The Importance of Culture
Fit in Offshore Outsourcing

Article Published August 9, 2018

One of the most overlooked aspect of most outsourcing relationships is the culture fit between the client and the outsourcing vendor. It may not appear to be very important consideration at first, and the decision usually centres around capability and cost efficiencies gained by outsourcing. But once the relationship is underway, the single biggest determinator of success is how aligned the two sides on cultural elements. Even the most well-intentioned and technically-adept teams may not be able to deliver on the promised efficiencies or capability-add in the absence of a culture-fit between the two organisations.

Before you can realise any benefits from your outsourcing program, you need to spend some time ensuring you are selecting the right outsourcing vendor. Let's look at some of the ways culture fit impacts outsourcing relationships and some best-practices during the selection stage.

Your Employees Will Interact With Them

Stellar communications & collaboration is the bedrock of any successful outsourcing engagement. Since outsourced vendors are usually spread across the world and never visit your main offices, your team will need to interact with them even more than if they were working in your office. The way each team works and communicates will affect the other. For instance, if one team operates one way and the other works differently, that could result in friction which can lead to problems with the final product, delays and general irritation for both parties.

What you say may not always be what they hear, or understand.

They Should Adhere To Your Corporate Values

Every company has values that define who they are, what their brand is and what kinds of products and services they produce. Your company culture is inseparably tied to your values. It is through culture that you live your shared values. It is your culture that decides whether you're presenting a genuine experience to your employees and customers, or whether your stated values are just a facade.

Making sure offshore employees and teams understand and share your values will prevent frustration and mistakes, as well as ensure offshore product development staff create a product that is in line with your company's brand and values.

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Cultural differences can make or break your outsourcing relationships.

Other Countries Have Other Cultures

Although this may seem obvious, it is important to remember that individuals who are working for your company from other countries come from different cultures than your own employees. Take country culture into account when offshore outsourcing, and be sure to understand the culture of that other country so you don't run into any unexpected surprises.

Each product or project is different in terms of its requirement of a similar background. If you have an initiative where there is a need for a high degree of cultural alignment and the experience of having lived through the same culture, your due diligence will help the teams work better together as you develop your products and services. People from other cultures will have different insights and innovative ideas that can put your product development ahead of the competition. Whether you incorporate this diversity into a better product or not depends on your understanding and appreciation of the other culture.

Turnover Is Still A Potential Issue

In many ways, offshore employees are similar to regular employees. This includes the possibility of turnover, which will happen no matter what you do but you still want to take all possible steps to prevent it. The right cultural fit can help prevent turnover because offshore workers will not feel as though they are a poor match and opt to terminate a contract, nor will your managers grow disgruntled and want to find a better collaborative partner. Turnover while offshore outsourcing can be devastating for your project because you will need to start the process over again, which leads to costly delays. Assess cultural fit of overseas workers to the best of your ability before deciding to contract with them.

Conclusion

Getting culture fit right is a pre-requisite if you want to get your outsourcing relationship to succeed. Taking the time to find the right outsourcing providers will result in better products, greater productivity and stronger relationships.

Author Bio
Author
Bikramjit Singh
COO, Millipixels Interactive LLP

A mechanical engineer and MBA by education, with over 16 years of experience in setting up, and managing operations at Offshore Innovation Centres at companies like Norman, Trantor and Quark Media, Bikram’s expertise is what keeps Millipixels running like clockwork.

Bikramjit oversees all operational aspects of running the organisation including staffing, finance and infrastructure, Bikram works with the founding team to set up and implement organisational policies and processes. His core expertise includes operations, Project Management and Product Management.

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