Building Successful Virtual Teams in a Remote World

As a manager or director, welcoming new employees to your company is likely important to you. You no doubt want each person to feel like they are instantly part of the team, that they have the tools they need to succeed and that they are able to hit the ground running. But in light of 2020’s shift to remote work, building a virtual team posed new, unexpected challenges that may have changed the way your team members adapt and interact. 

In-person interaction, water cooler conversations, and office culture traditions like Friday Happy Hours have gone away, making co-worker engagement more difficult. New employees may feel overwhelmed or confused on who they can reach out to with random questions or may not be getting the kudos they need to know they are doing a good job. 

One of the primary goals of employee onboarding is to help new hires adjust to the role’s expectations and can proceed effectively. Below, we outline some ways in which you can build successful virtual teams that start with the onboarding experience. 

Prior to Onboarding 

  1. Define your business goals to make sure that you will get applications from the right candidates. 
  2. Be transparent about what remote means at your organization, including with flexibility, expected hours, paid time off and sick time. 
  3. Conduct the job interview with pre-vetted applications remotely so both you and the candidate can gauge how communication and interaction will work. 
  4. Give prospective candidates a task or test to complete so you can see how they work. Did they complete it in time? Were they resourceful? 
  5. Sign contracts and paperwork ahead of time – since you don’t have to wait for remote employees to arrive at the office to hand them any paperwork, get the nitty-gritty out of the way as early as possible. 

Orientation 

  1. Set up a remote onboarding checklist to get things started. Include a list of tasks that will help the employee learn their role, new team members, and goals. 
  2. Ensure you are providing the basic equipment such as a computer and web camera and that the employee knows what they are expected to provide such as WiFi. Be sure to plan ahead for this, as you might need to ship the equipment to their home.
  3. Consider sending out company swag and/or welcome treats, to start building loyalty!
  4. Write a welcome email or Slack introduction of the new team member and encourage engineers and account managers to reach out with their own introductions. 
  5. Arrange a series of virtual team building activities with team members that are not only educational but can serve as fun icebreakers, too. 
  6. Share a list of resources, communications, and productivity tools that their team members have been using for success. 

 

Performing 

  1. Build trust in virtual teams by setting up regular stand up meetings. Check-in with your team members often to ensure they are not overwhelmed but rather effectively on task. 
  2. Ensure assignments are scheduled with appropriate timelines and that all details have been provided for the task. 
  3. Maintain a line of open communication. Clearly communicate your expectations with employees. Perhaps one of the most important tactics for any manager is that they are approachable, detailed, and are always looking for ways for their teams to succeed. 
  4. Create opportunities for your remote team to interact virtually similar to like they would in the office. Slack, Teams and other connectivity tools offer several great apps for this like Donut, Karma, etc.

 

Building effective virtual teams is a recurring strategy you will work on for as long as you are managing a team; however, the process of integrating a new team member can take six to eight weeks so remain patient, but vigilant. 

Your other option? Leave it to Mismo! Our step-by-step process begins with defining and understanding in great detail what your hiring needs are. With your business goals, budget, and timeline in mind, we will build appropriate and effective job descriptions, facilitate the interview process along with any necessary coding and design tests, manage contracts and equipment procurement and see the employee through the entire onboarding process. 

We know that top-tier employees are vital to your mission, but that finding the right candidates can be time-consuming. We are here to support you. 

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