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Navigating Mine Field in Engaging Global Workforce

Navigating Mine Field in Engaging Global Workforce

Internet and the relentless pursuit of the next Google or Facebook has created a new breed of workers, globe trotting geeks. For a small island state with shortage of human capital, global workforce is handy and a necessity. Six years ago, I was handling web development for the very first time in professional capacity. Talents were hard to find in this tiny island. To make matters worse, finding the right talent is much harder.


So, I bumped around in the last few years from India to China, Indonesia to Malaysia and Philippines to Vietnam. Generally, I conversed in English with everyone. Although I have been doing similar projects, I find myself having to learn communicative English adapted to each country that I carried out my business. Without fail, I found myself in “long discussion” sessions.. struggling with communicating the desired outcomes the projects with my “Global Workforce” or more accurately “Regional Workforce”.

Many of us are attracted to the lower cost of hiring regional talents. Although most of us speak and write English in our software development work, we often could not bring our “points” across to our foreign counterparts. This results in project delays, derails and worse, STALLED development.

In my personal experience, engaging global workforce is something we cannot avoid today in Singapore. Whether we are working in an SME or MNC, we have colleagues and/or vendors from different countries in Asia. In my case, I work with remote talents. Very often in project management, I have to overcome language barriers, time zone differences and cultural barrier. These barriers form gaps between vendor and client, breeding discontent if not managed well.

Global workforce is the “new sexy” term we have come to embrace in labour tight Singapore. We have to be mindful of the many gaps when we engage global workforce in this competitive environment.