Cultural Aspects to Consider While Onboarding Offshore Teams

onboarding offshore teams - CodeNinja Consulting Inc.

Offshoring has dramatically changed the current hiring landscape in the IT services market. Businesses around the globe are drastically adopting this mode of hiring to access a pool of talent across the border and save the cost of labor. This new norm of onboarding offshore teams is not only helping businesses solve their complex business problems but also benefiting the workforce that can work anywhere in the world from the comfort of their home. As a result, the IT services market has become competitive and businesses are vying for first place to maintain their position and are more considerate about every aspect of onboarding offshore teams.

The era of globalization and digital transformation has made it easy to do business across borders and offshore the desired talent. But hiring cross-culturally comes with its own set of challenges. For instance, language differences, time zone and culture- conflicts, work ethics differences and so on. To successfully achieve the objectives, businesses should be aware of the importance of cultural considerations while working with offshore development teams. They should conduct thorough research about the culture of offshore companies and make sure both the in-house team and offshore team are on the same page. If a company fails to put the effort in this regard, issues like miscommunication, conflicts and misunderstanding can arise which can adversely affect both sides.

This Article Explores the Importance of Cultural Consideration while Onboarding Offshore Software Development Teams and Suggest How to Deal with them in Order to Build a Cohesive Team.

Cultural Aspects to Consider When Onboarding Offshore Teams from Different Regions

Onboarding Offshore Teams from Eastern Europe:

When a company hire offshore software development teams from Eastern Europe, it means they expect the same quality of work offered in their country at a comparatively low price. The Workforce from Eastern Europe is the most sought-after by many multinationals. The reason is Eastern European people are very hard working and committed as compared to the other regions. Here’s a list of factors that will help you understand why to onboard offshore teams from Eastern Europe and also learn about the culture:

  1. Multilingual:

Unlike the Western Europeans, the people of East Europe can speak multiple languages spoken around the world. The most common misconception about Eastern European people is that they don’t know other languages besides their native language. In fact, the diversity of languages found in the region is surprising. They can speak languages like English, Russian and Slavic Languages. With the help of this dynamic language skillset, it is easier for them to reach out to the broader part of the world and easily interact with businesses.

  1. Cultural Diversity:

There are multiple cultures thriving in the Eastern European region. Each country is culturally different from the others. You must be thinking about how onboarding a culturally diverse work can benefit you. Well first of all offshore teams with different cultural backgrounds have people having unique and different perspectives and ideas. So here comes a diversity of ideas, talent, creativity as well as skillsets. Also, it provides you with a freedom to choose among the abundant options.

Another benefit is that if you have a culturally diverse workforce helps you adjust across the borders. If you are planning to expand your operations in different countries, it is a lot easier with such unique talent at hand.

  1. Quality of Education:

Eastern Europeans are highly qualified with some of the best universities in the world. It is the home to many famous scientists and inventors. So, if you are planning to hire offshore development team from this region you will get individuals with high quality education background and tremendous skills.

  1. Travel Enthusiasm:

The people of this region are willing to travel. They are present at a convenient position I.e., at the center of Asia and Europe that makes it easier for them to travel. So, if you ever want your employees to travel for you, there no better option than hiring an offshore team from Eastern Europe.

  1. No Power outages, Stable Internet Connection:

When working with Eastern Europeans, your work will not be delayed due to these petty issue like power outages and unstable internet connections. They are always connected to their clients with the best speed internet connection and power supply.

  1. Affordable Labor:

Hiring labor from Eastern European region is very cost effective as compared to the western world. You can get highly qualified labor at a very low salary bracket.

  1. Convenient Time Zones:

The eastern European time zones are compatible with almost every country around the world specially the USA. If you are US based it is easier to arrange a time window where both are available and work.

  1. Work Ethics:

The eastern Europeans are famous for their work ethics and values. Each individual is value driven and has a strong sense of self accountability. So, if you hire offshore team from this region, you will get the benefit of working with highly committed people. Also, they are very honest and straight forward. They won’t misguide you with lies and false plans. If they disagree with something, they will let you know straightaway.

  1. Growth Opportunities:

Since the Eastern European region is tightly connected, it is very easy to grow your business.

Onboarding Offshore Teams from Asia:

When working with the Asian workforce, you should be aware of the following qualities:

  1. Language:

Unlike the Easter Europeans, you cannot expect Asian workforce to speak many languages besides their native language. But the plus point of onboarding offshore teams from Asia is that they have learned English as a second language and are most of the times highly proficient in it. So, the chance of miscommunication due to language barrier is very rare in this case.

