With today’s technological advancements, employing a virtual team to power a business is rather common. But building, managing, and maintaining a team of employees from all over the world remain a major task, even with the support of powerful software and tools.
Many organizations make the mistake of believing that virtual assistants are temporary employees when they contact a virtual assistant service. This could not be more untrue. Virtual employees should be regarded as permanent members of your team. Staff retention is important in keeping a business going, and keeping your virtual staff around for a long time will reduce turnover.
But then we ask the big question: how do we build a great culture, a sense of purpose, and a high-performing team when most of the people on your team are located virtually? There are certain things we did during the pre-pandemic that we couldn’t apply in the virtual setting.
This article gives you six ways to keep your virtual staff around and avoid more costly recruitment.
Make them Feel Welcome
Working remotely comes with unique challenges. For starters, it might often lead your virtual staff to feel disconnected from the rest of the organization, especially if they have just recently started. Finding the drive to stay if they don’t feel like they belong might be difficult.
The most crucial step to take is to keep them in touch with the rest of your team. We don’t just mean giving them project updates. We meant giving them a channel to communicate with everybody in your business [e.g., office forum or instant messaging].
Anything that encourages them to communicate with your other employees and makes them feel like they belong will go a long way.
Clarify Expectations and Projects
Another common reason virtual workers might say goodbye to a business is in the workload, tasks, and projects. Many business owners, in particular, believe their virtual workers can do everything and end up overworking them.
To avoid this kind of situation, make it clear from the outset what you anticipate. It’s helpful to let them know your expectations and boundaries, whether it’s how often they have to report to you, the kind of work you want from them, or when you expect them to be easily reachable. Everyone can operate more easily around each other when your team has a process to follow.
Give them Opportunities
Allow a virtual employee to take on occasional special assignments or high-priority projects as this requires people to go above and beyond day-to-day work projects. Giving them room to grow within the company can be a huge motivator. And yes, there’s the enticing idea of bonus or increased pay, but there’s also the psychological component of feeling like they’re trusted and valued for their efforts.
Be sure to give your virtual staff plenty of opportunities to take on new responsibilities because if you’re not giving them opportunities for growth and learning, they’re not going to want to stick around very long.
Pay Them for What They’re Worth
This is a no-brainer.
While virtual employees cost less to recruit and retain, that doesn’t mean that one can get away with paying them less. When people first enter the workforce and need to gain experience, they are eager to work hard, learn more, and go above and beyond; but, what happens when they discover they are not receiving a return on their investment? Well, They’ll do what any savvy investor would do in this situation: they’ll remove their investment out and put it somewhere else.
We don’t want that happening.
An article from Peterson Institute of International Economics said that higher wages could lead to several benefits for the company supplying them, including:
- Higher wages motivate employees to work harder: higher wages create the conditions for workers to be more productive and improve morale.
- Higher wages lead to lower turnover, reducing the costs of hiring and training new workers.
- Higher wages attract more capable and productive workers.
Become a Collaborative Leader
In many organizations, collaboration has become the be-all and end-all. After all, it’s been connected to increased income and consumer happiness in multiple studies. When leaders try to develop and maintain a culture that encourages cooperation actively, effective collaboration happens.
This requires leaders to take the time and innovate different ways to build personal relationships and establish mutual trust with their team members, which will take more time and effort in the current virtual environment. This is in stark contrast to when the team is in an office where it was much easier to talk personally.
Design a results-driven culture
While each company has objectives, not all have a results-driven culture. It is crucial to establish what needs to be done to succeed in the team and the organization. An article from Forbes expounds on the three keys to a successful virtual culture:
- Goal Transparency: Making each person’s measurable goals transparent to the team for accountability.
- Informal Appraisals: Conducting frequent one-on-one meetings to provide feedback and direction to an employee outside of a formal review meeting. This can help in building rapport with employees and coaching them in an ongoing manner.
- Professional Development: Building and agreeing on plans to help each member of the team grow.
Virtual employees and teams have grown in importance in the workplace. They enable firms to hire and promote the most outstanding employees, regardless of where they are physically situated. Leaders of virtual teams must always be on the lookout for the best ways to manage and keep their teams. In this way, you get a better chance of sustaining a competitive advantage [from reducing the chances of re-recruiting and training new employees] against tough competitors.
Still have more questions? Feel free to contact us anytime. We can help you!