Working Successfully with Indian Outsourcing Partners

The car market in Europe is highly competitive and to adapt to changing demands, manufacturers need to bring together sources of information across many supply chains and systems to obtain detailed statistics.

Our UK client heads up the Finance Shared Services teams for one such manufacturer.  Team members are located in the UK, Belgium, France, Germany and Italy and they monitor and manage data provided to the European HQ businesses from their outsourcing partner in Chennai, India.

The Challenge

In 2017, the Indian outsourcing partner had only just been appointed. Our client had plans to go to Chennai every quarter throughout this crucial first year, to build effective relationships and review work processes with the team there. As the success of this project was under the spotlight, he felt Indian cultural awareness training for his own European team members would be vital. They had expressed concerns about the social and cultural influences that impact on doing business in India.  Whilst many things are changing in terms of business culture, with more companies adopting Western approaches, the differences in business culture can still prove challenging.

Alternative Description
Alternative Description

Our Solution

Babel provided a two-stage solution to this challenge. Firstly, we tailor-made three one-day workshops to quickly develop the knowledge, skills and behaviours required for the European teams to successfully work with their partner in Chennai.

Whilst the training had some academic theory to explain different cultural approaches, it focused on practising new behaviours. These included taking a different approach to:

  • resolving conflict with their Indian colleagues
  • understanding the ‘unwritten’ rules and hierarchy of Indian workplaces
  • guiding Indian colleagues to speak up and make suggestions
  • tailoring and sign-posting discussions to be more effective
  • writing concise emails to improve exchanges etc.

The second stage of this project involved two days of European cultural awareness training in Chennai to 50 participants. The Indian team members were young (25-30 years old) and, for many of them, this assignment was their first time working with European stakeholders.

Our Solution

Our Course Leader stressed a number of agreed, key learning points. At the conclusion of each workshop, he reinforced these by asking the participants to consider work actions that were not helpful, or could be harmful, consider those aspects of their performance that are effective, and identify behaviour or tasks that they could do more often.

This included practical steps and actions they would take for:

  • speaking out and voicing their opinions and ideas
  • advising European colleagues well in advance if something was not working well or they were unable to do something
  • being more realistic with their own expectations
  • keeping European colleagues informed on progress and avoiding last minute surprises
  • how to share their information with colleagues more freely without waiting for their supervisor’s approval.

Inspired? Contact us for a sample course outline 'Working Effectively with India' or read our Indian Cultural Newsletter.  All our courses are tailored to suit your needs and delivered at a location of your choice.

The Result

The feedback on the workshops was extremely positive. Through feedback mechanisms from our client, it has been reported that relationships have improved amongst the European stakeholders and outsourcing partner leading to reduced conflict, an increase in job satisfaction and an overall commitment to the project. We are pleased that the Manager in India commented:

“This is the best cultural training that I have had in my career. The trainer had a lot of knowledge about cultures of different countries. The session was very interactive and interesting. Thanks for this great work.”


"We really enjoyed the workshop. To be honest I was a little bit sceptical beforehand but any thoughts like that were very quickly banished, and certain subjects were discussed that I hadn’t even thought about. We both got a lot out of the day and would highly recommend to everyone."

International Assignee: Living & Working in France

EDF Energy

“I’ve gained a better understanding to cultural differences. I definitely suggest colleagues go on this to learn that something may be classed as ‘rude’ but it’s merely a misunderstanding.”

Cultural Diversity & Inclusion

St George

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