  1. Communication Style Is Not blunt or direct:

While westerners are very straight-forward when it comes to conveying the message, it’s not the case with Asian workforce. This is because of the cultural influence where they are reserved and communicate indirectly out of courtesy. Therefore, this factor should be considered to avoid any misinterpretation and miscommunication.

  1. Technomaniac:

Hiring remote software development teams from Asia gives you the perk of working with technologically proficient teams. The Asians are very enthusiastic about technology and are at the forefront of technological innovations specifically in the electronics, software and manufacturing sector. Hence the Asian workforce is well versed in diverse tech stacks and provide you with multiple expertise.

  1. Work Style and Business Culture:

When it comes to work style the Asian offshore teams are:

  • Detail-oriented
  • Team-focused
  • Adaptable and resilient
  • Deferring to authority
  • Strong emphasis on hierarchy and formality in business
  • Hardworking
  • Process oriented
  1. Time Zones:

There is a significant time zone difference when working with teams in Asia. This factor is sometimes beneficial and can cause problems sometimes if not dealt with properly. It is beneficial in the sense that your business operations are running round the clock as in when one team sleeps the other is working and vice versa.

  1. Traditional Holidays:

Tradition and customs play an important role in the lives of Asians. When you are planning a work schedule be mindful of the customs and holidays to ensure the deadlines are met accordingly.

Onboarding Offshore Teams from Latin America:

When it comes to the Latin American Region, there are a number of reasons to convince for onboarding offshore teams from this region. The top most reason is that the LATAM countries are among the top countries with a fast-growing services outsourcing market. The share of value added to GDP by the services sector in Latin America and the Caribbean is 57.9 percent. Here is the list of reason to explore the region for outsourcing:

  1. Time Zone Compatibility:

US-based businesses find this region really attractive for outsourcing since the time zone difference is more or less 3 hours. This makes it easier to collaborate with the LATAM based remote teams as compared to the other regions where the time difference is almost a half day or sometimes a full day.

  1. Bilingual:

The Latin American offshore teams are fluent in both Spanish and English which makes it easier to communicate with them.

  1. Strong Emphasis on Work-Life Balance:

The Latin American workforce keeps a strong balance between work and life. Spending time with family and friends is also a priority besides work. So, while working with the Latin America respecting their choices and values is important

  1. Work Ethics and Business Culture:

The business culture in this region is quite different. In some areas, the relationship between the team and the client is personal and based on loyalty. You may also find people who are totally opposite and are only concerned with efficiency and performance. The Latin American workforce cannot be generalized on this basis.

  1. Creative Individuals with Strong Communication Skills:

The Latin Americans always bring fresh and creative perspective to the table. They are best known for innovation and thinking out of the box. Another quality of this region is that the people are really good at building relationships with their strong communication skills. Building trust and personal relationship with the client is no big deal for them

Cultural Aspects to Consider When Onboarding Offshore Teams from Different Regions CodeNinja Inc.

Strategies to Deal with Cultural Differences Challenges while Working with Offshore Teams

Hiring offshore teams can be fun but sometimes businesses face challenges due to geographical as well as cultural differences. If these challenges are not strategically dealt with, they can cause disruption in daily operations. In this guide on onboarding offshore teams, we have tried to explore some of the strategies that can help you overcome the potential issues that may arise due to cultural differences. So, let’s dig in:

  • Get a Clear Understanding of Their Culture:

When working with offshore teams, it is important that you are aware of their culture. This is the only way to ensure work-place cultural inclusivity and encourage your team to work together. Doing thorough research on the offshore team’s culture also helps to avoid any cultural clash that may arise if either of the party feels alienated.

  • Interpret Different Communication Styles:

As discussed in the above section, people from every region have different communication styles. Some are direct in their communication and emphasis on verbal cues while some prefer to converse indirectly and nonverbally. So it is necessary to be mindful of these communication styles. There is no need to push the team out of their comfort zone in this regard.

  • Use Basic Native Key Phrases:

To show that you genuinely want to learn about the offshore team’s culture, it would be nice if you learn some key phrases from their language and use them in the daily standups or meetings. These phrases can be some interesting words from their native language or simple greetings.

  • Empathy is The Key:

When two teams are working together from different parts of the world, neither of them knows what challenges the other is facing. Therefore, practicing empathy while working with offshore teams is crucial to make your collaboration a success. The offshore team deserves the same level of patience and understanding from your side as the in-house team.

