Connecting With Your Offshore team
Investing in your outsourcing project is a major factor in its success, particularly when it comes to communication. Here are five tips to increase communication with your offshore team:
Make regular contact
Building a trusting relationship from the start is crucial. Invest time to explain the business, role expectations and how you will communicate. Ongoing contact is equally as important but can be one of the first things to get neglected when things become busier. Keeping in contact to see how things are going should be one of your priorities to avoid any minor mistakes that could escalate to big problems.
Focus on the conversation, not the language
English is a multi-faceted language, and it’s not standardised. Acknowledge that Filipino English has its own neologisms and structure. English is the official business language of the Philippines but be aware of your accent and vernacular which may not be translated globally.
If you don’t understand a word or phrase, clarify, and encourage them to do the same with you. But if your employee uses a singular in place of a plural, or uses a noun as a verb, let it go. You know what they mean, they know what they mean, and that’s the purpose of conversation.
In time conversation will become easier. Your offshore staff will be able to communicate more freely with you when they understand your common words. Share common vernacular and phrases and explain what they mean. You will find your employees will feel part of the team and will be excited to learn your slang.
Know a bit about Filipino pastimes
In the Philippines, there tends to be more of a separation between work and the rest of someone’s life. Your remote staff might be hesitant to answer when you ask them an open-ended question about what they did on the weekend. That’s why it is useful to know a bit about common pastimes. In the Philippines, basketball is the most popular sport. A lot of young men have a favourite NBA team, and many play socially. Using basketball as a way to ease into conversation can help forge a connection with your remote staff.
Be sensitive about certain topics
Even if you work for a company where the culture involves a lot of in-depth discussion about current events, politics, and other subjects which divide opinion – it is better to stay away from some subjects with your remote staff. Politics, particularly, is a touchy subject in the Philippines. Another topic to keep away from is religion. The Philippines is a heavily Catholic country due to the years of Spanish colonial rule, and in some remote regions people practice Islam.
Include the rest of your staff
A remote team is an extension of your office so as a manager or owner, it is important you keep in contact with all your staff. Inclusion shouldn’t fall entirely on the shoulders of senior employees. Encourage your domestic employees to introduce themselves to their new offshore colleagues and to include them in any office banter through messaging apps.
Specifically engaging the entire staff in both countries with teamwork exercises is a good way to get people talking. Ideas that have worked well for other workplaces are language swaps and puzzle challenges.
When you outsource with Deployed, we don’t leave you floundering trying to connect with your remote staff. Through dedicated managers both here and in the Philippines we work with you to establish useful communication with your staff. We’ll help both you and your employees feel like one team, just in two locations.