By Bhavin Turakhia, CEO and Founder, Flock
An important question that has arisen in the current times is how do you build a strong remote team?
Coordinating with your team which is spread across many time zones, ensuring every task gets completed in time, and catching communication breakdowns before they deteriorate are crucial.
However, the reality is that remote work is a huge driver for competitive advantage and it is gaining popularity among businesses of all sizes and industries.
Remote teams can tap into large, untapped pools of talent beyond their geographical boundaries.
Also, going the remote way eliminates real estate and administrative overheads for businesses. Additionally, ‘remote work productivity’ has been on everyone’s mind for quite some time now. Remote employees are supposedly happier than ‘traditional’ employees and what better way to boost productivity than keeping your team happy and at ease?
Once you consider a remote work model for your business, it is vital to identify, hire and on board remote employees for your business. How easy it is to hire virtually? These steps may help you identify your remote rockstars!
A. Signs of a great remote employee:
There are plenty of qualities to look for when making any hire. But to hire remote employees that truly excel, some characteristics can help tip the balance.
1. Experts in their field, not just skilled: In this increasingly competitive economy, finding people who can perform highly specialized tasks can get a little difficult.
With the immense amount of talent available globally, remote hiring creates a distinctive opportunity for companies to reach out to individuals with targeted skill sets.
2. They do not necessarily need external motivation: Obviously, the rules of an office environment – work hours being tracked, observing employee dynamics, etc. – don’t apply to a remote team. So the ability to organize and stay motivated in the absence of external guidance becomes a vital requirement in a remote employee. Basically, find individuals who are self-motivated enough to stay productive without someone looking over their shoulder all the time.
3. They’re as great at listening as they are at speaking: In a remote hiring environment, communication skills should be assessed more than the ability to talk or the project updates shared.
Great communicators are empathetic, proactive, express themselves quite clearly, and are sure that their message is understood. They have commendable interpersonal and listening skills that must be evaluated from the very first interaction.
4. They are more productive when they focus on results, not procedures: Remote team members have little visibility into operational procedures. Hence, it is critical that remote employees keep their eye on the ball and focus first and foremost on achieving expected business goals.
B. Setting up your remote hiring process:
So you know what to look for in a great remote employee, but how do you hire them? What about the hiring process?
Hiring remotely also involves adapting your hiring process to the realities of remote employees. Set direct and clear expectations before you even start interviewing. Hiring remote talent can limit your opportunities for face-to-face interactions.
Try to avoid routine questions that can lead to obvious and prepared answers when you evaluate skill sets and cultural fit.
This helps you spend zero time on candidates and sets precise expectations about your team culture and hiring process. Also when sourcing candidates, think of less conventional ways where you can find new talent!
Think beyond LinkedIn etc... Where do people meet to bounce off ideas on shared interests? Additionally, it is imperative to build strong personal connections even when hiring remote employees
C. Best practices for on-boarding remote employees
Virtual onboarding can make or break the success of a new remote hire. Which is why even remote companies with effective on boarding systems are constantly looking for ways to improve the process.
Find the best way to introduce new remote employees to the team and projects they will be working on.
There are multiple ways to introduce a new team member, but whatever way you choose, make sure to lighten anxiety by clearly defining roles and assignments, and showing new members where to look for help.
Leave nothing to the imagination for the new remote employees, make sure goals and timelines are clear from day one.
There is no better time to communicate company values, objectives, goals, and timelines than during the orientation day.
When remote employees have clarity on their tasks in terms of timelines and outcomes, they are more productive.
Conclusion: Remember, a remote team is only as good as the process you use to put it together.
Hiring remotely is definitely a great way to grow your business without efficiency and flexibility.
It is also the key to building an even more engaged and productive team.
Invest your time and effort into designing a remote hiring process and you will see it becoming a secret ingredient for the success of your business.
Bhavin Turakhia, is an Indian tech billionaire and a serial entrepreneur. He is the founder of team collaboration software Flock. He has also founded startups such as Radix, CodeChef and Zeta in past. In 2014, Bhavin and his brother Divyank sold four companies –BigRock, LogicBoxes, ResellerClub, and Webhosting.info – to Nasdaq-listed Endurance for $160 million.