Startups seeking the best talent the world has to offer are no longer restricted by geography. Indeed, with the rapid advances in cloud and collaborative technology, remote workers are gathering pace and in fact, some 20% to 25% of the American workforce are already working remotely. Now startup teams can communicate and work together through various collaborative, team management platforms like Slack, Codingteam and Asana to get their tasks and projects done, all while living in different time zones and locations. For most startups, their first remote hire is usually one born out of necessity, and as things progress more of these remote talents are hired to fulfill specific roles or needs of the company. Here are some practises to help you better manage remote team building for your startup.
When choosing who to hire to work remotely, think remote. This means that you gauge your potential talents by conducting the hiring process entirely on collaborative and team management tools like Slack, preferably one that your startup uses. This gives you a good indicator of how the potential hires will communicate once they join your company. You will want someone who can communicate comfortably with the tools that your startup uses so everything will be smoother. As well, seek out candidates who have a track record of producing results when working remotely. Check out the tools that they have used or have experience with. Examine their portfolios, or ask them to show a remote project demo. Also, ask them whether they can dedicate a time slot each day for the startup, such as for live collaboration needs.
One of the most difficult things for a startup that hires remotely is building and maintaining a healthy culture. With members spread across the globe, forging a strong startup culture can be a daunting task. Still, with effort and the right approach to culture-building, startups can develop and maintain cultures that flourish regardless of time and location. The key is to develop and carry out activities that involve the participation of all members to build and strengthen team bonds. Some examples of these activities are:
- Online social channels where all members can gather in an informal setting to discuss what’s on their mind and just hang out with one another. Being able to just have fun and be themselves builds trust and camaraderie among the startup’s members. These can be conducted on various platforms like Slack.
- Company retreats where all members of the startup team meet at a specific place for some rest and relaxation, as well as to brainstorm new ideas and share the latest developments and trends.
- Monthly live-streaming events can be used to keep everyone updated on the latest happenings in the startup, its progress, key developments, new projects or products, and other important matters.
- Remote-friendly activities like having team-based online-gaming sessions are a good way to build teamwork while having fun.
As with all businesses, organizations and companies, communication is key for good performance and growth. It may be tempting to hold in-person meetings with members that can physically attend and then hold separate video calls with your remote talents to discuss the same issues, projects or tasks. This may be true of startups whose team members are primarily working from the same space with one or two working from different, further locations. To achieve the best results, however, it is vital that all members communicate through the same means, no matter if just one member of the team is stationed at a separate place. This means that if the remote worker needs to be contacted through video conferencing, then all members of the startup should also communicate through video conferencing. This keeps everyone up-to-date on important matters and ensures transparency throughout the communication process.
What’s more, communication should shift away from face-to-face meetings to mediums and channels where the participation of everyone is guaranteed. There are already several tools available for this purpose such as Slack and Flowdock.
To be successful, a startup should give much consideration to their remote hires, and not treat it as just simply hiring someone from anywhere with the required skills. A startup must learn to adjust and adapt its processes, culture and communication to accommodate their remote members. A startup that does all that will be a great place to work for anyone, anywhere across the globe.