Hiring Remote Workers in India: A Guide for US Employers

When we decide to expand internationally and hire employees in other countries it’s important that we familiarise ourselves with the local culture, business practices and any differences in operation. 

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While international business relationships can clearly be beneficial to both parties and function harmoniously, it’s important to acknowledge the differing perspectives and not just assume you’ll be able to use your same business practices in the new location. 

India and the United States vary significantly in working culture and employment regulations. This article encompasses the primary differences that a US employer should expect before and during the hiring process of Indian employees. 

Many employees in India are used to a deferential, hierarchical top-down employment structure and expect to be given clear directions of what their function and role is as well as  what is expected of them by their superiors. For example, managers would rarely be seen spending time eating with employees below their station. However,  water-cooler conversations between employees of similar stations are frequent in the workplace.

In contrast, corporate culture in the US shows strict adherence to professional work relationships. Casual conversations between employees usually only take place during break times, or when the work day has finished. Although, interactions do occur between employees of all levels.

While typical working hours in India range between 10am to 6pm, Monday to Saturday, many employees arrive later and consequently stay longer to complete assigned tasks. 

With heavy traffic in major hubs such as Delhi and Bangalore, the market for remote workers is strong, particularly where there is a good infrastructure (eg. stable broadband connectivity) for working from home. Many professionals working in India find themselves taking a number of longer breaks at work, which consequently lengthens their workday...read more

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Tim Burgess

Director, Shield GEO Services Ltd