Virtual teams are a relatively new addition to the workplace, but they are playing a fundamental role in the success of growing companies. According to a 2022 study, 15% of high paying jobs have gone virtual with the numbers continuing to trend upward. Employees are also reporting higher rates of productivity while working from home. As more companies scale their virtual workforce, they are discovering that the key to successful remote teams stems from hiring the right people and effectively leading their teams.
The Rise of Remote Work and Virtual Teams
Over the past 10 years, virtual teams have become a norm in today’s workforce as technological advances abound and companies begin realizing that full-time in-office work isn’t necessary to produce good results. A 2021 Mercer study discovered that the plan to adopt remote or hybrid work was reported by 70% of companies. In April 2021, workers helped to push the remote work model with 58% of respondents in a FlexJobs survey reporting they would look for new work if they weren’t able to continue remote work.
While remote work will continue to be the wave of the future, leadership may be concerned about how to hire and lead remote teams by thinking of the disadvantages virtual teams bring. Some of these disadvantages include trouble tracking productivity, communication blocks, distractions, digital fatigue, and lack of true connection between teammates.
However, most of these perceived disadvantages can be overcome by developing processes and by placing a more intentional focus on asking relevant questions, focusing on the right talent fit, relationship building, and leadership style.
With our guide to hiring the best talent for virtual teams, you’ll be able to prepare your management and leadership to lead virtual teams with confidence.
How to Hire the Best Talent for Virtual Teams
Consider the Best Time to Hire
Be careful not to hire before you are ready. Pay attention to your workload and the business need for new virtual positions before you start sourcing candidates. Hiring before you are ready may result in wasted time and money. You’ll be happy waiting to hire until there is a true need or until you have time to effectively onboard and train new team virtual team members.
Focus on Talent, Not Hiring
Focusing on hiring means you want to fill a position now, but it could be anyone who fits the generic description of what you are looking for. Focusing on talent instead of hiring helps you to create a broader strategy for building teams that will ultimately position them to be more successful. Placing your focus on talent will help to reduce churn, although it may take longer to find the right talent fit for your company.
After all, hiring is transactional, but acquiring the right talent is strategic.
Ask Targeted Questions Related to Telecommuting
Telecommuting requires a special set of skills and competencies that not every candidate will have. Many people may want to work from home, but some may not understand the nuances of working remotely.
Some questions you can ask candidates in an interview include:
- How do you make use of project management and communication tools currently?
- How do you track your daily work and projects?
- Do you work best alone or with a team?
- Have you ever worked remotely?
- Where do you prefer to work?
- How would you rate your tech skills?
Asking these questions will help you gain an understanding of how well a candidate will work in a remote environment. Most often, those that thrive in a remote work environment are self-starters that don’t need much management, they are highly communicative, reliable, and they have prior experience working remotely.
Keep Your Candidates in the Loop
Recruiting virtually can be an uninvolved experience for both the candidate and the recruiter or hiring manager. This experience may leave the candidate feeling unsure of where they stand in the process due to a lack of personal connection and feedback.
Offer a human touch to the virtual hiring process by making candidates well-aware of the process from the beginning. You can also introduce them to who they will be interviewing with via email or LinkedIn.
Keep the lines of communication open before, during, and after the virtual interviewing process by providing candidates with options to contact you via their communication channel preference.
Outsource Virtual Hiring
In many ways virtual hiring is just as time-consuming and taxing as hiring in person. Organizing virtual interviews and reviewing resumes, portfolios, and other virtual application assets can be a full-time job. Get back to what is most important to your business by selecting a recruiting agency that understands where to find the best candidates and how to interview them to find the best fit for your virtual team.
5 Tips on Confidently Leading and Managing Virtual Teams
1. Maintain a Standard Process for Onboarding
Onboarding a new employee is important in any work setting, but it is especially important for virtual teams. Create a standard process for onboarding new virtual employees that welcomes them, engages them, and introduces them to your company and culture within the first week or so.
This includes making time for meet and greets, team lunches, introductions on meetings, and virtual training that will prepare them for working remotely with your company.
It is often intimidating for new virtual employees to reach out to their new teammates and ask questions or ask to collaborate. The best way to combat this is to empower new virtual employees by including time for informal and formal introductions before they start diving into the everyday work processes.
2. Select Efficient Methods of Communication
Technology makes virtual communication simple and effective. Each company has its own specific communication needs that will help drive progress and success for a virtual team. For instance a virtual software engineering team may need a different way to communicate and track progress than a marketing team.
Focus on finding the methods that work best for your specific team whether it is through a communication tool such as Slack, through daily video call check-ins, or via email. Leading is an ongoing evolution. Consistently ask your team what is working well and what methods of communication can change to promote the best level of productivity.
3. Encourage Shared Leadership
Traditionally, each function within a company is led by a single individual. To promote diversity and increase confidence in the decision making process, encourage colleagues to share in the leadership responsibilities. Collaboration on methods of feedback, project management, as well as team meetings can promote a balanced and unified confidence among the leaders as well as the team members.
4. Develop Processes and Track Progress
Productivity often stems from a well-established process. When developing processes for your team, they can take a variety of forms. Some companies find that integrating task management tools into their workflow allows them to establish a set process that their team can follow throughout every project they work on. This also enables teams and leaders alike to track the progress of each project no matter where they are.
There are a few ways to easily track progress. Leaders can host video calls with teams and individuals, you can track progress with tools such as Monday.com or ClickUp, or employees can send progress reports. Whatever path your team may take, it's essential that everyone is one the same page about the progress of every ongoing project.
5. Schedule Regular Meetings
Similar to selecting efficient methods of communication and creating frequent ‘check-ins’ with your team, scheduling weekly or bi-monthly meetings to ensure projects are on track is vital to the wellbeing of your team. Regular meetings can help mitigate concerns individuals may have and can help in tracking the progress of each project your team is working on.
Scheduling regular team and individual meetings promote an environment that thrives on open communication. This consistency helps build trust and credibility in leadership and opens communication so that when an issue arises, employees feel comfortable reaching out to you.
Hire the Best Talent for Your Virtual Teams
With a significant amount of remote employees, Hunt Club’s leaders understand the importance of building the best virtual teams. With access to over 7 million industry leaders and innovators, Hunt Club’s talent experts power your search through trusted introductions. Partner with Hunt Club to build your team, confidently.