How to Scale a Remote Team Successfully
By: Sharon Koifman, Founder, Distant Job
Before the pandemic, they were 7 million people working remotely in the US. Currently, with most businesses embracing the idea of location-independent employees, this number has significantly increased. While remote work has become the 'new normal', many companies are struggling to adapt to these changes. Here's what I've learned - from 10 years of experience of managing a remote company - on how to scale a remote workforce successfully.
Why Hire Remotely?
People no longer chase jobs or roles where they have the corner office in a plush building. The Future of Work is here, and people are chasing roles that gives them a better work/life balance, along with perks and benefits that align with their values and purpose. From the employer’s perspective, there are significant benefits that come with hiring remote workers:
A huge cost-cutting move: According to a Global Workplace Analytics study, companies that hire remote employees save up to $10,000 per employee each year. So while a remote team will save the employer some essential infrastructure cost, it'll also promote a richer company culture of flexibility. Cost of living for a distributed team plays a big factor, too. For example, hiring a developer in the United States will be more expensive for a startup than hiring a developer with similar skill-set in Slovakia.
A larger pool of talent: When employers only hire local employees, they could miss the opportunity to have an inclusive and diverse team. But when that search is expanded the talent pool becomes bigger and it opens up opportunities for growth, potential partnerships, and sales avenues.
Productivity: The biggest myth of remote working is that employees will not productive, or they'll slack off their priorities or tasks. When employees are given the chance to work remotely, and in an environment where they feel more motivated, that leads them to work at their own pace. According to a survey made by Airtasker, remote workers take larger breaks (22 min) compared to in-office workers (18). But work an average of 1.4 more days every month and almost 17 more days per year than in-office employees.
Strategies for Effectively Hiring Remote Employees
I've seen many companies hiring the wrong people in their remote teams and paying the price for it. A wrong hire doesn't just waste essential resources, but it also affects the morale of other employees. Before employers start looking for a remote candidate, follow these three strategies that will help you scale your team the right way:
Have a good job description
Create a clear and concise job description. Job descriptions should be attractive, with a small introduction of your company and its values; what kind of talent you are seeking; and the responsibilities of the role you're hiring for.
Search on the right platforms
Are you hiring freelancer (to work on one project), part-timer, or is this a full-time position? This is important because depending on which type of contract you're hiring for, you’ll need to look at different places. These are some of the most effective places to recruit top talent:
Social Media: Platforms such as LinkedIn, closed Facebook groups, or even some Instagram communities, are unique platforms to hire new talent.
Job boards: This is one of the most effective and efficient platforms because if you write a good job description, with attractive options, many candidates will appear. All you'll need to do is handle the vetting process and the interviews.
Remote recruiting agencies: If you want to hire a remote employee fast, these agencies are probably the best way to hire a talented virtual employee.
Host productive and constructive interviews
When hosting interviews, test the candidate's technical skills and see if they have what it takes to handle the responsibilities as part of the role. Ask questions about previous experiences, their biggest challenges when working in a remote team, and what have they learnt from their previous experience.
Tips for hosting successful remote interviews:
- Prepare the interviews questions (never improvise)
- Know what type of employee you are hiring for
- Look out for the soft skills (time-management, self-reliance, communication, etc.).
- Camera on!
Culture is probably one of the most important things you need to care about when scaling a remote team. People seek a work environment that encourages its employees to grow. If you want your employees to value you, you'll need to invest in improving your virtual workplace. With my experience in managing a remote team at DistantJob, I learned that culture goes beyond establishing your goals and company values. It's about creating a virtual environment where every employee feels connected and valued.
Sharon Koifman is the founder of DistantJob, a remote staffing agency from Canada specializing in finding full-time remote developers.