Effective Communication: How to Get the Best from Your Outsourced Team

A representation of a globally outsourced team in different locations

Without effective communication, managing expectations, giving feedback, and collaborating effectively can be difficult. This can lead to project delays, misunderstandings, and, ultimately, a deterioration of the relationship between the organization and the outsourced team.

Key Takeaways:

  • Communication is essential for Talent Management and improved work experience
  • Without proper communication, managing an outsourced team can be difficult, hindering collaboration and derailing productivity
  • There are several ways to improve communication with an outsourced team, including regular check-ins, being aware of cultural differences, encouraging open and honest communication, and treating your team as an extension of your company
  • Celebrating successes together is a great way to show your team appreciation and maintain a good working relationship.
  • Partnering with an outsourcing provider that offers Talent Management solutions can make the process easier and help you achieve your organizational goals

Outsourcing has become a go-to strategy for many organizations looking to save on costs, access a global pool of talent, and have an undivided focus on their core business. According to Deloitte, global spending on outsourcing is projected to hit $731 billion in 2023, with the BPO market expected to hit $525 billion by 2030.

But while it offers many advantages, working with an outsourced team does have challenges. The biggest hurdle is often communication, which can be hampered by time differences, language barriers, and cultural differences. 

So how can you overcome these communication challenges and get the most out of your outsourced team? This detailed guide covers everything you need to know, from setting clear expectations to using the right tools and techniques.

Why effective communication is essential for managing an outsourced team

With poor communication linked to 70% of corporate errors, it’s no surprise that effective communication is vital for managing an outsourced team. After all, the success of any project depends on how well the team communicates.

When working with an outsourced team, there are four main areas where communication breakdown can occur:

  • Expectations: With clear expectations from the outset, it’s easier for the outsourced team to deliver what’s required. This can lead to frustration on both sides and, ultimately, a decline in productivity and quality of work.
  • Feedback: Giving feedback is essential for ensuring that the outsourced team is on track and meeting your expectations. But with different time zones, cultural differences, and language barriers, it can be challenging to give feedback effectively. This can lead to misunderstandings and disconnect between the team and the organization’s goals.
  • Collaboration: Effective collaboration is key to the success of any project. But when team members are located in different parts of the world, it can be difficult to coordinate work and share information effectively. This can lead to project delays, mistakes, and a loss of productivity.
  • Monitoring: With adequate monitoring, it’s easier to track the project’s progress and identify any problems early on. This can lead to cost and time overruns and delays in project completion.

Fortunately, there are several strategies you can use to overcome these communication challenges and get the most out of your outsourced team. According to a McKinsey report, effective communication can lead to a 20-25% increase in productivity as employees feel more connected to the company’s goals, receive timely feedback, and clearly understand their roles and responsibilities.

5 strategies for communicating effectively with an outsourced team

A business owner meeting with his outsourced team through teleconferencing

To reap the full benefits of outsourcing, it’s essential to establish effective communication with your outsourced team. The following five strategies will help you overcome communication challenges with an outsourced team and get the most out of your investment.

1. Define the objectives and expectations from the outset

The best way to avoid misunderstandings and miscommunication is to define the objectives and expectations from the outset. This means being clear about the goals of the project, the deliverables, and the timeline. It’s also essential to agree on the communication channels to be used, the frequency of communication, and who will be responsible for what.

Creating a project plan with clear objectives and expectations will help ensure everyone is on the same page from the start. It will also make it easier to measure progress and identify problems early on. This will help avoid confusion, frustration, and wasted time and effort.

2. Use the right communication tools and techniques

Due to distance and different time zones, choosing the right communication tools and techniques is essential. Email, instant messaging, video conferencing, and project management tools are great options for staying in touch with your team.

The communication tool you choose must be fit for the purpose. It should support the number of team members as well as the type and frequency of communication. It should also be user-friendly and reliable to avoid disruptions to the flow of communication.

When choosing a communication tool, consider the following:

  • Ease of use: The tool should be easy to use for everyone on the team. It should be user-friendly and have an intuitive interface. Effective communication is essential, so the last thing you want is for team members to struggle to use the tool.
  • Reliability: Disruptions to the flow of communication can be costly. The communication tool you choose should be reliable, have a good uptime record, and offer customer support in case of any problems.
  • Scalability: As the team grows, the communication tool should be able to support the increase in users. It should also be able to handle additional features and functions as the project progresses.
  • Cost: While cost is not the most important consideration, it’s worth considering the price of the communication tool and any additional costs, such as training and customer support. Some tools are free, while others charge a monthly subscription fee.

Encourage changes to communication tools and techniques as needed, taking into account your team’s feedback. Experiment with different tools and methods until you find the right fit for your team.

3. Schedule regular check-ins

Regular check-ins are essential for keeping everyone on track and ensuring the project is progressing as planned. Depending on the project’s needs, these can be scheduled weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly.

During the check-in, you can review the project progress, identify any issues or risks, and give feedback. This is also an excellent time to discuss any concerns or ideas team members may have. Your outsourced team should feel free to share their thoughts and suggestions openly.

The check-in format can vary, but it should be informal and relaxed. A video call is often the best option as it allows you to see each other’s faces and body language. This can help to build rapport and trust, which are essential for a successful working relationship.

Establishing a frequency for the check-ins is also essential to avoid overdoing or underdoing it. Too frequent check-ins can be disruptive, demotivating, and inhibit productivity, while those that are too infrequent can result in a lack of accountability and transparency.

4. Consider cultural differences and encourage open and honest communication

Cultural differences can impact how team members communicate, so it’s important to be aware of them and adjust your communication style accordingly. Before signing any contracts, take the time to learn about your team’s culture, communication habits, and values. Speaking the same language will also make it much easier to provide instructions and feedback through emails, chats, and video calls.

Open and honest communication is also essential for Talent Management. Team members should feel comfortable speaking up if they have any concerns or suggestions. Encourage them to openly share their thoughts and ideas and let them know their input is valued. This will help build trust, mutual respect, and a positive working relationship.

5. Treat your outsourced team as an extended part of your team and celebrate successes together

Finally, remember that your outsourced team is an extension of your company. You should treat them as such and include them in company events, celebrations, and other activities. This will help build camaraderie and brand loyalty and make them feel like they are part of the team.

Considering their recommendations will also help you get the most out of your outsourced team, as they have likely worked on similar projects before and understand the challenges that you may face. They can offer valuable insights and suggestions you may not have considered.

When the project is completed, take the time to celebrate the achievement together. This is an excellent opportunity to thank your team members for their hard work and dedication. A small bonus or incentive can also go a long way in motivating your team and maintaining a good working relationship.

Effective communication positively affects your employees’ productivity, engagement, retention, and loyalty, which are critical to the success of your teams, your organization, and your company culture.

Get the best from your outsourced team with DOXA

Effective communication is essential for efficient collaboration, improved productivity, and a successful working relationship with your outsourced team. Setting up a clear and concise communication plan from the start will help streamline processes and make Talent Management easier.

DOXA is a leading outsourcing provider committed to helping our clients access a vast global talent pool and achieve their organizational goals. We offer a wide range of Talent Management solutions, including employee onboarding, performance management, and training and development programs. Our team of experts will offer insights and recommendations tailored to your specific needs. To learn more about DOXA and our Talent Management solutions, contact us today.

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