How can you build a sense of camaraderie and team spirit when your employees will never meet? Communications are the key to teamwork, but when your workers are scattered around the globe, communications between team members present a major problem.
Interviewing Job Applicants
Mutual respect and understanding will be part of your company ethos, but these admirable feelings will only permeate your business if you employ the right people.
It is well-nigh impossible to avoid hiring mistakes when you don’t meet people face-to-face. Consequently, you will hire people who don’t fully subscribe to your company culture, so you will need to terminate any contracts with individuals who show any sign of irritation or intolerance of others.
Interviewing distant job applicants on the phone won’t give you the whole picture and you it is better to use a video application that allows you to read the applicant’s body language and facial expressions.
Use male and female interviewers from different cultural backgrounds and set up some provocative situations during your video interview and watch the applicant’s responses; if they are negative, then end the conversation immediately and move on to the next applicant.
Skype will work for initial screening discussions, but virtual meeting software like ClickMeeting is essential for the final interview where you assess attitudes, tolerance and how well the person will fit into your company culture.
ClickMeeting lets you create virtual conference rooms where your widespread staff members can get together. These rooms can be used for any purpose from explaining basic processes to new hires to socializing over pizza and coffee. With online conferencing, your passion comes across much more than in a PDF document. It is also easier to ensure everyone is on board with your company ethos.
Even the best new employee will require some onboarding, and without this, the chance of that person staying with you is significantly reduced. Virtual training is best done using online course providers such as Lynda.com, though one on one hand-holding is always possible by assigning each new appointee a mentor.
Set up a system that removes the need for emails and phone calls. Taskboard applications like Trello work in the Cloud and are ideal to help remote teams to work together productively.
Trello lets you set up unlimited boards and to add columns to each board showing stages in your process. Employees can add cards and move them on to the next step when they have completed their part. Anyone can also add color flags to any card, which can be used as alerts for urgency, requests for help, and other issues.
Another beauty of this type of system is that everyone can see what everyone else is doing. There are no secrets.
Issues will occur that require two or three people to talk face-to-face. Virtual conferencing software such as ClickMeeting can handle this situation better than text messages or email because there is less scope for misunderstandings.
The option of an online session must always be there if either party believes it is necessary. Emails and Internet chat can achieve a lot, but sometimes a face-to-face meeting can prevent misunderstandings, or clear up misunderstandings that already exist.
One on one meetings across time zones demand flexibility and a willingness to meet outside regular office hours.
You will need to hold whole-team meetings very occasionally. There is no need for the traditional weekly or monthly briefings and consultation meetings that suck everyone’s time.
Meetings take time and energy and time has a financial cost. The average American business meeting cost $338 in salaries alone. The cost in demotivating your staff is immeasurable when there are over one billion meetings in American companies every year and attendees view at least one-third of that time as wasted.
You can motivate employees much more efficiently with a video chat than you can with a meeting.
The only time you need a meeting where everyone attends is if you are having a party. Yes, you can have a virtual party, where everyone eats the pizza of their choice and drinks coffee at the same time around the world.
Problem Solving Meetings
Brainstorming sessions are best done using virtual meeting software. The manager can mute participants so only one person can speak at a time, which encourages introverted team members to contribute more than they would around a real-world conference table.
If one employee is having a bad day, you can encourage others to let you know in confidence.
You can then contact the person having problems by phone or invite him to a virtual meeting, provide the needed support.
Frequent communication using the phone, Cloud apps, and virtual meeting software are the key to successfully building a team when everyone is working in different time zones.
There is no getting around the necessity for meetings, but you can keep things simple and consistent for everyone by using one webinar platform. A program such as ClickMeeting can be used for all your virtual in-house meetings, including training, team coordination, feedback meetings as well as to conduct remote interviews.
Sheza Gary has been a Project Strategist since 2009 and has been involved in the launching of startups and tech companies in New York for over 5 years. She has keen interest in writing her own experiences about business plans and upcoming business supporting technologies. She loves public speaking.