There is no denying that the world of work has changed dramatically over the last decade, and there are several important reasons for this.
Advances in technology, the smartphone revolution, and the growing gig economy were just the start. Couple that with the changing needs of millennial and Gen Z workers, and it’s easy to see why the workplace of 2022 looks nothing like it did ten years ago.
Then, of course, there was the Covid-19 pandemic that saw a huge push towards remote working, a change which looks set to stay. In fact, in 2022, it is estimated that 16% of companies around the world are now fully remote, and around 25-30% of the global workforce now operate remotely.
And there is a good reason for this. Remote work not only benefits professionals by offering them more flexibility, but businesses also reap multiple rewards. With so many benefits for both parties, lots of businesses are considering creating a completely virtual workplace.
But this doesn’t just happen overnight. Building a remote team takes careful planning, time, and dedication.
So, if you’re hoping to build a remote team this year, then this guide is for you. Below, we’ll teach you how to navigate the remote hiring process, how to manage and monitor remote teams, and how to create a virtual company culture that leads to success.
Hiring the right people
Employees are the heart and soul of any company, which is why it is so important that you hire the right people.
Now, remote recruiting is a little different from traditional hiring, and it’s not without its challenges, but if you get the right processes in place, you can make it much easier to find and hire talented remote workers for your company. Here’s how:
Understand the challenges you face
Firstly, if you can understand the challenges you will be up against, you can decide on the best form of action for tackling these.
One of the greatest things about remote working is that you are not bound by location; remote professionals can operate from anywhere in the world – and there are some very exciting cities for working remotely.
This also means your business has access to a much bigger and more diverse talent pool. However, this can lead to problems such as ambiguity around equivalent education, qualifications, and other credentials.
Another challenge of remote hiring is that it is much harder to meet and interview candidates in person, as these could be people on the other side of the world. But, as we have said, if you get the right processes in place, you can get around these challenges fairly easily, and you’ll open your business up to a much wider and more talented pool of candidates.
Create detailed job descriptions
Your job descriptions are going to be the first thing a candidate sees, and this will determine whether they apply to the position or not. As such, you need to make this as accurate and detailed as possible to ensure you attract only the right people.
Be sure to include details about your business and not just the skills you’d like the candidate to have but the personal attributes as well. You should also be very specific about what criteria are preferred and what are essential.
Make the most of video interviews
Video interviews are going to be your saving grace when it comes to remote hiring. Of course, you might wish to do screening calls in the earlier stages of the process, but video calls will be the key to getting to know your candidate better and putting a face to a resume.
Test their skills
It can also be a good idea, where possible, to test a candidate’s skills and competencies either during or before the interview stage. You could ask them to provide a portfolio, give a presentation, or use recruitment assessment tools to test their knowledge and skills.
Consider any time or location issues
Finally, before you make an offer to a candidate you really like, you need to consider whether there are going to be any time-zone issues or language barriers.
Of course, speaking a different language or operating in different time zones doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker, but if you think it might present potential issues further down the line, they might not be the right candidate for your business. So, you just need to give this some careful thought beforehand.
Follow these steps
By following these steps and getting a fair, consistent, and effective hiring process in place, you can attract and hire candidates that are going to help drive your remote business forward.
Building a strong culture
Something else that is challenging with remote teams is building a strong virtual company culture. After all, your employees don’t see each other in person every day. They can’t just stop for a chat as they make a cup of coffee or arrange a quick catch-up in the meeting room.
However, creating a great remote culture is possible with a little creativity. Some of the best ways to do this include:
Finding creative ways to form bonds
It’s a good idea to arrange a video conference where new team members can meet one another and put a face to a name. This can be done during a formal work meeting or perhaps as a more relaxed event where they can simply chat and get to know one another via video link.
You could also encourage fun virtual events, such as a virtual happy hour, video catch-ups over morning coffee, or online quizzes and games. These all present an opportunity for your employees to get to see each other’s faces, chat, and get to know each other better.
Starting remote traditions
Just because you’re not in an office, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have meaningful workplace traditions. You can start whatever traditions you believe will encourage bonding and employee happiness. Some examples might be e-cards on their birthdays and perhaps even birthday drinks via video conference.
You could also run ‘employee of the month’ schemes, rewarding the winner with a voucher or even just recognizing them verbally in the team meeting and celebrating what they’ve achieved.
Getting the right tools in place
As your remote team begins to take shape, you need to make sure you’ve got the right tools in place not only to aid their work but also to ensure they can communicate effectively with one another and build relationships.
Collaboration is different for remote teams – you can’t just wander over to each other’s desks for a quick chat. As such, it’s important to consider collaboration tools and project management platforms that will benefit everyone involved.
The good news is that there are plenty out there designed to support remote teams. Certainly, some of the tools you should be considering include video conferencing platforms, instant messaging apps, and project management tools that help to align and monitor tasks.
Some examples might be Slack, Trello, Zoom, or Microsoft Teams. This allows your teams to arrange video calls, quickly send messages to one another, and assign tasks to each other remotely.
Arranging some face time where possible
Depending on how far and wide your remote team is spread, this one might be tricky. But where possible, it’s a nice idea to arrange some in-person face time at company events. This could be an annual Christmas get-together or a weekend getaway in an agreed-upon location.
Of course, this won’t always be possible, and you might not always be able to get everyone to attend. But if you have the means and your employees are interested, why not consider arranging events in person when you can to help strengthen their bonds.
Preparing management teams
As your team grows, it’s likely that you’ll begin to hire managers in order to delegate authority and tasks. You might even have multiple different departments. In order to ensure everyone is on the same page and that you build the best possible remote workforce, it’s vital that you prepare your managers and supervisors for overseeing a remote team.
In order to do this, you might encourage additional leadership training. It’s also a good idea to make sure every manager understands the hiring process when looking for new recruits and that they are given effective tools to help support and even boost your remote company culture.
Asking for feedback
Finally, something you should certainly do in the early stages, but also something that you should make an integral part of your culture, is asking for feedback. Your remote workers will know better than you what works and what doesn’t when it comes to the daily running of the business.
Arranging regular one-to-ones or having managers regularly catch up with their direct reports is a good start. You could also run anonymous employee surveys. You can then use this opportunity to find out if they have the tools they need to work and collaborate effectively, how they are finding working remotely, how they feel about the company culture, and if anything can be done to improve it.
As we said earlier, building a remote team doesn’t happen overnight, it takes careful planning and execution. However, by getting a strong recruitment process in place, nurturing a positive culture, and asking for regular feedback, you can create a successful and happy remote workforce that drives your business forward.