Done right, outsourcing rocks. It gives you scalable, budget-friendly deliverables on a timetable that’s second to none. Done wrong, outsourcing sucks. It gives you incompatible components that cost too much at any price on indefinite schedules that can stretch on months beyond their useful life. Bridging the cultural gap is a big part of successful outsourcing efforts. It helps clarify goals and deadlines, establishes roles and responsibilities in a way everyone understands and appreciates, and it sidesteps a host of communication and logistical issues that are easily overlooked by those who don’t have the outsourcing know-how. Most importantly, it keeps our offshore team focused, on task, and motivated to deliver their best work without being micromanaged.
Hierarchy Matters More in Many Non-US Cultures
The US strives to be a classless society. I’m not even going to dip a toe into the deep and troubled waters of that statement, but in general, we hold at least the superficial principle that everyone is equal: that no specific job, position, lineage, etc., entitles anyone to more or less respect than anyone else. The CEO (or their assistant) has to wait in line at Starbucks like anyone else.
In many countries popular for their high-skill, lower-cost workforce—especially India and other countries in Southeast Asia—hierarchy and social class are far more prominent and important than they are in the US. Moral and value judgments of this cultural feature are immaterial from a business perspective; class structures are deeply ingrained in these cultures, and you can either work with that fact to create more intrinsically rewarding jobs and opportunities for your outsourced team, or you can try to implement a more “flat” organizational structure that won’t be fully adopted and that will lead to inordinate levels of frustration for all concerned.
The choice is pretty simple. In cultures where hierarchy matters, climbing the rungs of the social ladder is a HUGE motivating factor, and an essential component of long-term job satisfaction. Whereas US workers tend to find their workplaces more friendly and rewarding when there’s less stratification, workers in some other cultures prefer the endless layers of middle-management that give them a very clear and well-defined place in the business hierarchy. Creating clear hierarchies in your outsourced team’s working environments and relationships gives them clear opportunities for advancement, which can greatly reduce attrition and turnover and help you retain top-talent over multiple project lifecycles. You get better output without spending excess time seeking out the right personnel time and time again, and your team feels greater satisfaction and earns greater respect through their long-term advancement. It’s a pretty clear win-win.
Zibtek Fosters Long-Term Outsourcing Relationships
Our cultural understanding is part of what’s enabled us to continue working with some of the best offshore developers, programmers and engineers for years. Our offshore relationships are clear, well-defined, and happily productive for all concerned, allowing us to continue building them with each new project rather than starting from a new foundation every time. If you want to learn more about the Zibtek way of outsourcing, drop us a line!
At Zibtek, we offer custom software solutions for businesses of all sizes. Our digital strategy, design, and custom software development solutions have helped a wide range of clients to meet their goals—ask for a free consultation to find out whether we can do the same for your business.