Virtual team management, as I’d shared in my earlier post on how I’m building my empire with a virtual team at my side, can be quite a challenge if all of it is new to you.
Today I want to delve deep into the workings of a virtual team that if not managed properly can lead to excruciating painful consequences. Think missed deadlines, lost contracts, financial losses and more.
Some of the stories that I have heard include:
Team members “disappearing” before important projects.
Losing track of which team member is doing what.
Lack of communication between team members who’re working together on a project.
and so many more…
So, without further ado, because I’m sure as a global business owner, you understand the importance of managing a team well, let’s get right down to work:
Virtual Team Management 101 for Global Businesses
1. Draft a clear work policy for work-at-home or virtual employees
When certain team members or complete teams work virtually, it is vital that you communicate with them their work policy so that work-from-home is not equated with not working at all.
Policies on leave, sick days, communication and other essential matters will ensure that things don’t fall through the cracks and your business runs like a well-oiled machine.
2. Set specific expectations
Make sure that all team members know what’s expected of them.
Besides official policies, you must have definite work profiles outlining each member’s key responsibility areas or KRAs, deliverables and what metrics will their work be evaluated against.
3. Stay connected and in touch
One of the benefits of managing a virtual team is that you don’t have to head to an office every day.
However, if not managed properly, this can quickly derail into a disadvantage.
Staying in touch with your team and communicating clearly with them will not only ensure that things are done but will also help you build a working relationship and rapport with them.
Check in with team members on a regular basis through the week to not only find out about work-related projects but also, to find out how they’re doing.
Depending on how your organization is structured, you may or may not want team members to work together.
If you’d like them to partner for certain projects, make sure all communication flows through a regulated channel, like a team chat tool or a project management tool.
4. Make cultural sensitivity a priority
This is so important and yet sadly, often ignored or overlooked by businesses setting up or working with virtual teams.
Managing diversity in the workplace is not only for in-person offices but also for virtual ones.
Make sure you know about cultural nuances and culture-specific etiquette as well as the more obvious ones, like festivals, important days and time differences.
5. Implement systems right from the start
Finally, to make working with a virtual team successful ensure that you have a system in place.
Systems are documented procedures, so that regardless of which team member is doing the work, it gets done.
Processes should be organization-specific rather than individual or personal.
You can have systems for everything right from organizational communication to measuring work output.
Do you have a global business with a virtual team? What are some of the challenges you face in managing it? Share with me in the comments or ask me on Facebook.