Today, many organizations have teams spread all around the world. Remote jobs are increasing, and the number of companies that hire freelancers and outsourced services abroad is on the rise.
But while there are many advantages to working with outsourced teams, this also poses a formidable challenge. How do you manage and coordinate distributed teams located worldwide? How can various efforts and tasks be synchronized across multiple time zones?
It is essential that efforts are not duplicated, and all activities must integrate with each other seamlessly. In addition, all work should be coordinated towards meeting the goals and objectives of the organization.
Also, how do you create trust and make team members connect well with each other? Even those that are located within the same physical office may have issues with this, not to mention those that are thousands of miles away from each other.
Finally, how can you ensure that everyone communicates efficiently with each other? The decisions made by team members located far away from each other must be in sync, and important decisions cannot be taken without consulting with all stakeholders that are involved.
The following are 5 tips for managing outsourced teams for optimal performance.
Implement a culture of accountability
Make each team member responsible for their jobs and let them be accountable for the tasks they deliver. Also, create an expected delivery time for all tasks and make this public. This will avoid any confusion as to when tasks are supposed to be delivered. Also, you can have regular meetings where every team member reports on their progress. This will make things more transparent and inspire people to strive to be better, so as not to let themselves and their team members down.
Create an efficient communication structure
You must make a conscious effort for virtual teams to communicate with each other. Virtual teams do not meet each other physically, so they won’t communicate with each other automatically. Apart from normal group meetings, group chats should be implemented. Skype and other software can be used for group chats. This will keep team members connected with each other and up to date on all developments. In addition, team members can get to know each other if they share regularly in the group chat. Smaller teams within a large team can also have their own groups for sharing work-related materials that are specific to their team.
Integrate new team members optimally
It is important to integrate new members optimally into the team. After introducing them to the whole team, they should have one-on-one meetings with every member of the team. A lot of virtual teams don’t use this approach, but it is a great tool to create a sense of connection and trust between team members.
Use Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) to measure progress
This involves creating a strategy of goals and objectives that the team will focus on. It is a pointer that will guide all team members and ensure their efforts move towards the right direction. Team leaders will use this blueprint to measure the efforts of their team members and guide each team member. This way, every effort taken by each team member all over the world will align with the objectives of the organization.
The objectives and key results should be shared with the whole team so that every member of the team will make their contributions publicly. When efforts are made public, everyone will know what other team members are working on, and their efforts can be better synchronized.
Also, all results must be measurable and should be assigned a grade. This grade will help teams measure how well they are faring and will make them more focused on achieving concrete goals.
Create documentation, shared in a team database
The sharing of expertise is important for teams to succeed. Virtual teams can share knowledge by using the cloud and other tools for knowledge sharing. Online repositories will enable both old and new members to access information anytime they need it. Virtual teams can easily gather information, store it, and access it faster than local teams with this method. No matter how many team members leave the organization over the years, this knowledge repository will remain.
These 5 tips can help any organization to manage an outsourced team better, and they can increase the efficiency and productivity of distributed teams. Companies can also appoint someone in charge of using these strategies, and the methods to integrate virtual teams can also be applied to enhance the performance of local teams.
Due to the fact that they are forced to make a greater effort in order to work together, virtual teams can actually be more integrated than local teams. For example, local teams often make little effort to improve communication with each other, while virtual teams must go the extra mile in order to function as a team.