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3 ways to tell if your offshore team is working hard for you


So you have an offshore team.... It could be a team run by an offshore partner on your behalf, or it could be your own in-house offshore team. They could be in India, or Bulgaria, or Vietnam, or where-ever. How do you tell if they are working hard for you? Often a difficult task, as out of sight is out of mind, and you can't look over their shoulders on a frequent basis.

1 - Talk to the team

And by this I mean not just the management team, but talk to the folk at the coal face i.e. the finance clerks, or infrastructure support engineers or software designers, or whatever sort of hopefully productive people you have offshore.

What you need to ascertain is WHY they think they are working... It could be just for the money, or because they want to please their manager or peers, or because it is something that they believe in. In an ideal scenario, you want them to be working for something they believe in - this is why some people work fervently for charities etc... It is a cause they believe in & they will do whatever it takes to get a positive outcome.

Obviously as a commercial concern they are not going to be working for free like a charity, but if they are not talking about their purpose in the same way you might, then either their management team has not sold the vision & goals correctly to them, or even worse, you have not sold the vision & purpose to the senior management team offshore. At a minimum, you want to hear that they have faith in their management team & are doing it for them.

If you are not hearing your vision reflected back to you, then you need to take action!

2 - What are they concerned about? And how are they addressing these concerns?

People just cranking the handle act differently than people trying to get results. Take a look at the concerns or problems they have and see what, if anything, they are doing about it.

  • Are they trying to fix things?

  • And are they fixing symptoms or root causes?

  • Are they doing this proactively because they care about the result?

  • Have they been allocated time to "sharpen the saw" at all?

  • Are there "Thought Leaders" that think about why & root causes?

If people are not "sharpening the saw" as well as cranking the handle (should that be "sawing the wood"?), then again, you need to take some action!

3 - You get what you measure

So pretty much everyone does this... Clearly you need a Service Level Agreement, with metrics & standards etc. But you need to make sure that you are measuring for results rather than just tasks performed.

With measures, often less is more - It's easy to put so many measures in place that the team will get lost and distracted about what is most important. So either make clear priorities in the SLA, or make sure it is simple enough to be intuitive without being so oversimplified to be ambiguous.

Design of the SLAs and what your Governance looks like to manage this will be essential - do it wrong and you could be promoting the wrong actions & results.

Check you have Continuous Improvement measures in your SLAs as well as widget production measures, and that you have the RIGHT widget production measures. If not, then take action!

Bottom Line

Make sure the supposedly productive people know WHAT they are supposed to do and more importantly WHY they need to do it. Make sure they have the knowledge, freedom and motivation to "get it right". Measure how well they are doing

Understand how well your teams are doing? Need some help with this? Click here for some assistance.

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