How to Build Trust with Your Nearshore Team
Trust is an essential component of any successful team. Without trust, teams encounter substantial communication, productivity, and collaboration challenges. And while trust is crucial for any organization, building trust is even more critical for companies partnering with nearshore teams.
Remote teams can easily experience misunderstandings that break down trust without a thoughtful effort to promote transparency and encourage bonding between distributed team members.
Although remote team members rarely see other team members in person, proactive strategies ensure remote teams run more efficiently. Implementing the strategies listed below will help you promote strong relationships between team members and cultivate a productive working environment with your nearshore team, be it managed or consisting of independent performers.
This article will discuss six methods to build trust with your nearshore team.
Understand cultural differences
American culture surrounding work often differs from other cultures’ views and perceptions of work. While many Americans may be inclined to get straight to business in conversations and emails, often, different cultures see this as rude.
Educating team members onshore and offshore is essential to ensure understanding and avoid misinterpretations and frustrations. Often this begins with upper management valuing the importance of educating both parties on cross-cultural differences. Engaging in diversity training, starting each meeting with a quick check-in, and ensuring time for fostering personal relationships are all great examples of ways to promote understanding of cultural differences with nearshore team members.
Promote face-to-face communication
Nearshore team members are often closer than typical offshore teams making them more accessible. Traveling to a nearshore location to meet with nearshore team members in person and promoting face-to-face communication can build trust between team members.
Although traveling to a nearshore location to meet in person is an ideal way to build trust between all team members, it is often not feasible for all companies outsourcing to nearshore locations. Thankfully, technology allows team members to meet face-to-face without needing to leave their countries or homes. Video meetings help teams understand communication styles, read nonverbal cues, promote positive interactions and build trust.
Setting a precedent that all or most meetings with nearshore team members will take place via video helps to foster trust and helps all team members to feel connected.
Scheduling periodic team building virtual events for team members to get to know each other will also help close that cap of cultural differences. Sharing cultural experiences via video calls will allow the team members to know each other better and become a more collaborative team.
Set straightforward project and role requirements
Vague and unclear expectations for your nearshore development team can damage trust quickly. Remaining transparent when sharing goals, expectations and requirements ensures all team members are on the same page. Following up on the plan throughout the development process and as the project nears completion and actively participating in standups helps to ensure all team members are on the correct path to achieving timelines and goals.
Leveraging an agile methodology is one way to set clear project requirements and ensure smooth follow-up throughout the project life cycle. Regular video conferences also promote positive communication and allow team members to feel supported as they see each other while communicating issues they are facing.
Clearly explaining the roles of each team member is also essential when working with nearshore teams and building trust. Each team member needs to know their role and responsibilities and those of their teammates. Highlighting roles during meetings is an excellent way to ensure all team members understand each individual’s responsibilities.
Tap into the team’s expertise
Knowing your nearshore team member’s strengths and tapping into their expertise is another way to build trust between team members and internal project managers. If project managers do not know the full extent of the strengths of their team members, it is more challenging to set appropriate expectations and assign projects and tasks. For managed teams, this information can be obtained from the Delivery Manager.
Failure in taking the time to fully understand these strengths often results in nearshore team members that are independent performers being assigned mundane tasks and having underutilized talents, which leads to dissatisfaction from both sides. Gathering each nearshore member’s strengths when they are hired on or added to a project team allows internal project managers to organize those strengths and utilize them effectively. Team members who are challenged during their project assignments feel a stronger sense of purpose and build trust with their client project managers and onshore team members.
Managed nearshore teams consist of team members who were selected specifically for their strengths.
Voicing issues and accepting feedback look different from culture to culture. In some cultures, team members shy away from voicing problems or concerns they are experiencing because of fear it may be a sign of low competence. This allows mistrust to set in and can cause numerous issues for project managers.
Explaining to onshore and nearshore team members the importance of communicating issues and relieving anxiety around making mistakes helps ease the stress they feel about speaking up. It also helps to create trust between employees and their project managers.
The final method to build trust between onshore and nearshore employees is celebrating successes. Nearshore teams recognized for their hard work and success continue to perform at high levels and produce excellent work. Celebrating nearshore teams’ work not only builds trust but also helps them to feel valued, in turn retaining workers and minimizing turnover.
Taking the time to get to know nearshore team members at the beginning of a project or when they are hired on will help project managers understand how they like to be recognized for a job well done. It may be an email, a small gift, a personal letter, a note, or recognition during a meeting so others hear about their success. Knowing your nearshore team members and celebrating their accomplishments significantly promotes exceptional work and ensures they feel valued.
These strategies will help you build trust with your nearshore team and foster a vibrant work environment. Remember to be clear about what you expect from all team members, be available when they need you, give feedback and accept feedback that is both positive and constructive, and be consistent in your words and actions. By following these tips, you will create a strong foundation of trust with your team, resulting in a more productive and successful team.