When it comes to outsourcing, one of the biggest mistakes we see managers and business owners make is failing to adequately onboard their offshore team and integrate them into their existing local team. This can lead to massive productivity issues, inefficiencies, communication failures, and has the potential to negatively impact your bottom line.
To prevent this from happening in your organisation, here are three key steps to onboarding your offshore team and integrating them with your local team:
- Develop a training plan
One of the most important things to do when hiring an offshore staff member is to engage with them straight away. Ensure you have a plan ready to go from day one that will outline exactly how they will be trained to do the tasks you require of them.
There is nothing worse for a new staff member than to turn up on the first day and have nothing to do; it makes them feel isolated and unwelcome, and creates a poor first impression.
A training plan can easily solve this problem using a simple spreadsheet outlining the following:
- The training topic
- The date and time as to when the training will be conducted
- A link or description as to what training material is required
- How the training will be delivered and by who (if relevant)
We often get asked by clients for recommendations on whether they should come to the Beepo office to deliver training to their offshore team face-to-face, or if they should do it remotely via communication portals like Skype or Zoom.
There are many benefits to visiting your offshore team in person to deliver training, but due to the nature of the computer-based tasks they will be performing, it’s definitely a legitimate strategy to deliver training remotely too - we have seen this be successful time and time again. Plus, as an added bonus, your offshore team member can record the training session and use it to create process documentation or training notes.
- Implement key results areas (KRAs) in place
KRAs are the outputs or outcomes you would expect from a specific role in your organisation. Basically, they’re the quantitative or qualitative results of the tasks and responsibilities of each role; found in the job description.
To identify what the KRAs are for each of your offshore team members, look at their individual tasks and responsibilities and then work out what your expectation would be in terms of productivity for a given period of time. For example: process 40 quotations per day, develop creative designs in line with corporate branding guidelines, etc.
It’s good practice to document these KRAs down as a reference in your organisation's process library. The KRA document for each role does not have to be complicated; it simply needs to include the service delivery requirements of the role, i.e the tasks and then the output. These can be listed in a two column spreadsheet.
When KRAs are in place, everyone knows the expectations of the role. Sometimes with onshore staff, KRAs are not used or believed to be that important. This is generally because you or your managers are onsite and physically monitoring staff performance. When it comes to managing remote teams, KRAs can be incredibly useful in ensuring you and your offshore team understand what is required in the role at all times. Once KRAs are set up, it’s good practice to monitor performance and provide regular feedback and assistance to your staff
To help, download our KRA template.
- Inject your organisation’s culture into your offshore team
By this stage of your offshoring journey, all of your onshore staff should be familiar and comfortable with the idea of having an offshore team. However, they may still be unsure about what this means for them. It’s important to address this as soon as possible, as negative sentiment within your team can make the whole process much harder. Luckily, it’s very easy to manage this.
The most effective way is to make your onshore team personally responsible for training and managing your offshore staff. This is effective because your onshore team will become invested with ownership of the whole process and will very quickly understand the capability of the offshore team, therefore, realising how this is going to make their life much easier.
Bring your offshore team into your office with technology
With today’s technology, offshoring has become extremely easy, so you need to get familiar with it and use it well to get the most out of your offshoring solution. Set up a large LED TV with Skype or Zoom (or any other video/web conferencing platform you prefer), and have the connection permanently open in your main onshore work area, directly connecting your offshore staff and office.
This creates an active portal at all times between both locations and will encourage both teams to talk to each other, discuss issues and help each other out. If you don’t think your onshore team is ready for this step then ensure all relevant staff have Skype or Zoom open on their desktops and make themselves available to answer instant messages or quick video calls from your offshore team.
At the end of the day you’re trying to create the sense that everyone is in the same physical space.
Alternatively, you can set up a IP phone system in your organisation to allow for ease of communication with allocated number ranges and corresponding extension numbers.
This brings both offices closer together, as your onshore staff can then speak to your offshore staff via their IP phone simply by calling the appropriate local extension with no call cost associated with it. Furthermore, if your offshore team members are required to make outbound calls to customers, suppliers, prospects, and so on, they can also do this through your own domestic phone system.
Where to from here?
Now that you’ve learnt some strategies on how to best onboard your offshore staff and integrate them into your existing team, you’re well on your way to leveraging incredible growth potential within your organisation and building a sustainable competitive advantage - positioning you as a frontrunner in your industry.
If you’re finding it difficult to manage the cultural differences between your two teams, download this eBook.