Human Resources

How to Communicate with Overseas Staff

Bryce Maddock is CEO of TaskUs ( In this video he discusses how to communicate with overseas staff.

  1. Figure out any cultural differences
  2. Establish clear expectations, rules & guidelines
  3. Truly listen & engage with any feedback
  4. Limit your use of technology
  5. Don't use equipment to spy on team
  6. Share mobile numbers to stay in touch

When you begin to work with an overseas staff, it’s very important to identify what are the cultural differences. And understand first that there are going to always be cultural differences. Things are going to be lost in translation even if they speak your language. So, set of clear expectations, rules and guidelines from the outset.

Tell the people that you’re working with that we’re from different cultures and it’s very likely that something that I say may offend you. And something that you say to me may offend me. Let’s be open and transparent about those instances and work to be sensitive to one another’s differences.

Second, it’s very important to actually listen to the feedback the team gives you. They’re going to give you queues both verbal and non-verbal so get on a telephone call with them, try to look and do it via video chat to sort of see what their facial expressions are telling you.

Lastly, don’t abuse technology. I definitely recommend using a service like Skype video chat or Screen Share, project management tools to make sure that the team is actually doing work and staying on task. But I really would recommend not doing anything creepy like using a technology to take random screen shots in their computer or figuring out are they on Facebook.

Remember that you, yourself, very likely at work, do some few things occasionally to distract yourself from, you know, the grind of every day’s [work] of things.

And this instance, I will also say that you want to make sure you get the person’s cellphone number and you’re not going to abuse that, there’s a bunch of great way that if the person isn’t available or at the office to get in touched with them.

So, when you’re going to be communicating with the different culture, it is really important to set expectations, to listen to feedback and to make sure that you utilize technology but don’t abuse technology.

Communication between two different cultures can be very, very challenging but if you can master it, you can really take advantage of all that the global labor pool has to offer.