Lonely islands aren’’t fun: don’’t leave your virtual team stranded

Lonely islands aren’’t fun: don’’t leave your virtual team stranded

April 1, 2014
Lonely islands aren’’t fun: don’’t leave your virtual team stranded

Virtual teams benefit from a strong support network. Unfortunately, strong support networks don’’t just happen on their own. They have to be built from the ground up.

Our latest ebook, “How to Successfully Build and Manage a Virtual Team,” includes valuable suggestions for how managers can begin by hiring agents with the best skill set for remote employment. This includes being trustworthy, a good communicator, and excellent at time management. Once the talent is in place, managers need to set the team up for success, and we can’’t overstress the importance of providing extensive onboarding and ongoing training. Each member of a virtual team should be equipped with the resources (sticks), tools (crude knife), and confidence they’’ll need (to build a life raft) once they are on their own.

But seriously, how much onboarding are we talking about?
A lot, really. Your virtual team will need standard new-hire training on culture and processes, high-level introductions to each organization within the company, product training, intensive training specific to their role, and on the tools they’’ll need to successfully do their job.

If possible, much of this customer service training should be in person, with opportunities for peer-to-peer shadowing. It may also be helpful to have virtual hires train with corporate IT as part of onboarding so that they can learn about machine maintenance, security, network, policy, and procedural issues in the event that something goes haywire.

Training doesn’’t stop once the team is on board
Following initial onboarding, consider having virtual team members participate in a mentorship program or schedule an overlapping hand-off period each day in addition to regularly scheduled 1:1’’s and weekly team meetings. It’’s also helpful to give everyone access to a shared, online knowledge base where they can make scheduling changes, ask questions, and share best practices, tips, and challenges.

No one wants to be cast away, relegated to making friends with a volleyball. Download the ebook to learn more about how to make your virtual team a success. You may also want to read about providing global support if your virtual team is also globally distributed.

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