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  • David Hajdu

Common Questions About Offshore Teams in Vietnam

Updated: Oct 9, 2023

Hiring people overseas is a highly rewarding experience. However, like most new things it comes with a fair amount of uncertainty. Fortunately, over the past 20 years I've listened to every concern and answered just about every question! Here are my top 5.


Q: Will I be able to communicate in English with my team members?

A: Since joining the WTO, the Vietnamese government has invested heavily in English as a 2nd language. For most positions we are able to find great people with good English and with each graduating class it gets better and better. You can expect to be able to hold meetings in English, your team member's reading comprehension will be strong and writing solid. We use AI tools such as Bard for writing and Fireflies for note-taking and these have a multiplier effect on productivity. Check out what the Economist has to say about education in general in Vietnam.


Q: How much should I expect to save?

A: 30% to 60% depending on where you are from and what position you are hiring.


Q: How do labor contracts work in Vietnam?

A: Typically the government encourages companies to sign 1 year contracts with team members. There is a 2 month probationary period, during which time an employer can terminate a contract for any reason. Once the labor contract is in effect, documentation must be kept to demonstrate poor performance if the employer wishes to terminate a contract. Otherwise, it’s a negotiation with the team member.


Q: How do organizations deal with time zone challenges?

A: Effectively working across time zones starts with a commitment to consistency. There are meetings built for Agile that work really well. Three of my favorite are the daily standup, sprint planning, and sprint review. The great thing about them is they can all be done remote and asynchronously. Many fail at them because they let go of the structure and formality that is built into it. I'm a big fan of structured meetings where a good part of the "meeting" is done in advance of getting together. Often times teams that do their homework realize most information can get passed without discussion.


Q: What are the key drivers to Employee Engagement in Vietnam?

A: Together with my partner David Niu and some amazing team members at TINYpulse we spent 10 good years working with thousands of clients around the world to understand this. It's a huge topic that is well worth learning about for every business leader. My short answer to this is that Vietnam is just like any other place in the world. People work to fulfill basic needs. People thrive at work when they are mentally absorbed and emotionally vested. This state typically occurs when employees understand what is expected of them through clear goals, are given the resources they need to reach their goals, and are performant.

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About Me

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I've been blessed with a 20 year career that began at Microsoft and landed me in Vietnam. I love growing teams and learning with entrepreneurs. 

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