Many online panel companies have opened up their offices in India – especially to leverage immense tech-talent available in this market. But in recent times with rampant attrition and low quality programming creeping in many of the online panel companies are rethinking this decision. I believe the solution is to understand and then properly identify the RIGHT TYPE of offshore team head your organization needs. The article illustrates 5 must have qualities required in an offshore team head to be able to meet your organizational goals.
QUALITY 1: NEED A LEADER NOT A MANAGER!!
The biggest problem with an offshore office (especially operation) is that no matter how much communication channels have come up (like video/audio conferencing) – Your staff will always miss your physical presence. Your offshore TEAM HEAD is your brand ambassador – to whom your employees would look up to in your absence.
Most of the online panel companies are faltering here BIG TIME – they are HIRING managers – what they need is a LEADER!!
A leader INSPIRES & MOTIVATES your employees to go that extra mile!!
You should FIRE your offshore team head if:
1- Too many employees are leaving the organization.
2- Employee satisfaction levels are dipping by the day.
3- Absenteeism is a major HR issue in the company.
4- Even good employees are churning out low quality performance.
All the above reasons are in conjunction with the thought that “Employees leave Managers NOT Organization”.
We have the tendency of selecting the candidate WE THINK is good and not who will ACTUALLY fit in the organization. The thought is all the more relevant in the context of offshore office.
One critical mistake which companies are making is that they don’t properly understand the salary structure at their offshore location– Dollar has higher evaluation then Rupees. So even if you are paying lesser salary to your offshore team head as per USA norms – but by Indian standards it might be PREPOSTEROUS!!!
What it does is that it INSTIGATES potential employees to join your organization ONLY for monetary benefits – quite a hazardous trend. Companies should investigate the industry standard of salary structures in India and create an attractive package accordingly.
THINK HARD – Is there too much attrition in your offshore office?
QUALITY 2: CAN WALK THE TALK!!
Although some people may disagree but I strongly believe that to become a leader you should know what you are talking about. For e.g. in an online panel company if the offshore team head doesn’t have a clue about what survey programming is – No right for him to LEAD a team of survey programmers. A leader should be able to EMPATHIZE with the problems team faces but what if they have no clue what the problem is.
A leader’s role is to be the torch bearer but what if they don’t know how to operate the torch????
When selecting your offshore team head look for these 4 skill sets:
1- Sound knowledge of online panel industry.
2- Workable survey programmings know how.
3- Practical understanding of sampling methods.
4- Understands panel management.
THINK HARD – Is your offshore team head understands the basics of the online panel industry?
QUALITY 3: PROMOTES EQUAL OPPORTUNITY ACROSS THE TEAMS!!
‘Killing the creativity’ is what most of the managers are good at – for a company it not only results in the loss of a brilliant idea but probably loss of good employees too.
Ask yourself these 4 questions:
1- What training programs for the staff your offshore team head has conducted?
2- What types of equal opportunities are being provided in the team?
3- Is the employee attrition direct result of unfair management policies?
4- Is your offshore team head INSPIRING the team members?
If the answer is NO to any one or more of the questions – DO a favor to your company – Fire the offshore team head!!
Studies have found that people do not operate to their fullest capabilities if they are not given equal opportunities at the rewards. Here it is critical to understand that only a true leader would have the vision to let his other team members grow.
What should an offshore team head be doing?
1- Creating new breed of leaders in your company.
2- Creating an environment in the company which promotes healthy competition.
3- Creating forums for employee’s creativity outlet.
4- Inspiring others by showing the right path.
THINK HARD – Is your offshore team head a LEADER or merely a manager?
QUALITY 4: HAVE EXCELLENT COMMUNICATION SKILLS!!
Let us face this simple truth that for Indians – ENGLISH being not our mother tongue – we need to acquire the skill set to be proficient in it. Some people have the argument that for example an offshore team head need not necessarily have excellent communication skills – on the contrary it is even more compulsory for them.
Imagine a scenario where some critical instructions have been given to your offshore team head and he has misinterpreted the gist – cause of poor communication skill – nutshell it would be A DISASTER!!
Today many a times your clients have to interact directly with your offshore team head – imagine what impression it would leave if they have a poor communication skills. Internally also I have personally seen this bitter truth that our USA based team members were frustrated explaining even simple things to some of the offshore team members.
You would be interacting a lot yourself with your offshore team head and it would be productive if there is a seamless communication prevailing.
THINK HARD – Is your offshore team head is conversant in ENGLISH?
QUALITY 5: SHOULD BE INNOVATION DRIVER!!
If you have opened your offshore office just to cut cost – please don’t read further!!!
The cost effectiveness is one of the drivers of opting for offshore location – BUT the primary reason is that there is a particular skill set which the offshore location is offering. In case of India apart from strong tech knowledge we are proud to claim that ours is an innovation driven society. Our country has given great innovators & leaders at Global level.
Online Panel industry is still at a nascent stage of development – the coming decade will be governed by the fact how much innovation a company accomplishes.
When you are choosing your company’s offshore team head– scrutinize their background as to what they have truly achieved in their past jobs – someone may have just passed a decade at Microsoft but cannot be branded as a technology expert!! Look at the achievements not the number of years of experience.
There are 2 types of employees – one who bring forth innovative ideas and another lot who implement them. Your offshore team head should be of the first kind!!
One grave mistake which companies are doing is that they simply search LinkedIn – look for a senior level person in their competitor company – and make an exorbitant offer to start their own offshore office. Well it might be that this chap is performing poorly for your competitor and you hiring him would be counterproductive.
Look out for the INNOVATORS in the market!!
THINK HARD – When was the last time your offshore team head gave you a BRILLIANT IDEA?
Now you have a choice. You can comment, share, or implement. I prefer if you implement, but I’ll appreciate all three – Akshay Kanyal