Cultural Nearshoring: Bridging the GAP

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In the world of nearshoring services, the cultural gap between people, and therefore, organizations, is common. Despite the differences between cultures, one thing remains essential: communication.

As in all outsourcing partnerships, especially in nearshoring, communication plays a vital role as an agent of change, as it should.
For organizations who seek to improve efficiency by extending their internal IT team via an outsourcing solution, enhancing communication and collaboration is a top concern, and culture is the starting point.

When researching who will be the right outsourcing partner, it’s expected that key questions arise: can the differences in cultures become a block when combining an in-house team with an outsourced one? It’s no secret that remote teams can help bridge the cultural gap thanks to their many advantages. Yet, these benefits are not without a big risk: partnering with an inexperienced provider with little practice or knowledge with cultural nearshoring.
As important as it is, there’s no step-by-step guide on how to tackle cultural differences when outsourcing. So, what do you need to know?

From the Top

What Is Cultural Nearshoring?

A nearshoring service is, in essence, using teams placed in a neighboring country where usually the language barrier is non-existent or minimal. Thus, allowing teams on both sides to better communicate with each other. An enhancement in communication which, due to the relative proximity with one another, reduces significantly the respective cultural differences while bringing together similar operational habits.
Objectively, by stripping the communication barrier on how each team approaches their work and communicates, the business itself has a greater chance of creating a cohesive and all-connected work environment focused on optimization and delivery. In other words, with the support of an experienced outsourced team, you’ll be able to turn the out-put knob to a hundred percent.

However, cultural nearshoring has its challenges. Clients and providers must come together from the very start, and recognize that people are the heart of all projects. This means understanding the existent of contrasting workplace culture behaviors.

Understanding Your Outsourcing Team Culture

People from different cultures bear different behaviors and work methodologies. They can differ in languages, processes, and communication styles, among others. Learning how your international counterparts operate becomes critical as it will put aside any chances of misunderstandings between you and your provider from the get-go.

Although a nearshore approach focuses on adaptability to the client’s work system or practices, it’s important to note that some obstacles are difficult to circumvent. For example, in France, workers are protected by a Right to Disconnect Law, which stipulates that most French professionals are not obligated to reply to emails that come in after hours. This sensible and logical measure was adopted to protect employees from being overworked. Yet, it could be a conflicting issue down the road if an outsourcing client has different standards or work expectations.

In Sweden, coffee breaks, also known as fika, are culturally embedded as they seed productivity. It gives the working force an opportunity to relax. Some companies implement a formal fika with breaks at 9 am, 3 pm, and some, more frequently. There are also other working forces who are even encouraged to take mid-day naps, such as in Japan. The same goes for holidays.
At the end of the day, working with an extended outsourced team might not match completely your specific workplace structure or culture, but it doesn’t mean it won’t live up to your expectations.

Benefiting from a shared Culture

One of the biggest advantages of nearshoring is the shared time zones, which not only provides an ease of travel to meet your outsourcing partner but brings teams closely together during similar working hours. This means teams can organize immediate meetings for updates or urgent calls to fix a problem. Alongside this, is a common benefit. If both companies share the same schedule, weekly meetings can be secured easily, as opposed to one party having to use time in their early morning or evening to trade information.

It’s no secret that the work culture of each country impacts how companies communicate with each other. As in all business relations, interpreting a message incorrectly can be disastrous, affecting the direction of the project and the business partnership. With nearshoring, working with a partner culturally adapted to different markets and with a high English-proficiency, such as Portugal, makes the work between teams faster, intuitive, and without restraints

Ultimately, shared culture is undoubtedly one of the biggest advantages of nearshoring. Providing smoother and more efficient communication, while ensuring your project is created quicker and with greater quality, with minimal miscommunication dilemmas along the way.

To get to know more about how nearshore development can change your internal team, check out our article: Why nearshore development is the best solutions

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