I've noticed an interesting thing while working in US-based organizations that utilize offshore teams: somehow, it's always the offshore team that's vilified for stuff that goes wrong (and there's always something that goes wrong).
In recruiting, the most often use of offshore teams tends to be in what has traditionally been called "research and sourcing" (I dislike that name, which is one of the reasons why I've re-branded it Talent Research within my company). I've also seen organizations delegate more process-oriented work to their offshore counterparts.
In nearly every case, I've heard the US-based organization complain about their offshore team's incompetence. "They aren't sending me the right candidates" is a typical lament. "Why are they sending me rodeo clowns when I obviously want bozos" is another one. "They just don't pay attention to the details"...you get the idea.
And yet, I have a hard time imagining how these offshore teams are THAT incompetent. I will admit that sometimes offshore teams just aren't up to fluff. However, I still argue that it's ultimately the US-based organization's fault--after all, they're the ones that put that team together.
This whole situation is a little ironic to me. You see, what it boils down to is our unwillingness to devote time to develop these offshore teams to the level of "competence" we want. Once we have a team in place, we (the mighty US multi-national) expect the offshore team to automatically overcome language barriers, cultural differences, and other idiosyncracies in business and provide "great" deliverables.
This approach has obviously failed. Many times. And yet, companies continue to do this.
Why is it ironic? Because as I've ranted before, the next big thing in business is going to be Talent Development. As more and more organizations begin to realize that there simply aren't enough people with "perfect" experiences...developing "raw" talent is going to become ever so important on the corporate agenda list.
And yet...here are these same organizations...unwilling to put aside time to develop offshore talent.
Don't get me wrong. I'm sure there are great examples of organizations that have made remarkable strides in utilizing offshore teams (and I'd love to hear about them). These are the "WOW" companies.
Right now, I'm simply addressing the unremarkable companies.