The Key to Getting the Most Out of Your Nearshore Software Team For US-based smaller tech and software development firms, understanding how to effectively manage their nearshore teams can make a difference in whether or not their investment pays off.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Nearshore teams provide smaller tech companies a leg up in competing with larger firms – namely, affordable niche talent. For US-based smaller tech and software development firms, understanding how to effectively manage their nearshore teams can make a difference in whether or not their investment pays off.
Getting the most out of your nearshore team involves effective delegation and management, but there's a few specific things that smaller software development firms can do to keep their remote engineers engaged and not feel isolated. Finding what motivates your team (even if it's a "team" of one) and delivering will ensure that your near sourcing dollars are well-spent.
Provide social support
Not only are your nearshore team members working remotely from the main company, more than likely, they're also working from home.
Many software developers thrive in a remote working environment as long as they're given clear direction and an understanding of their timeline and performance expectations. However, every developer has different needs, so figuring out the right kind of communication and how much is an essential part of the hiring process.
Scheduling brief conversations 2-3 times a day is one of the more successful models of sourcing engagement. In the morning, begin with a phone call or email to go over the plan for the day and let your nearshore workers know when you're available for questions. Touch base midday to ensure everyone is on track, and plan to spend some time going over recent submissions. Make sure to say goodbye and check in at the end of the day as well.
Close contact ensures that projects stay on track, but take care not to micromanage your remote teams. Talking consistently demonstrates to your developers that you're engaged and available. When you're needed to step in and problem-solve, it's often easier when you've already established a good rapport.
It's not just professional social support that you should provide, but more informal, personal support, too. Consider hosting monthly lunch and learns, where everyone can eat together and participate in-person or on Zoom, with different group discussion topics related to your field. Or, perhaps encourage Friday happy hours, either in-person, remotely or both. These gatherings help your team bond and build a level of trust.
Attractive benefits and salary
Competitive salaries are one of the deciding factors in finding the best talent. One major mistake that US software development companies make is lowballing their teams, counting on a stronger value of the dollar in Latin American countries to make their remuneration packages look more competitive.
However, many nearshore techs, especially those with niche skills, may be in high demand from your competitors. While the working environment and sense of camaraderie may inspire better performance once your team is in place, financial considerations are usually a more powerful motivator. Keep an eye on the market, and regularly evaluate salary levels for the skills you require. If you're paying below the going rate, don't be surprised if your top talent leaves.
You may consider other perks, too, like a bonus structure or more traditional employment benefits, such as paid time off and sick leave.
Health insurance can be tricky to navigate when you're working with teams in other countries. One way that some successful small software companies handle this is through a monthly stipend for longer-term teams. Others seek group policies with coverage throughout most of North America and offer these at reduced rates to their long-term contractors.
Getting the most out of your nearshore development teams means being involved and engaged, finding the right mix of support and a positive working environment and a proactive approach to the right benefits and salary package. When you find that "sweet spot," you'll see the best results.