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  • Writer's pictureAmalga Group

Jens Erik Gould on the Cultural Diversity in Nearshore Teams

Originally published in SAN FRANCISCO POST

Nearshoring has many benefits for modern-day companies. According to Amalga Group CEO Jens Erik Gould, it gives businesses faster access to talent pools in foreign markets while staying within US time zones. It’s also a cost-effective way to access a skilled workforce while improving operational flexibility and scalability.

Still, the use of nearshore teams doesn’t come without challenges. For one, operating with teams from different cultures can affect collaboration and efficiency. 

Fortunately, fostering cultural understanding between teams in different countries can help overcome this issue. Below, Jens Erik Gould discusses ways to build cultural competency and make nearshoring work for you.

Train Your Team to Work Together

Teams throughout your organization must respect cultural differences. They must respect how other people communicate, their preferred working styles, and even the differences in work schedules and time zones, says Jens Erik Gould. And while senior managers can certainly explain these differences to staff, investing in professional training may also be helpful.

A cultural diversity or awareness trainer can serve two purposes. First, this person can promote cultural sensitivity and provide insights into cultural norms. Additionally, they can provide language training and communication workshops. This gives your team practical tools for working together and fosters empathy and understanding.

Most importantly, managers must lead by example by showing cultural sensitivity and encouraging their teams to do the same. 

Celebrate Diversity Among All Employees

According to Jens Erik Gould, another way to foster cultural connections and understanding is to celebrate holidays and share traditions among your teams. If your teams have had cultural sensitivity training, they can practically apply what they’ve learned to their workforce traditions.

Celebrations (like celebrating holidays and traditions) are fun and acknowledge coworkers residing in other countries. It’s also a way for those not a part of that culture regularly to understand the things that are important to others.

Make Collaboration and Teamwork Easier

Communication is key to success with nearshore teams. However, according to Jens Erik Gould, communicating effectively can be challenging when teams live in different countries. These difficulties stem from logistical issues like physical distance and cultural differences (such as one’s conversation tone and tactics). 

Business leaders must foster a culture of open communication and host regular meetings to ensure clarity among all teams. Additionally, collaboration and teamwork can be made easier with software and tools like cloud-based project management platforms, document-sharing tools, teleconferencing programs, and translation tools.

Organize Team-Building and Interaction

Fostering great communication starts with ensuring the team is on track and working toward the same goal. While this can be a challenge with remote teams, virtual team-building activities can still help. 

This can be as simple as playing trivia games or learning how to make a gourmet coffee drink. As stated earlier, Jens Erik Gould even recommends organizing these activities around cultural holidays and traditions. Making time for informal interactions can build camaraderie, increase empathy, and improve collaboration.

Prioritizing Cultural Understanding Can Make All the Difference

Cultural understanding is essential for nearshore teams to operate efficiently. According to Jens Erik Gould, this step ensures everyone feels engaged and respected. It is critical to use all the tools and methods available to build that understanding. 

But don’t forget that it’s just as important for team leaders to celebrate and embrace cultural diversity in their everyday actions and speech. When they do, it conveys that different cultures are valued and appreciated. And in the long run, this can make all the difference in your team’s ability to get the job done.

The Nearshore Advantage

A key advantage of nearshore outsourcing — which involves talent in Latin America — is that cultural differences tend to be less pronounced than when engaging in offshore outsourcing in Asia or Europe. Talent in Latin America is already quite engaged with US culture and familiar with American business practices, and this cultural proximity inherently makes communication more seamless with US teams. That, in turn, leads to enhanced productivity. 

About Jens Erik Gould:

Jens Erik Gould is the Founder & CEO of Amalga Group, a Texas-based nearshore outsourcing company specializing in providing highly qualified talent in IT, software engineering, and contact centers. Previously, Gould spent over a decade reporting on business, politics, and energy topics in the United States and Latin America for esteemed media outlets like Bloomberg News, The New York Times, and TIME Magazine.

Published by: Nelly Chavez

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