What Does it Take to Build a Successful Remote Team?
Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Mary Atamaniuk, a digital content strategist at YouTeam
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last twenty years, it’s clear that technology has made a dramatic shift in the way workplaces look, feel, and operate. Today, employees across many industries can work effectively with colleagues located all over the globe, but it isn’t just workers who are enjoying this buzz.
Business owners are increasingly embracing working remotely as this makes their choice of a talent pool nearly unlimited. Now, employers can hire a skilled team of remote professionals cutting the costs and avoiding the complexities of keeping them in-house.
Working remotely presents many opportunities for both sides of the workplace, but it creates certain challenges as well. When your workers aren’t co-located, a vibrant corporate culture doesn’t just build itself by default — you have to create it by design.
At YouTeam, successful remote teams are about the following:
- Hiring the right people, wherever they are.
- Building an environment where workers trust their teammates.
- Crafting a monitoring system to ensure employees meet both personal and common company goals.
Using our experience, we’ve established a multi-step system that helps our remote colleagues feel connected regardless of where they are based.
Here’s how it works:
Employees are the heart of your company, which is why you should treat the hiring process very seriously. It is important to hire those who are capable of working effectively, regardless of where they are — at home or in the office.
For this reason, we recommend you to keep the following principles in mind:
- Arrange a live discussion. If it’s possible, interview candidates in person. This will give you a better insight into the candidate’s communication competencies, body language, and behavior. If they live nearby, hold an interview at your office or any other convenient location. If not, set up an interview using Skype, Zoom or any other video conferencing tool.
- Assess creatively. If you’re hiring for managerial or technical roles, it’s essential for you to follow a strategic approach. First, consider using online skills assessment tools. Job sites sometimes offer quizzes that can help you evaluate a candidate’s qualifications. Second, check references from prior employees. Personal recommendations and LinkedIn testimonials work perfectly great at this stage.
- Evaluate self-motivation. Your virtual teammates won’t have any colleagues nearby to help them stay focused on the task. That’s why self-motivation is an extremely important factor to consider when it comes to hiring remote employees. Ensure that your candidates are able to work without distractions by asking open-ended questions. This way, you’ll see how your candidates can address certain issues and, based on that, define whether they are a good fit for your team.
2. Building culture
Whatever corporate culture you build, nothing can contribute to it as effectively as quality face-to-face time. Ultimately, the success of your remote team boils down to your ability to create a common organizational culture your employees are proud to be a part of.
Let’s take a look at some approaches:
- While you’re holding your daily or weekly project discussions, allow your colleagues to attend via video. Though it cannot substitute being there in person, it can make your co-workers feel part of a big, friendly team. There are plenty of services offering video options where multiple people can join in and participate.
- Regular team outings. Having all of your team members together for monthly or quarterly meetings may be costly, but the team loyalty you get afterward is absolutely worth it. We at YouTeam, arrange company meetings at least once every 3 months and offer each department a chance to highlight their top accomplishments. Then, we have a photo shoot, tasty dinner, and party with cocktails, contests, and more.
- Team celebrations are great for keeping your workers happy, but you should also invest in their professional growth as well. Since you already have some events and conferences built into your budget, you might consider bringing some members of your remote team along. This will give your remote colleagues a precious chance to hang out with each other, make new connections, and bring new ideas to the table. Conferences aren’t just about inspiration — they are all about knowledge-sharing and quality time as well.
Trust is essential, but don’t ignore any monitoring processes that should be put in place. We increasingly rely on the following things:
- Project management. We use different types of project management software to keep track of all tasks and assignees responsible for their completion. This helps us make sure that no project slips through the cracks — and that everything gets done as expected.
- Document collaboration. Even if your teammates are partially distributed or completely remote, they should rely on some type of document collaboration system. Such services make it easy for everyone at a company to see what their colleagues are working on at any given time.
- Video conferencing/chat. Communication tools are a quick way to connect all your teammates remotely. With a video conferencing or a chat tool, you can communicate in a hassle-free manner without emailing back-and-forth.
- All-hands meetings. Weekly team meetings motivate your employees to celebrate each individual victory team-wide. Being able to recap the successes and frustrations of the week is a great way to build connections and foster a sense of belonging. Zoom allows us to see every member of our team at once; it creates a vibe of meeting in person, which is essential for remote workers.
- Regular one-on-ones. Personal one-on-one meetings should be also a common practice. They are a great way to reflect on both long-term and short-term goals set and achieved personally. Each employee gets a chance to hear about their personal contribution to organizational success, which helps to keep pushing the limits and moving forward.
Over to you
Managing and bringing together a remote team requires a substantial amount of energy and time. If you decide to go this road, you should consider implementing the processes mentioned above. Remember that the success of your team depends on your ability to pick the right talent, keep them motivated, and hold them effective for meeting your company goals.
Mary Atamaniuk is a digital content strategist at YouTeam — a platform for building remote teams of world-class engineers within 1 week. Mary’s areas of interest include digital marketing, tech entrepreneurship, and influencer blogging.