Effectively Managing Remote Team Members

Effectively Managing Remote Team Members

Author David Hugo Hargreaves the Growth Guru at Charterhouse: a family man and walker of the family dogs.

Early experiences, on boarding and training will really make a difference.

Remote team members’ numbers are growing at unprecedented rates. Almost one quarter of employed people perform some or all of their work from home. Now, fewer business leaders question that virtual work promotes cost savings, ramps up performance and deepens employee retention.

However, a major question remains: How can we on board new offsite talent to ensure they stay the course, perform according to corporate values, produce as expected and integrate well with other distributed team members?

Perhaps some of these unresolved and persistent issues explain why companies like Honeywell and Charter Communications have banned work-from-home options. But, there are many, many businesses starting out with a virtual model from Day One, in addition to companies that have started to incorporate remote team members into their organisations. For these reasons, Charterhouse believe that it’s important to keep the conversation about virtual workplaces alive.

At Charterhouse where I’m known as the Growth Guru, we have nearly 25 full-timers who work from home, along with around 200 freelancers who do likewise across the all of the UK. As you might imagine, I’ve learned lots of lessons about hiring and holding on to remote teams over the years. And, I know that early experiences, on boarding and training will really make a difference. Here’s how:

1. Aim for consistency — from Day One.

When all new employees are on boarded together, their introduction to the company begins from a basis of common understanding. And, from this accord, they grow closer to the business, and to each other, through the shared experience of orientation. New employee training can be delivered remotely, yet still remain a collective process. Self-study programs, inclusive of videos, online communities, digital assessments and more, gives a newcomers an opportunity to engage in content, communicate with others and learn at the same time.

2. Love technology or fail

Technology is a virtual company’s best friend. We depend on it for security, collaboration, daily communication, project management and more. However, it’s also the must-have in the toolbox for a company with remote team members. Not only do technologies support business needs, they also enable visual communication, promote auditory engagement and even allow for employees to test new skills, such as serving as presenters during online meetings and events.

3. Know when to pick up the phone.

Virtual teams rely on technology and embrace its capabilities for connection, access and collaboration. However, one of the most important lessons I’ve learned is that back-and-forth emails mean the message — whatever it may be — is not getting through. Someone needs to pick up the phone or get on a webcam meeting and cut out the endless emails!. Online dashboards and communication platforms have their place, however, old-fashioned, a quick voice or video call cannot be replaced. Speaking with each other — and seeing one another, even if remotely — clarifies matters, prevents missteps and resonates with so much of what still works for us as real people. Your team will also feel much more connected.

4. Get together — regularly.

There’s no absolute one-size-fits-all standard about how often teams should meet in person. However, it helps to ingrain face-to-face gatherings into the operational DNA of your enterprise. At the very least, when the central, or corporate, players can convene on a routine basis, it helps to reinforce purpose and unity. If strategy and budgets allow, it can only be beneficial to take this practice to the next level, creating ways for all team members to meet, greet, network and learn together in the same physical space. This is especially true in the early days of their employment. The UK is tiny so there are no excuses! 

5. Check in, with diligence and dedication.

It’s important for new team members to maintain a connection to their managers and the broader corporate mission. One way to foster and preserve this is through regularly occurring feedback. While impromptu check-ins can be beneficial, it’s more intentional and meaningful to ensure performance meetings are a permanent fixture on your calendars. This can mean convening after the first 30 days, having weekly one-on-ones and establishing other ways to assess expectations and performance by the team member and their manager.

6. Read and learn our culture and philosophy

My company requires new team members to read the same three books. We selected these titles based on how well they reflect our corporate culture and align with our business ethos and character. Sharing in this reading exercise sets the tone for how our team members should operate and perform on the job, while also providing them with new relevant insights for their own personal and professional development, too. 

David PicThis article was written by David Hugo Hargreaves the chief Growth Guru and walker of the family dogs at Charterhouse.

If you are part of a growing enterprise and wish to grow more whilst taking more holidays then contact the team on help@www.growthhubuk.co.uk

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