing partner, you will need a project management system set up. This is very helpful in keeping track of operations even when you’re not in the same time zone.

Final Thoughts

Technology has definitely paved the way for business process outsourcing to achieve the popularity it has today. Even small startups can now enjoy the positive effects of outsourcing, which is a way to even the playing field against older, more established competitors.

By outsourcing customer support, programming, digital marketing, and even managed IT security, small businesses can reap the benefits of having skilled professionals, advanced infrastructure, and the latest tools.

However, all of these things come with a price—proper management. Whether you’re working with individuals or with a whole team, the idea is the same: you should spend time and effort to know these people as you would to an on-site team.

Sure, these professionals will do everything for you to retain them, but it all boils down to forging good working relationships. This isn’t rocket science, but being friendly and open with your team increases productivity and efficiency.

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