  • Avoid Stereotyping Individuals Based on Their Cultural Upbringing:

Insensitive and discriminatory behavior is a big no-no while working with remote teams. Nobody tolerates this harmful stereotyping and it can trigger a bad response from your team. Hence, it’s better to understand the uniqueness and individuality of your team rather than generalizing them on the basis of their culture.

  • Value their time:
  • Avoid Micromanagement

How to Build a Healthy Relationship with Offshore Teams?

Offshore teams need to work in harmony to achieve collective business objectives. For this reason, building a healthy relationship with the offshore team is a very important. In this section, we have tried to explore the techniques that can be helpful in establishing a healthy relationship with the offshore teams along with the benefits:

  • Establish a Culture of Trust and Transparency:

The lack of transparency and accountability is the base of an unhealthy workplace relationship. If your employees have to lie about their work and progress, it means you have failed somewhere to build the trust. For a healthy relationship with your offshore team, it is important to foster a culture of transparency. This can be done by setting realistic goals and expectations, providing regular feedbacks and telling the team members about their roles and responsibilities.

  • Building Team Collaboration and Personal Relationships:

The remote teams also need to be included in the informal conversations that happens in house. Now you must be thinking how it can be done. Here are several ways to achieve better team collaboration and build personal relationships with the offshore team.

  1. Team building activities and games
  2. Provide Virtual spaces to connect and communicate informally
  3. Virtual coffee or lunch breaks
  4. Online team trainings and weekly sessions
  5. Virtual collaborative sessions where team members can connect and work together
  • Set Clear Communication Guidelines and Protocols:

The lack of proper communication channels and protocols is the major factor that can cause misunderstanding. To make sure everyone’s on same page you must:

  1. Guide your team from day one about the decided communication protocols
  2. Determine response time which has to be obeyed in any case
  3. Set guidelines for emails
  4. Ensure regular check ins

Determine the communication channels

  • Leverage the Right Technology:

Working with offshore teams has only been made possible with technology. Therefore, it should be the main driver in maintaining a healthy relationship with the teams. Here are some tools that facilitate collaboration within the main team and the offshore team:

  • Video conferencing tools and platforms
  • Instant messaging tools
  • Project management tools
  • Email platforms

Benefits of Establishing Healthy Relationship with Offshore Teams:

Benefits of Establishing Healthy Relationship with Offshore Teams - CodeNinja Inc.

When business successfully implement the above-mentioned techniques successfully, there are number of benefits that follow Such as:

  • Clarity about the business purpose and objectives
  • Less Conflicts
  • Boost in productivity
  • Increased mutual sense of spirit
  • Agility
  • Respect for priorities and expectations

Preparing In-House Teams to Working with Offshore Development Teams

The most important thing to consider before hiring teams for offshore software development  is that your in-house team is well-trained to effectively collaborate with the offshore team.

Collaboration between these two teams is two-way traffic which means both of them should be well-prepared before stepping into the arena. Learn why is it important to prepare your in-house team to collaborate with the offshore team and how it can be done.

Importance of Training your In-House Team to Work with Offshore Team:

  • Help them learn to deal with cultural competence:

The main team comes from a very responsible position. So it is necessary to train and educate them about cultural competence and how to deal with it strategically. This is the only way to encourage team spirit and harmony and avoid potential conflicts.

  • Leverage Technical Expertise of the offshore team:

It is the main team’s duty to utilize the expertise of the offshore team. It can only be done by:

  1. Clearly assign the roles and responsibilities
  2. Build Trust and Improve Communication to clear roadblocks
  3. Provide learning resources and encourage learning culture
  4. Give them ownership as per their expertise
  5. Provide them with the necessary tools and resources.

It is important to train the main team on building a collaborative relationship and ensure that all teams are on the same page.

  • Portray the positive image of your company:

Training on this aspect is really important for the success of any project. The main team should learn to appreciate the offshore team on their achievements and foster a positive environment. This is the only way to retain the team and make them feel valued. Also, the main team should learn to distribute the burden among the team members.

  • Hassle free communication:

Help your main team learn to establish effective communication channels to avoid misunderstandings and misinterpretations.

