In working with an offshore team, you should know that inevitably, workplace conflict will arise. With the absence of face-to-face contact compounded with the onset of Zoom fatigue, things may get tense between your in-house and offshore staff. Miscommunication needs to be addressed to prevent issues from getting out of hand.
Indeed, issues may be harder to deal with or resolve when you work with offshore workers due to a communication breakdown. Cultural differences and time zone challenges can be part of the problem, too. With these in mind, here are tips on how you can resolve and prevent workplace conflict with your offshore staff.
6 Steps to Resolve Conflicts Involving Your Offshore Employee
While working with an offshore team brings many benefits, it also has a unique set of challenges. The following steps can help you settle disputes and conflicts with your offshore employee so that your team can work more effectively.
- Open communication lines
With offshore teams, unclear communication is a common challenge due to the virtual environment in which employees operate. It’s easy for staff to feel lost and frustrated over the lack of interaction or difficulty in coordinating with company representatives.
Open communication lines by utilizing different technological tools for communications. Choose a communication tool with direct and group messaging. Additionally, it’s best if the communication platform can hold audio and video meetings and enable users to search for information in messages and documents.
There can be instances when your offshore staff isn’t fully fluent in your language. As such, you must keep your language simple and avoid metaphors that they may not understand. To double-check if they understood a message, ask them to reiterate important points.
- Get them into the same (video conference) room
Employees should see the human on the other end of the conversation. Getting all concerned parties in a video call can help facilitate a more productive dialogue where clarifications can be addressed right there and then.
- Determine the root cause of the conflict
By knowing the cause of the disagreement, you’ll be able to understand how the issue came about. Make sure that you listen to the sides of your in-house staff and offshore workers and ask what needs are not being met by the other. It’s also important that both sides understand each other’s issues.
- Stick to the issue at hand
After listening to the concerns of both sides, you must initiate a dialogue by talking to the involved parties individually and trying to comprehend their viewpoints. You may encounter some more underlying issues, but you must focus and resolve the issue at hand first.
- Find a solution that works for both parties
You’ll need to meet with both parties again to find common ground that will help resolve the issue. This will be the perfect time to brainstorm solutions and decide what both parties need to do to move forward and ensure the problem won’t happen again.
- Ensure that both parties are doing their part to resolve the conflict
You must check up on the employees to assess if the solution is effective. If the issue persists, you must take the necessary action and sit down with both parties again to set the record straight. Additionally, it would be best to learn from the conflict to create preventative strategies for the future.
How to Prevent Conflicts from Arising in Your Offshore Team
Identifying potential issues and preparing the workplace for the common challenges of managing remote teams are keys to avoiding any disagreements and significant business losses. Here are tips on how you can prevent workplace conflicts from happening.
- Have a virtual open-door policy
Since communication can be limited with remote work, you can never be guilty of over-communicating with your offshore staff to cover all points or areas. You can schedule individual meetings with team members to give them a safe space to share what’s on their minds.
Having a virtual open-door policy is a great strategy in maintaining healthy relationships with staff. Additionally, it can also avoid potential conflict if the employee brings forth issues in their early stages.
- Have clear policies and guidelines
By informing your offshore team of your overall vision and expectations, the team will clearly understand what you want and be able to work more effectively. It can also prevent any potential confusion, frustration, and argument within the group.
- Be informed about cultural and scheduling differences
There can be cultural differences when working with an offshore team. It’s best to ask your recruitment firm to develop culture training programs. With this, both parties will understand more of each other’s cultural practices and communication styles.
When it comes to scheduling, research your offshore team’s holidays and map out your workflow around it. For timezone conflicts, end-of-day reports can help keep everyone updated on the status of a project and ensure the time difference won’t impact the project’s pace.
- Be proactive
Weekly meetings and monthly reviews help keep teams informed on what’s happening with other departments. This will help them empathize more with their co-workers, which reduces the chances of having any workplace conflict.
Also, your company handbook should discuss the process for resolution management.
Work Effectively with Offshore Teams
Respect and communication are some of the pillars of a successful collaborative project. If there are any issues along the way, you must know how to handle and resolve them effectively so that the project won’t fall apart.
If you need help with HR and people management, especially for your offshore operations, Manila Recruitment can guide you in establishing a conflict-free work environment. As one of the top recruitment agencies in the Philippines, we can ensure you get the best out of your offshore team. Don’t hesitate to contact us today for tailor-fit solutions!