How to Build a Remote Team from Scratch

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How to Build a Remote Team from Scratch

Remote working has become more popular than ever and is a major leadership trend in 2020. A recent study reported 66% of companies to allow remote work, and 16% are fully remote. With the reduced cost for employers and reduced commute times for employees, this trend will continue to skyrocket. 

As beneficial as it can be, leading remote team members has unique challenges versus leading a team working in the same space every day.  To help you out I explored effective strategies in ‘The Keys to Successfully Leading Remote Teams’.

If you don’t have a remote team but envision yourself working with one, here are six key steps on how to build your remote team from the ground up:

Step 1: Establish a Recruitment Plan

Benjamin Franklin famously said, “Failing to prepare, is preparing to fail.” Which is why it’s essential to come up with a recruitment plan right from the get-go. Part of every leader’s job is recruiting talent and leading a remote team is no different.

Most people don’t know what a recruitment plan is, so I asked Comeet’s David Markowitz and expert on the subject and he said, “A recruitment plan is a proactive approach toward aligning your company values and goals with your human resources processes to get that perfect match as you search for new employees.”

Markowitz also exposes some great lessons in his blog ‘How to Develop a Recruitment Plan’, where he highlights how a plan is necessary to get you the right people for the job, as well as “increasing your business’s efficiency.” Another benefit of building a recruitment plan is being able to forecast times where you might have unfilled positions and preventing these from occurring.

Step 2: Scan the Field, Interview, and Test

Before hiring anyone much less your dream team, it helps to do your research and know what kind of person (values and talent) you are looking for and where you are going to look. Because it’s a remote position, you’re able to pick and choose members from a huge talent pool all across the world.

Once you started to narrow it down, video interviews are a requirement for remote workers. This will help you filter out candidates even further and give you a better sense of who they are as people. A few test jobs or trial projects can also help you see who can match your standards for doing remote work before making your final decision.

Step 3: Implement KPIs

Once new team members are properly onboarded, it’s time to turn your attention to key metrics to monitor. These are often referred to as KPIs (key performance indicators). KPI’s are essential to help you monitor and confirm the progress of your employees.

To come up with appropriate KPIs, Mike Swigunki suggests thinking about your company goals. Next, you should find a way to keep track of employee results, which can be aligned with quarterly and yearly goals. Lastly, you should also “track your own efforts with KPIs in order to hold yourself accountable to the same standards you expect from your employees.”

Step 4: Use Proper Communication Platforms

Because your team is remote, it’s more important than ever to maintain proper channels of communication. While traditional things like email and text messages can be used it’s the next generation of technology that allows for better collaboration, which is key. In Influencive’s article on team collaboration tools, they suggest having a collaborative communication platform for your team to deliver the best results, such as Teamwork, Flowdock, or Slack. These feature chat options are more instantaneous than email, allowing members to “attach files, documents, pictures, and links, creating a virtual meeting place where everything is in order.”

Step 5: Come Up with a Central Communication Hub

Having your team’s tasks clearly laid out along with key information is vital for organization and efficiency. When you’re running a business, additional tasks tend to come with no warning and before you know it, you’re unable to stay on top of things. Through popular management software platforms like Asana, Monday, and Trello, your team can stay focused on their main priorities and less-urgent tasks can be saved for later. This way, it’s easy to keep track of your progress and stay motivated until the job is done.

Step 6: Find Ways to Get The Team Together in Person

Remote work is great, but people still look for ways to connect in person. Schedule a yearly or biannual event to get your team together in a central location to help foster deeper relationships and improve employee engagement. If this isn’t possible, schedule group meetings for no other reason but to help people get to know each other.

Although it may seem unusual at first, being part of a remote team is becoming more popular with employees who are tired of their daily commutes. Increased productivity and flexibility are also making remote teams more desirable in the future for all parties involved.

Elevate the Way You LeadBuilding the Best: 8 Proven Leadership Principles to Elevate Others to Success is published by McGraw-Hill and debuted as a #1 Best Seller on Amazon. Learn the stories, principles, and tools to help elevate the way you lead.

About the Author: John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft, a leadership development company that exists to turn managers into leaders and create healthier places to work. John was named one of LinkedIn’s 2017 Top Voices in Management & Workplace and was awarded the 2017 Readership Award by Training John is also the host of the “Follow My Lead” Podcast, a show that transfers stories and best practices from today’s leaders to the leaders of tomorrow. You follow him on Instagram @johngeades.