How to Train your In-House Team to Work with Offshore Teams

  • Define a proper training plan
  • Highlight cross cultural training needs
  • Training on project management
  • Training on tools and technologies to leverage

Processes that can Improve Collaboration and Workflow

Once you have learned to overcome the cultural differences while working with offshore teams, it’s time to know how you can improve the collaboration and workflow with difference tools and technologies. Also learn the processes to use for effective process management.

Types of Tools and Software:

Since offshore teams with different cultural backgrounds have different communication preferences, work ethics and business culture.

  1. Communication Tools

To avoid formal and long form conversations through emails, these peer-to-peer communication tools facilitate instant communication between the teams. It is best for the teams that prefer direct communication. These tools can be:

  • Internal communication tools
  • Video conferencing tools
  • VoIP providers
  1. Collaborations Tools

These tools help in collaborative practices and facilitate team work. If you have unorganized brainstorming ideas or want to track down meeting minutes these tools are for you:

  • Meeting management tools
  • Note taking apps
  • Idea management tools
  • Board management tools
  1. Time Management Tools:

It is not humanly possible to remember all the deadlines and work commitments. It is better to schedule the day-to-day responsibilities with time management tools and break down your day into small chunks. The time management tools include:

  • Task Management tools
  • Calendar Software
  1. Roadmap Tools:

The roadmap tools help you map down the lifecycles of project and plan long-term business goals.

  • Project management software
  • Strategic planning products


In short, cultural differences can prove to be beneficial for businesses if dealt with the right approach. Companies need to understand and prioritize the cultural values of offshore teams in order to foster an environment of support and empathy. This can result in greater productivity ultimately leading to successful achievement of business objectives. Also follow the above-mentioned techniques to build a cohesive offshore team with effective collaboration.


  1. How to keep the Offshore Team Motivated?

The offshore teams often miss out on almost every perk the in-house teams enjoy. For instance: Most of the time the offshore teams are not present at events in the office or do not get the chance to avail other perks like gym memberships, annual dinners and trips. This can be very discouraging and can make them feel left out. But there are certain strategies that can improve offshore engagement and help them keep motivated. The strategies are:

  • Avoid micromanagement to empower employees
  • Provide personalized facilities and rewards
  • Give them ownership of their work to boost creativity
  • Play games to make work more fun
  • Arrange virtual meetups to strengthen the relationship of the offshore team with the main team
  • Provide the offshore teams with creative workspaces in their country. Not every remote worker wants to literally work from home
  • Flexible work arrangements and support practices
  1. Is it Necessary to Align your Company Culture and Sense of Spirit with the Culture of the Offshore Team?

Well, there should always be a balance when it comes to working with offshore teams. It is encouraged to understand and respect the culture of the offshore team but this shouldn’t mean you lose your company’s unique identity, mission and values that are derived from your culture along the way. Do try to mingle in the offshore team’s culture but also make them familiar with yours

 and inculcate this spirit of oneness in them. The vision with which you are moving forward should be made clear.

To make a culturally aligned team you need to make sure:

  • There is a strong culture of team collaboration in place
  • Your offshore team is as much invested in the aims as you are
  • The team has the dignity to stick to the vision no matter what

Businesses sometimes face budget constraints. If the teams have this sense of comradery, they stick together in tough times and never put the other through delays and resource crunch.

  1. Is it Possible to Fully Culturally Align the Offshore Teams?

Cultural is a very complex and multifold concept. Also, it is dynamic and ever- changing. So, it is unlikely for a company to fully achieve cultural alignment with the offshore teams. No matter how much effort you put in, there will be certain differences and nuances.

However, it is still very crucial for businesses to strive for cultural compatibility to create a more inclusive and collaborative work environment for the offshore as well as in-house teams.

  • Value for your dollar:

Hiring, training and retaining resources is frustrating and drain resources. When you outsource your project, you get the best value for your money as they handle everything

  • Leverage Cutting-edge technology at low cost:

Outsourcing companies regularly train their workforce with latest practices and technology to stay ahead of the curve. This helps them tackle every complex problem, keep their skills sharp and serve clients with the best. You can also get consultation on which technology is the best fit for your business. Keeping the in-house talent trained and up-to-date can cost you an arm and leg

  • Get lesser down time:

You should have someone at the back to troubleshoot and fix when the IT systems are down. This is how you can save your business operations from any kind of disruption. Outsourcing your IT department provides you with people who can take care of the downtime and keep your business running.

  • Reactive and Proactive Support:

One of the best features of hiring an offshore software development company is that you get both reactive and proactive support. As in sometimes the bugs are fixed after they happen, the other times they are detected early on and fixed.