5 Best Practices on Working with a Diverse (Remote) Team

A team of diverse workers collaborating on a project through a web meeting.

Working with a remote team can be tricky for a number of reasons. Here are some practical tips that will help make your remote team collaboration smooth sailing.

Key Takeaways

  • Working with a diverse remote team is an excellent way to tap into a deep global talent pool and access high-quality work at reduced costs while still paying above-average wages
  • Bridging the cultural divide between remote teams can be difficult without the right tools and processes
  • Cultural competency is essential for remote team collaboration, as it allows team members to interact effectively with people from different cultures
  • Defining roles and responsibilities, setting realistic goals and expectations, and providing adequate training are all essential factors in establishing and managing a successful remote team
  • Open, frequent, and proactive communication is key to bridging the geographical divide and ensuring everyone is in the loop

With today’s dynamic and diverse work environment, more businesses are tapping into global markets by working with remote teams. Offshoring several business processes help companies access high-quality talent, reduce operation costs, and scale faster.

However, bridging the cultural gaps can be challenging, especially when working with a remote team. You must be aware of the inevitable cultural differences when collaborating with other nationalities. With varying business customs and protocols, remote teams are prone to misunderstandings and miscommunication.

When properly managed, a diverse remote team can be a huge asset to any business. Statistics by McKinsey & Company found that companies with a racially and ethnically diverse workforce are 36% more likely to outperform their peers on profitability, as diverse teams are 87% better at making decisions.

So, how can you effectively manage a diverse remote team, foster a collaborative environment, and grow your business? Here are five best practices.

1. Establish and promote cultural competency

To foster efficient and effective remote team collaboration, it is crucial to establish and promote cultural competency within your team. Cultural competency is the ability to understand and interact with people from different cultures and social and economic backgrounds. 

With a diverse team comes a diverse set of cultures, values, and traditions – and it is crucial to be aware of these differences. Lack of cultural competence breeds misunderstandings, frustration, and alienation, which can significantly derail productivity.

There are five critical components to cultural competence:

  • Awareness: Being conscious of your reactions to people different from you
  • Attitude: Examine any cultural biases you have and your beliefs about cultural differences
  • Knowledge: Understanding the customs, values, and beliefs you hold regarding equality may affect your behaviors
  • Skills: Perfecting your ability to communicate, problem-solve, and resolve conflict with people from different cultures
  • Communication: The ability to effectively communicate and interact with people from different cultures, social backgrounds, and economic statuses

Unfortunately, cultural competence isn’t a skill you can master, per se, but by immersing yourself in other cultures, being aware of your own biases, and constantly learning, you can gradually become more culturally competent. 

Here are several ways to improve your cultural competence:

  • Pay attention: Be aware of your surroundings and the people you interact with. Try to see things from their perspective. Make eye contact, listen attentively, and smile. Act like you really care.
  • Be self-aware: It’s easy to get caught up in your own world and assume everyone experiences life the way you do. But that’s subjective. Take the time to understand your own values, beliefs, and biases. This way, you can be more understanding and respectful of others.
  • Make an effort: Be open to learning about other cultures. Attend cultural festivals, seminars, and events. Be curious and ask questions.

2. Define roles and responsibilities

One often-overlooked aspect of managing a remote team is defining roles and responsibilities. Without clear guidelines, holding team members accountable for their actions can be challenging, leading to reduced productivity, missed deadlines, and unmet expectations.

When offshoring, be clear about roles and responsibilities. What tasks do you need to be completed? Who is responsible for what? What are the deadlines? Is there a specific way you need the work delivered? Do you have any particular requirements?

By answering these questions upfront, you can avoid any misunderstandings or miscommunications down the road that could disrupt productivity. Alternatively, you can interview a few team members to assess their skillsets and capabilities before making any decisions.

3. Set realistic goals and expectations

While remote teams offer a wealth of benefits, including increased flexibility and productivity and lower costs, it’s essential to set realistic goals and expectations. 

Trying to do too much too soon can lead to frustration and disappointment on both ends. Remember, it takes time to build trust and rapport – so start small and gradually increase the scope of work as your team becomes more comfortable working together.

Be realistic about what you can achieve in the short term and focus on building a strong foundation for your team. Once you have a solid foundation in place, you can start setting bigger goals and expanding the scope of your work. 

Make your remote team aware of your expectations and what you hope to achieve through working together. This way, they can be more focused and aligned with your goals from the start.

4. Invest in talent training and development

When offshoring, you must consider the time and investment required to train your team on your company’s processes, procedures, and culture. Without proper training, your team will likely struggle to meet your expectations and deliver subpar work quality.

You can train your team individually or hire a professional trainer. Training can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks, depending on the size of your team and the skillsets required. Be patient and give your team the time they need to learn their individual roles as well as their roles within the team, and to master your company’s procedures.

When done correctly, training can help reduce turnover rates, improve work quality, and increase productivity. It can also help your team feel more connected to your company culture – even if they’re located halfway around the world.

5. Encourage open, frequent, and proactive communication

 An in-house team collaborating with a remote diverse workforce through video conferencing.

Effective communication is key to any successful business relationship, especially when working with a remote team. Unfortunately, varying geographical locations, time zones, and work schedules can complicate team communication. It is important to encourage open, frequent, and proactive communication to bridge the gap and ensure everyone is on the same page.

This means setting up regular check-ins. These may be daily, weekly, or bi-monthly, depending on the project. Check-ins can take the form of video calls, phone calls, or even simple email updates through video conferencing software like Zoom, Google Hangouts, or Skype and project management tools such as Asana or Trello. The important thing is to make sure everyone is kept in the loop and is aware of all the latest developments.

Having an open-door policy will also encourage team members to proactively communicate any problems or concerns they may have. Let them know they can come to you with any issues, big or small, and that you’re always happy to help.

By fostering a culture of open communication, you can help build trust and rapport within your team. This, in turn, will lead to better work quality and a more cohesive work environment, which will ultimately improve your company’s bottom line.

Establish and manage a successful diverse remote team with DOXA

Working with a remote team can be a great way to tap into a deep global talent pool and get quality work done around the clock. However, effectively establishing and managing a remote team can be challenging, especially if your team is culturally diverse.

At DOXA, we know firsthand the challenges of working with a diverse team spread out across different time zones, geographical locations, and cultures. We offer high-quality offshoring services and growth solutions to bridge cultural gaps and help our clients scale their businesses for success in today’s global marketplace.

Our expert project managers will work with you to identify your specific needs and goals and then match you with the right team of remote professionals. To learn more about our offshoring services and how we can help you establish and manage a successful diverse remote team, contact us today.

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