Bridging the Gap

By Jonathan Francis

As companies in the Netherlands increase collaboration with offshore and virtual teams, a common concern is the possibility of communication and cultural gaps often faced when managing distributed teams.

Shifting from the conventional

Compared to conventional offshoring methods, we find that teams work best when clients view their remote teams as an extension of their own office with the same company DNA and value systems in place.

At Gapstars, we emphasize its importance from the beginning, which is why we take a close look at clients’ company culture and recruit talent that can not only produce quality in coding, but also communication and be the best fit for their company culture.

 

From Left to Right: Piyal, Dakshina, Piusha and Sandaru visiting the StudyPortals office in Eindhoven last month. Photo credit: Anuradha

 

Bridging the communication and cultural gap

Once teams are formed, we understand the importance of building relationships and having as much face-to-face interactions to improve collaboration and ensure those cultural values can be seen and emulated.

This standard is maintained through the Gapstars practice of having teams visit our clients’ home office at least once a year, and have new teams visit within the first two months of starting. Over 95% of our Sri Lanka team members have had the opportunity to travel to the Netherlands to work beside their Dutch colleagues and spend some quality time outside of the office to build and enhance their working relationships.

“It’s more than just visiting another country,” says Anuradha, Team Lead for StudyPortals, – “We are able to spend time thinking more from the client’s perspective, understand their environment and the challenges our colleagues work with every day. It gives us a greater perspective. Indeed, a valuable experience.”

Every visit helps reduce the likelihood of an “us vs. them” mentality that tends to creep into remote team-building and bridges the gap that companies often fear when considering offshore teams. It’s a part of our commitment to prove to clients that when done right, the different perspectives gained from accessing global talent can provide a unique competitive advantage.

Sandaru, StudyPortals team member, adds about her experience, “It becomes clearer as to how they operate and what they expect from us.That’s critical and gives us a clear direction and makes it easier to share ideas from our perspective, which is often not done when we connect remotely.”

Read our previous article to learn more about the best practices we suggest for remote teams.