Communicating With Your Outsourced Team – The Four Things You Need to Do

Cybalink Solutions Outsourcing Staff

Poor communication prevents your outsourced team from reaching full efficiency.

Promote team morale and successful project completion by establishing proper communication. The need for outsourcing is on the rise. That’s according to a report compiled by the Global Sourcing Association (GSA). The organisation surveyed a range of businesses. Its goal was to find out how many intended to outsource tasks in the coming years. A majority of 70% claimed that they intended to create an outsourced team soon. A further 35% said they’d outsource “significantly.” It’s easy to see why. Outsourcing allows your engineering or construction firm to save time, resources, and money. Your outsourced team should provide high-quality work, while offering lower labour charges. However, your outsourced team can’t function without your input. Communication is one of the keys to ensuring that any business team functions correctly. A survey conducted by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) sheds some light on this fact. They found that 28% of those surveyed blamed poor communication for project failures.

Proper communication also improves team stability, according to a Watson Wyatt study. They found that organisations with good communication protocols enjoy less turnover. In fact, they’re 50% more likely to have lower-than-average turnover levels. So, what’s the message for engineering or construction firms that are considering outsourcing? Communication is just as important for an outsourced team as it is for your onshore team. And quality communication starts with your outsourcing partner.

Your Outsourcing Partner is the Key

Before you can establish effective communication protocols, you need to build the right team. That means working with an engineering or construction outsourcing partner that knows what they’re doing. That means you need to know what to look for in an ideal outsourcing partner. Here are eight qualities they need to have:

  1. They’re specialists in your niche. This is especially important in technical niches, such as engineering. Specialist suppliers understand the specific tasks your firm needs to undertake. They can also ensure your team understands the burdens of compliance that you must operate under.
  2. A great partner knows that one of the main reasons you’re considering outsourcing is to drive efficiency. It’s not only about access to cost-effective labour. It’s about finding great people who can help you to take your company to the next level.
  3. Your partner must offer dedicated support, both to you and the team they help you build. This support should help you make the outsourced team an extension of your business.
  4. Your partner needs to have an established track record in your industry. This experience ensures that they understand your needs and don’t need to waste time on research.
  5. Of course, a great outsourcing partner must help you save money. But labour costs are only one part of this equation. Your partner should also help you create savings by reducing recruitment overheads. Other savings come from ensuring high productivity levels.
  6. Your partner must have flexible operating hours. This is particularly important when you consider the time zone issue. Most outsourced teams operate in different time zones. Your partner needs to be able to offer services in line with that fact.
  7. Your partner needs to understand how important it is that your outsourced team aligns with your company’s values. A lack of alignment often leads to miscommunication and issues with projects.
  8. Finally, your outsourcing partner should handle the hard recruitment work for you. They should take all the stress and hassle out of the team-building process. This allows you to focus on ensuring the team operates effectively.

Once you’ve found the right partner, you can feel confident that you’ll build a quality team. Now it’s time to learn how to communicate with your team. These are the four things that you need to do to enhance communication.

Streamline Communication

Projects get delayed when your outsourced team has to jump through hoops just to talk to you. Furthermore, frustrations will develop on both sides. You will feel like the team isn’t living up to its potential. But your team will feel like they’re not receiving the support they need from you. You need to streamline communications to make getting in touch as easy as possible. This starts with the communication platform you use. Ideally, you’ll have a platform that allows for instant messaging and provides access to all relevant parties. Slack is a good option here, as it allows for the creation of multiple communication channels. That means you can use it to set up internal channels for your outsourced team. Plus, you can create specialised channels for communication between project and team managers. With your tools in place and agreed upon by all parties, assign somebody to act as head of communication for your outsourced team. This is the person who’s responsible for relaying messages to you and conveying your own messages to the team. Placing one person in charge of this task helps you streamline. When you have several members of the team trying to talk to you at once, messages may get muddled. Having a central point of communication ensures that no messages slip through the cracks. 

Communicate Frequently

There’s little point in creating a communication platform if you don’t actually use it. Infrequent communication is one of the chief reasons that projects fail. The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) dug into this issue in more detail. The EIU provides forecasting and analytics services to its parent company, the Economist Group. They conducted a survey that revealed the following results of poor communication:

  • 52% of respondents claimed that poor communication leads to increased stress levels.
  • 44% blamed poor communication for the delay or failure of a project.
  • Finally, 31% said that poor communication contributes to low team morale.

If you’re not communicating with your outsourced team enough, expect to see some or all of these negative consequences. Increasing the frequency of communication ensures that problems get tackled as they arise. This means that they don’t have the chance to fester and turn into major issues. Having a platform that allows for instant messaging helps in this respect. However, it’s also a good idea to build regular meetings and feedback sessions into your calendar. For example, you could hold a weekly meeting with the outsourced team’s head of communication. You could also arrange regular meetings with other project leads on the team. The key is that you’re regularly talking with your team. This helps you to identify issues and keep track of progress.

Simplify the Tasks You Send

The way you communicate tasks to your outsourced team should also come under consideration. Sending a huge project document will likely cause confusion, for several reasons… First, your team may struggle to figure out what to prioritise when you tell them everything at once. Second, you may need to consider language barriers. While all good outsourced teams have English-speaking members, you must remember that they’re probably not native speakers. The more complex the documentation you send, the higher the chance of misinterpretation.

The best way to overcome this issue is to employ a traditional task management technique: Break complex projects down into simpler parts. This allows you to simplify the tasks you send to your team. Plus it enables you to keep better track of the team’s progress. For example, you may have a multi-month project that requires the entire team to work together. Communicating this project to the team may involve breaking it down into weekly milestones that you need to hit. For each of those milestones, there are certain tasks the team needs to complete. And each of those tasks should go to specific specialists within the team. If you can create an outline like this at the beginning of the project, you make it easier for your team to focus on what it needs to do. You’ve essentially created a weekly plan that you can communicate easily and track effectively.

Encourage the Team to Ask Questions

You will have to confront several cultural challenges when communicating with your team. One of the most common is a lack of questions from the team. In some cultures, it’s considered rude to question what the boss has to say on an issue. This cultural barrier could lead to team members failing to raise issues that you need to confront. Make it clear that you wish to create an open culture in which your team can ask questions. Encourage the team to talk to you if they have issues.

Good Communication Leads to Successful Projects

Communicating effectively with your outsourced team helps the team maintain focus. That’s particularly important for engineering and construction projects. With so many compliance issues to consider, it’s crucial that your team understands what they need to do. Beyond this, effective communication also boosts your team’s morale. It shows that you consider them a part of your company and care about the progress they make. These tips will help you to communicate more effectively. But first, you need to build a high-quality team. That’s where Cybalink comes in. We can help you create a team that will ensure efficient and cost-effective completion of your projects.

Get in touch today to book a confidential call with our co-founders Kim Lombardi and John Rodgers.

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