Recruiting and On-boarding on a Virtual Team

Image: Recruiting and On-boarding on a Virtual Team

While many aspects of recruiting remain the same when looking for an employee who will primarily work virtually, there are a couple of additional considerations. Working virtually is not for everyone – some people find it lonely that they are working remotely, with only the occasional face-to-face contact. Others are very comfortable as they find the human connection that they might get from going to run an errand or getting a coffee enough. Ability to Work Solo When recruiting, there needs to be time spent discussing what the work day will look like. Managers need to talk about the amount of contact that they will have with team members during the day, during the week, during the month. Also, managers should think about who else that team member could go to within the team or the organization. A roster of available ‘go-to’ people should be created, and ask some of them to reach out to their new colleague to decrease the isolation. Beyond describing what contact frequency and quality will be like, it’s important to ask potential hires how they will keep themselves motivated. What will they do to ensure that they don’t feel lonely or isolated? For outbound sales reps, you might assume that they won’t feel lonely because they are talking to customers all day. However, that is not necessarily the case, as talking to customers is not the same as being able to talk with a colleague over the water cooler. Onboarding the Virtual Team Member Though the team members will be working remotely, it’s still important for them to be able to put a face to the name. Ideally, there is a transition period, where the colleagues come to the office to meet the headquarter team and each other in the field/remote office. However, if that can’t be done in person, then the same thing needs to be achieved virtually. Have a meet and greet by using a technology platform that allows everyone to see each other. Also, it is important that employees have a clear and detailed plan as to what they are expected to do each day during the ramp up phase. What are they expected to read and learn? Who should they talk to ramp up in their role? What should they be able to do after the first week, month and quarter? Stay in Close Contact As new employees are ramping up, managers have to make extra effort to be in touch. At first, it will be multiple daily contacts, then maybe after a couple of weeks, it moves to just once a day at the end or the start of the day. Eventually, depending on the role, it might move to once a week. What is most important about this is that it is not just email contact. It is too easy to write a quick email and think that you have made a connection. Picking up the phone or using a tech platform where you can see each other is critical The success to managing a virtual team is constant, conscientious, open contact with those who are working remotely. The goal is to decrease feelings of isolation and disconnection, while increasing engagement and self-sufficiency.

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