5 Tips to Hire and Manage an Online Team

Seizing the opportunity to start a small business has never been easier! With the internet putting resources right at your fingertips and the rise in remote work, it’s a golden opportunity to build your business and both hire and manage an online team from the comfort of your home.

Of course employees are a vital component of every business, and selecting the best fit for your team is a top priority. The hiring process doesn’t have to be tedious, but it should get you the talent and skills you seek.

While the challenges with remote work differ from in office teams, there are numerous benefits to building your virtual A-team! Not only can your work become smoother with the benefits of time zones; you could also hit the talent jackpot. 

3 Benefits of an Online Team

For those who may be unfamiliar, a remote-first or virtual team functions virtually from different locations. This can often be confused with remote-friendly, which works primarily on-site with the occasional virtual day or a small percentage of virtual employees deemed necessary. 

However, when it’s the right fit there are many benefits to a remote first team. In addition to cost savings on things like office space, furniture, and other hard assets, you’ll find a number of benefits to your hiring process:

1. A Wider Pool of Applicants

Many eligible applicants often let go of opportunities due to the location of an on-site job. They may live in a different city, state or country. Others don’t want the extra time – and expense – of a commute to the office. This limits the quantity of applicants companies receive, forcing them to choose candidates who may only tick some of the boxes.

As these survey results suggest, more and more workers prefer online work. Expanding your location range is likely to provide an influx of applicants from around the globe, increasing your chances of finding the right fit for the position.

Note: Do your research, consult an expert, and/or consider a third party platform as needed when expanding your location base to understand applicable employment laws.

2. A Diverse Range of Talent 

One benefit of applications from different regions is the diversity of experience and skills each individual brings. For example, some countries specialize in fields you may not have previously considered. Having a location diverse team also provides a wealth of differing perspectives, helping you to make well-informed and thought out decisions for your business.

Since each country or even city has its own work culture, people learn different work ethics, technical skills, and even expectations from their jobs. With an online team, you can put together a set of professionals who complement the team dynamics and your business as a whole.

Don’t forget that top performers often know what they have to offer. Flexibility in the work arrangement is a selling point that can differentiate you from your hiring competition!   

3. Higher Productivity Levels

One challenge business owners and managers may face in any work arrangement is employee productivity. There is a negative connotation that online workers aren’t serious about their work or slack on tasks, but research hints otherwise.

Forbes discussed two studies showing how different aspects of business are more closely related than you think. One study found that remote work increases employee happiness by as high as 20%. At the same time, the other study discussed how employee happiness levels substantially impact their productivity levels.

Many full-time remote workers also recognize the value of their situation, and focus on productivity and performance to ensure their long term setup. It’s an opportunity to build a highly productive and happy team of virtual workers that will help feed the success of your business!  

5 Tips to Hire and Manage Your Online Team

Setting up a new team can be a challenge, whether remote, hybrid or on-site! However it doesn’t have to be overwhelming – thanks to the pandemic-era work environment, there are plenty of tips and tricks from experienced professionals to help you out. Here’s a few of our top recommendations:

1. Be Prepared for Technical Challenges

With an online team, you don’t have to worry about things like facilities management, you’ll have some other requirements to focus on.  

Priority goes to your technological tools. You’ll need the right virtual tools for to run your business and keep your team successful. In addition, a backup or contingency plan for possible issues, such as outages, can keep your business running smoothly. Check out our simple guide to some of our favorite free digital tools. Analyze the options and determine the best version for your business and team. Look into cloud storage options for file sharing and as a backup to any technical hardware issues.

Next, learn about the employment laws that apply to your business. Remote workers from within your country come under your local laws. However, international employees are covered by the laws in their country of residence. Consider locations, employment status (such as employee vs contractor), work eligibility, and any other applicable scenarios that may impact your business.

Lastly, understand the payroll and tax policies for countries you hire from and ensure your contracts cover all your bases. These legalities can come with steep fines and complicated regulations, so do your homework or hire an expert. This also includes identifying the method of payment and potential additional costs for international hires, such as payment processing fees and exchange rates. It’s all doable – just do your homework!

2. Develop a Holistic Recruitment Process

By posting job openings on websites such as LinkedIn, you’re bound to attract all sorts of applicants. You’ll quickly find that resumes and CVs don’t necessarily show you an accurate portrayal of the applicant’s potential. Be sure to have a clear job description that details the company values, expectations, and specific responsibilities of the role.

Create a recruitment process with at least three steps. You can always add more, but don’t overcomplicate – it will make your job harder and may discourage applicants from completing the process!

  1. Collect basic applicant information with the submission of an application or CV/resume. Determine if a cover letter is important to you and include it as part of the submission process.
  2. Customize the second step according to the position. If a specific skill is required, ask for samples or test it with a task. This step is crucial to weed out uninterested and spam applicants to make your work easier.
  3. Meet the applicant through a formal interview. Get to know your top picks through an in-depth interview, noting the potential personality fit along with skillset. 

Tip: Know your must-haves and nice-to-haves when hiring so you can focus more on the right person over just the right skills. An applicant may bring more to the table if you’re both open to training and up-skilling where needed.

3. Keep Track of Employee Progress

Micro-management is every employee’s nightmare, so you’ll need to find the right balance and approach with each individual. Take the time to learn about their work ethic, communication style, and approach to work, but don’t forget your role as a leader.

You can adopt different techniques to stay informed about the team’s progress as well as any complaints they may have. Use a project management tool to keep everyone engaged and informed. Encourage regular team meetings, touch base through emails, and have an active chat on whatever platform you use. Try to involve all members to reduce the disconnect of working from home and build team camaraderie.

Remember that it takes time for new hires to get up to speed and fully into their role. Think about developing a 30/60/90 day plan to help ease the transition and set your team up for success.

4. Create an Effective Framework

The operations of every business are unique and need a framework that matches those unique requirements. Take the time to develop your process and document your framework before communicating to your team. Everyone should know the ground rules, standard processes, and expectations, and know where to go with questions.

When it comes to the chain of command, decide how involved and accessible you will be and enable your team accordingly. Your employees shouldn’t be lost about where to go or who to approach. Develop and communicate clear channels of communication and build a culture that promotes communication and collaboration. 

Remember that virtual communication leaves room for misinterpretation and miscommunication. Be clear, minimize assumptions, and ask for further clarification when necessary. Lead by example and help others do the same. Address any issues as soon as they arise, and avoid sweeping conflicts or criticism under the rug. 

Tip: Keeping a separate email box for complaints or issues makes it easier to respond and maintain records.

5. Continuously Improve Your System

Like all things in life, you learn as you grow. Every business faces various challenges and that your team will overcome with creative and innovative solutions. Many teams work well in the early years before tapering off. While there is natural turnover at any company, it’s important as a leader to prevent unnecessary turnover within your curated team.

Listen to employee feedback and incorporate positive changes. Analyze technology and upgrade when beneficial. Engage your team in developing goals to align to the company vision and mission. Maintain strong communication channels, and get to know the person behind the work – their aspirations, challenges, and potential outside impacts to their work. Build a two-way relationship with your employees and make them feel valued. 

Continuous improvement across all facets of your business helps keep the team engaged and creates a strong bond between all members, making for a close-knit team and welcoming work environment. 

Ready for the Next Step?

Learning is the easy part; implementation is harder. You don’t need to look further if you’re confused about where to start.

You can contact me to discuss your game plan and get you on the right track. 

Hi I'm Nicole

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