I had the amazing opportunity to visit with our Hyderabad, India team a few weeks back. Before my trip I had read how India really changes people. To be honest, I felt a hint of anxiety followed by a surge of excitement as I boarded the plane wondering what change this beautiful country might bring about in me.
From the moment I arrived I felt welcome and did not want to leave. The team and everyone in Hyderabad are so amazing. They are smart, gracious and have such a willingness to learn. They treated me like a princess so that didn’t hurt either! There were so many positive experiences with the team: Mani and Venkat Ramana sharing so much of their traditions and ways of life, Sudheer’s mom making me delicious homemade treats, Keerthana hooking me up with her cool bindis, the trip to the Taj Mahal with Gopal, lunches with Srinivas and Ravi where they never tired of my endless questions, our team’s awesome gifts to us at the end of our visit, and I could go on and on.
Though I was only in India two weeks, I made great friends and learned so much from our Hyderabad team. Here are a few insights from my trip:
- Positivity: The team is so positive and their positivity is truly contagious. I am taking a page out of their book. They really respect the individual and know how to have healthy positive dialog.
- Together: The Hyderabad team knows each other well and likes being together. It’s fun and infectious to be part of their onsite meetings. I treated the team to lunch at the end of my visit. I loved being with everyone outside of work. Although I don’t speak Telegu, I could tell they enjoyed being with each other, respected one another, and share our Together philosophy.
- Balance: This was a very valuable aha moment – finding balance during your workday. In Hyderabad, associates pause to enjoy lunch or afternoon tea at 4:00 pm. They take time to breathe and time to hang out together talking more than just software. And they do this every day, not just on Fridays like we do. So when you see me having tea with my team on the 3rd floor couches in the afternoons, please come join me!
I also have a few tips for individuals working with team members in other countries:
- Give your fellow associates the benefit of the doubt. They are incredibly intelligent and have the best of intentions. We’re all in this together.
- Yes, there are language barriers, but these are easily overcome with emails, webcams and onsite visits. If you’re heading to India, I'll be glad to escort you!
- Slow down and take time to listen. Trying to get things done fast often leads to more mistakes. Just slowing down a bit and explaining things more helps them and us too. Listen, be patient and before you know it you’ll be a pro.
- Everyone has a lot to offer. Take time to discover each other’s talents.
- We might work out of different offices, but we’re all smart, eager to contribute and we all need the help. With the right direction, training and rapport together we will do amazing things. I know our team is well on their way.
- Consider adjusting your hours, so you have some time together that overlap. For my team it means getting to work earlier! Coming from the girl who likes to sleep late in the morning, this one is hard. But we only have 2 solid hours together. And to do this, our Hyderabad team works 10:30 am m w:00 pm India time. So get your coffee on and get the day started earlier, and besides you might get a front row parking space that way!
I'll admit I'm still working on the above advice myself, but I left India feeling renewed & ready to share my experiences with the Benefitfocus team at home.
Our teams: “QA All-stars” and “Archis”
Our hosts Gopal and Radhika at the Chowmahalla Palace