7 Effective Ways to Manage Remote Overseas Employees

The exodus from office work to working from home has been happening for some time now. The advent of the internet made it possible for people to work remotely and efficiently. Companies both big and start-up are including in their practices to hire overseas employees for quality and affordability. It has proven to be an effective strategy and many are getting success in doing it.

Whether it’s a sales job, support and admin, content, graphics and information technology type of works and even professional jobs are now being sourced online and internationally. Most especially now, with the COVID-19 pandemic, work-from-home has been encouraged and the online medium has been the platform to communicate.

But the challenge for businesses is to manage overseas and remote employees, given that the personal face-to-face is altered with virtual communication. Effective management is highly essential in keeping with the company’s operation and goals.

To help you with that, we have explored the best practices from companies and encapsulate them in this guide to effectively manage your remote overseas employees.

1. Strong communication

Strong communication skills are essential in managing remote overseas employees. You want to write clear and efficient emails when communicating with them. Clarity is especially important since there is an expected language barrier.  Make sure your instructions are clear with details and objectives.  You must establish early on the flow and process of communication for everyone to adhere to.

Remote employees want to feel they are valued as part of the organization, much like your in-house team. Thanks to digital technology, the vast distance between your office and theirs no longer presents hindrance in terms of staying in touch. Look into the use of chat apps or virtual office tools.  With tons of free and inexpensive solutions for video chat (like Zoom, Skype and Google Hangouts), there’s no reason why you can’t keep in touch and communicate properly.

Managing a productive team remotely begins with a strategy of communication. You should be able to agree with your employees of the expectations and guidelines. There should be no loose ends.  Reporting is essential to get updated with work and accomplishments.

2. Focus on outputs not processes

Managing expectations is key in handling a remote workforce. Your goal is what matters, so stay focused on it. Processes would just be secondary. There would always be unique ways and procedures but your objective should remain consistent. And that’s where all eyes should be at.

Be aware of the surrounding circumstances of your remote employees. They are parents, heads of the family and adults who juggle work and family commitments altogether. Each has unique working challenges. Don’t get fixed on how they do their tasks, so as long as they are accomplishing them the correct way. Their output is much more important than the process.

3. Ditch the impulse to micromanage

Sometimes we have this thinking that managing to the last detail will more likely lead to productive results, but for managing remote employees, it is the opposite. Trust in your recruitment process that you supposedly hired the most talented people for your overseas positions. Chances are, they are good with whatever task you give them.

More than any other trait, talent is the key to performance.  Assignments aligned with your overseas employee’s talent help the individual develop those talents into strengths while improving productivity and business outcomes. Though your guidelines and advice are still essential, they would probably prefer to complete assignments in ways that are most efficient to them.

4. Build trust

Managing overseas remote workers should be built on trust. Suspend disbelief and put utmost trust and confidence in your employees that they will do the right thing. 

Build trust through individualization, keeping with commitments and frequent conversations. A good bit of face time with your employees can help.  When managing remote employees it’s easy to just talk about what needs to be done and jump off your call or end your chat.  However, you’re really missing out on a critical part of management.

Build a relationship with every member of your team. Having a good rapport will help you through difficulties each team member has. They will trust you with things that are important to them, and make no doubt even when you make a mistake or an unpopular decision. Nurture your relationship by getting to know them as a person rather than just an employee. Show your care and value them individually.

5. Equip employees

You hire people because you think that they are competent. That is right. But it should not stop there and just let them survive. You should make them thrive and be successful on what they do because ultimately your team and business will reap the biggest benefit. You do this by equipping your employees in their respective line of work. 

Since work is remote, make sure the company has the right technology to make work successful. Invest in reliable tools to make possible strong collaboration in your team.

Provide training and workshops that would strengthen and update their skills. Give reading materials or podcasts that are relevant to their line of work. Continuing education is key to each member and to the whole team.

6. Address cultural differences

It is inherent to have cultural differences among team members when running overseas remote work. As a manager, you should be diligent enough to learn how business is conducted in the country where your employees are based. You can also learn from them through consistent conversations. Coordinate discussions that address any cross-cultural factors that may affect business operations and determine the best ways for everyone to work together.

Be sensitive and mindful of the differences but don’t let it get in the way of approaching each of your staff. The key here is to respect every member regardless of their origin and culture. To avoid conflicts, be sure that you relay information and tasks clearly and explain in detail as much as possible. Remember that there are already present barriers, don’t add up to it by being vague and unclear with instructions and goals.

In general, know your employees by also knowing their culture. This could take care of any possible misunderstanding in the long term.

7. Show appreciation and equality

Never take for granted a job well done. Always show due appreciation for quality work and accomplishment. This would inspire excellence among your team members wherever they are. By appreciating each one, you motivate them to perform better. If they are motivated, you can be sure that they will work harder and achieve your business goals.

Be sure to treat your workforce equally. No one is better than the other and that each one has a role to fill for the success of the team and the company. Inequality is dividing. Inspire a sense of worth from each of your overseas employees and that they are valued in the company.

By showing appreciation and fair treatment, the bond between you and your overseas employees will be solid. There would be a high sense of trust and confidence. Recognize those worthy of recognition and uplift those who are lagging behind. While everyone cannot have the same pace or work level, each one can contribute in one way or another.

The Joy of Managing Remote Overseas Employees 

Managing and working with remote overseas employees is challenging but definitely worth it. The sense of fulfillment with accomplishing tasks and goals is on a different level. The value you get from working with unique and talented individuals across different cultures is rewarding.

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