Delve into the hypothesis that when faced with a talent shortage and increased scrutiny over diversity issues, modern organizations should consider hiring from outside their own countries. By doing so, they'll even produce better software
When it comes to hiring developers, recruiters today have it harder than ever. Apart from the fact that there aren't enough developers, to begin with, there are even fewer who are qualified. And when recruiters actually succeed in hiring some, retaining them can be just as difficult. So, it should come as no huge surprise that employers who don't step up their game could end up paying 20 percent above market rate for such critical digital talent, according to Forrester.
To complicate things further, today's tech companies operate in an era of increased scrutiny over diversity issues, putting extra pressure on HR departments to recruit and hire individuals from different backgrounds. But it's in their interest to do so, anyway: a recent McKinsey study found a strong correlation between diversity and profitability, with the most ethnically, culturally and gender diverse executive teams 33 percent more likely to outperform their peers.
With these concerns in mind, modern organizations have a strong incentive to consider hiring developers from outside their home countries. Whether this means hiring them as full-time employees, or simply outsourcing, the resulting culture gap won't only help organizations steer clear of these hiring challenges, but will produce better software, too. Here's why:
Culture diversity leads to more creative solutions
People from different cultures often have different approaches to problem-solving. As such, when a team of developers is comprised of individuals from different backgrounds, there's a diversity of ideas for how to go about solving a problem. In many cases, individuals have experience working on different types of projects and may have even come across certain problems or challenges that other team members haven't – especially when outsourcing or working in different industries. This makes projects move faster and run smoother because teams have access to a more diverse pool of knowledge, allowing them to ultimately build more creative solutions.
At our company, for example, we have teams made up of developers from Colombia, the United States, Mexico, Belgium, Italy, France and more. At the same time, we work with clients throughout the United States and Europe who add even more cultural diversity to the equation. Some of these clients even have teams in other regions, like Ukraine, Argentina, and India, compounding the benefits of diversity. We've consistently found that the cultural differences in these projects are more beneficial to a project than they are detrimental.
However, with cross-cultural developer teams, problem-solving needs to be approached very deliberately because different cultures have different ways of working and some individuals may be less likely to speak up than others. For this reason, it's important to do team building exercises to make sure that people connect, that there's mutual respect and that everyone is comfortable voicing his or her opinion.
Including team members from different cultures puts global adaptability in mind from the beginning
Software often requires major adaptations for different markets – that is, companies can rarely roll out the same products in different languages for different countries. In fact, this is exactly what Intuit founder Scott Cook learned the hard way after he first tried (and failed) to launch the company's tax prep software around the world. "We didn't build these products based on a deep study of the countries," he said in an interview with Inc. "We built them based on what we had in the US." It's for this very reason the company shut down many of its international operations in the years following its initial expansion.
Diverse developer teams bring their unique perspectives and allow companies to keep global adaptability in mind from the beginning. Developers and other software development professionals know exactly what would or wouldn't work in their home markets, and can work together to build a solution that has global potential from day one – or at least know what changes they need to make for different markets. This gives businesses with diverse developer teams a unique advantage when expanding internationally.
Diversity in the cultures and backgrounds of teams enables knowledge transfer
Leveraging cross-cultural teams also promotes significant knowledge transfer by combining the unique expertise and experiences of the team members. Software developers from different parts of the world may use different programming languages or techniques, which means that there is an opportunity for mutual learning when putting them on the same team to work together.
But that's just the beginning. Particularly when outsourcing, both parties have the potential to learn from each other's technologies and processes, as these tend to differ across both countries and organizations. In fact, we started deepening our understanding and implementation as early adopters of the DevOps software development approach quite quickly when one of our outsourced projects required it. In the same way, we can introduce our clients to new technologies, and recommend solutions that they wouldn't have known about otherwise.
Leveraging talent from other cultures and regions frees up capital for other business processes
It's no secret that outsourcing has long been used as a cost-saving measure for companies. But with the global connectivity offered by modern technologies, organizations now also have the option to hire developers to work remotely at a similar low cost. India has traditionally been a top destination for low-cost, high-quality talent, but other regions including Latin America have recently risen as attractive destinations for developers as well.
By searching for outsourcing partners or hiring more affordable developers outside of their home countries, businesses can free up capital for other strategic processes – or invest their savings to build even better software for the same price they would've paid with local developers. This investment could ultimately be the difference between building a bare-bones solution and something that consumers truly value.
Nearshoring allows for synchronous communication
Close communication is critical for successful software development projects, which is exactly why the Agile and DevOps development methodologies have emerged over the years. It's also why "nearshoring," or offshoring development to nearby countries has picked up in Latin America, becoming an attractive alternative for companies in the US over offshoring to more distant countries like India or Ukraine when searching for talent.
By working with developers who are in close geographical proximity, organizations in different countries have the advantage of working and collaborating across similar time zones, making effective communication a non-issue. This directly translates into higher quality software solutions because developers can be more in-tune with organizations' needs, and iterate quicker to get their solutions to market as soon as possible.
So, while companies face many challenges in regard to hiring developer talent, foreign developers offer a viable solution. Not only are they available at a lower cost, but they also can help solve tech's lingering diversity issue – and produce better software in the process.
About Perficient Latin America
Perficient Latin America Corp. delivers high-quality software outsourcing solutions by mastering advanced processes and technologies, such as big data, machine learning, and DevOps, among others. The company's reliable nearshore model, coupled with its top-tier, extensively trained software engineers, allows for efficient agile iterations and continuous experimentation.