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How to Successfully Manage an Outsourced Team

August 5, 2022
5 min read
How to Successfully Manage an Outsourced Team

There are a lot of benefits to outsourcing work. You can get things done faster and at competitive rates, and you don’t have to worry about hiring and training employees. However, there is much more to collaborating with a remote team than just picking the right people and sending them a task list – and that’s why it’s essential to familiarize yourself with how to successfully manage an outsourced team.

In this article, we will discuss the differences between managing outsourced teams and managing in-house teams. We will also talk about the shift in work culture and how managers must adapt to be successful with outsourced teams, focusing on the managerial traits that will help you make the most out of your collaboration with your outsourcing partners and team members.

Managing an In-House Team vs. Outsourced Team

There are a few key differences between managing an in-house and an outsourced team. One of the most significant differences is the means of communication. With an in-house team, you can easily pop into someone’s office for a quick chat or impromptu meeting. But with an outsourced team, managers must be more intentional about setting up regular check-ins and video calls. 

Another big difference is how you manage tasks and projects. With an in-house team, managers can easily drop by a team member’s desk to give them a quick update on a project or ask how their day is going. But with an outsourced team, managers must be more proactive about requesting and overviewing progress reports and using project management tools to stay on top of deadlines. If not, things may fall by the wayside, and productivity may drop simply because there’s no in-person oversight of how things are moving along.

Lastly, managers must be more mindful of cultural differences when managing an outsourced team. For example, if you’re managing a team in a different time zone, you’ll need to be flexible with your meeting times. And, if you’re managing a team in another country, you’ll need to be aware of cultural customs and holidays to set your schedule accordingly.

Overall, managing an outsourced team requires a bit more effort than managing an in-house team. It demands that the right communication tools and protocols are put in place to ensure a fruitful collaboration and that all parties involved are on the same page when it comes to following them in the same way.

The first thing to understand and embrace is the change that’s happening on a global scale in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and how that affects the way business is now conducted.

Acknowledging the Post-Pandemic Work Culture Shift

At the outset of the pandemic, many office workers were forced to work remotely for safety reasons. However, as time went on and the logistics of working from home were finetuned and perfected, remote work became a permanent option for a significant percentage of the global workforce. So, with millions of people working at least partially remotely, it’s no surprise that outsourcing staff has become more popular as well. 

While remote work is often thought of as the perfect solution for introverts, it’s shown that it is extroverts who thrive in a remote setting – but it’s not just them. In fact, several personality types are suited for remote work. Check them out below!

Personality Types That Do Well with Remote Work

  • The Independent Type: They enjoy working on their own and don’t need a lot of handholding.
  • The Self-Starter: They’re motivated and can stay on task without someone looking over their shoulder. 
  • The Problem-Solver: They like to problem-solve and figure things out independently. 
  • The Adaptable Type: They’re flexible and can “roll with the punches.” 

As a result, it’s essential to know which type of worker you’re dealing with before you outsource your team and learn how to work with them after you begin your collaboration. 

Keeping that in mind, let’s see how you can use all this information to manage your outsourced team successfully.

  1. Adopt an Agile Management Style

The agile management style has become increasingly popular in recent years, as more and more businesses look to outsourced teams to help them meet their goals. This management style is characterized by its emphasis on flexibility and collaboration, two key factors that are essential for successful outsourcing relationships.

One of the most significant benefits of the agile management style is that it helps to foster a strong sense of communication between the client and the outsourced team. In traditional outsourcing arrangements, there can often be a disconnect between the two parties, which can lead to misunderstandings and frustration. However, with agile management, both sides are constantly working together towards common goals, which helps to ensure that everyone is on the same page. 

Another advantage of the agile management style is that it allows for greater flexibility when it comes to project scope and timelines. This is essential when working with an outsourced team, as it can be difficult to predict precisely how long a project will take or what challenges will need to be overcome. The agile manager can quickly make changes as needed by being flexible and adaptable, ensuring that the project stays on track.

Successful outsourcing relationships are essential for many companies in today’s fast-paced business world. The agile management style is a proven method for ensuring that these relationships are productive and effective. By focusing on communication and collaboration, agile managers can help their clients achieve their goals while maintaining a healthy and fruitful relationship with their outsourced team.

  1. Maintain an Open Line of Communication

As mentioned earlier, outsourced management requires a high level of focus on communication. If you want to get what you have in mind, you must be clear about your goals, share your ideas, state your expectations, and ensure remote team members understand your project requirements.

But you shouldn’t stop there. You must talk to your remote team often to know if there are any challenges, questions, or problems and be updated regarding whether your project is going as planned.

So, when you choose an outsourced team, it’s essential to agree on the ways and formats you’ll use to talk to each other. For example, you can set up regular meetings and use remote collaboration tools such as Zoom or Slack to schedule video calls where you can discuss project updates or track progress using a project management tool like Asana or Jira. By doing so, you can make sure that everyone is on the same page and that the project is moving forward as intended.

  1. Acknowledge Cultural Differences

When you manage an outsourced team, it’s important to remember that everyone comes from a different cultural background. What might be considered normal or acceptable in one culture may be completely different in another. This can lead to misunderstandings and conflict if not acknowledged and appropriately managed. Being aware of cultural differences can help avoid problems and build a more effective and cohesive team. When people feel respected and understood, they are more likely to be loyal and productive. So, acknowledging and accommodating cultural differences is not only the right thing to do but can also help you build a better team.

  1. Encourage Collaboration and Feedback

The importance of fostering a collaborative environment, and being open to feedback, cannot be overstated. Emphasizing these two things helps to create a more cohesive team that can work together effectively to achieve common goals. It also helps to ensure that team members are held accountable for their performance and that they can learn from their mistakes. Feedback also allows you to identify areas where the team can improve and make changes accordingly. Furthermore, it will enable you to get input from all team members and ensure that everyone is happy with their work. Finally, by encouraging collaboration and feedback, you’ll build a stronger team that is more likely to be successful and, as such, more efficient in their work output.

  1. Be Flexible and Celebrate Successes

Last but not least, one thing you should remember when successfully managing an outsourced team is never to stop being flexible. Things may not always go as planned, requiring you to cultivate inventiveness. Managing an outsourced team is not a static process but one that will always be in flux, and it’s important to remember when you encounter unforeseen circumstances that may throw things off schedule. 

But, regardless of any challenges that might arise, managing an outsourced team can be a gratifying experience, and that’s why you shouldn’t forget to celebrate successes together! Team activities, either online or local to the outsourced team members, can be a source of motivation. For example, you can host online social events through Zoom so that in-house and outsourced team members can mingle with each other and, if possible, even host meetups on-site so that remote team members can learn more about your company and how you operate first-hand. This way, you will not only help foster camaraderie among staff but also show appreciation for their efforts and hard work, boosting morale and creating a positive work environment, even if remote!

Now, You Should Have a Good Grasp of How to Manage a Remote Team Effectively!

If you’re getting ready to outsource and hire a remote team, we believe that we have given you the rundown of how to make the experience smooth for you and your team members! So, by following the tips in this article, you can set your outsourced team up for success and avoid some of the most common pitfalls. Remember to clearly communicate your expectations, provide adequate support, and be patient while they get up to speed. With a little effort on your part, you can create a productive and successful working relationship with an outsourced team!

If you’re interested in assembling a remote team, contact us at [email protected] to explore our staff augmentation solutions. We welcome the opportunity to discuss your projects and help meet your individual needs.

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