How to create a full remote team

Jan 14, 2022

The Covid-19 crisis has made telecommuting a permanent fixture. What if companies were to move up a gear and start organizing themselves in Fully Distributed Teams? This type of organization, where 100% of the employees work remotely, is still not very present in Europe, but in the United States it is becoming more and more popular. To the point that it could become one of the dominant models of tomorrow. The Fully Distributed Company modelallows to recruit without geographical limits, to increase the productivity of employees (by 25% on average according to a Gallup study), to make substantial savings (especially in terms of real estate and movable assets), to obtain important time savings (especially in terms of commuting), and to benefit from a better work/life balance. And therefore optimize job satisfaction.

For all these reasons, growing companies will increasingly turn to this model that combines agility and efficiency. Full remote is, at the end of the day, a great opportunity to reduce operating costs and increase employee engagement. But how do you implement it? Here are our answers.

1. How to recruit employees remotely

There is not much difference between "standard recruiting" and "remote recruiting". The process is basically the same, with a few exceptions.

Recruiting remotely means reaching a potentially larger target audience, as you are no longer required to hire near your office. This makes recruiting much easier.

The pool of candidates is unlimited!

Depending on what you are looking for, define the tools that allow you to find remote employees anywhere in the world (many job boards are available).

When hiring remote candidates, phone and video interviews are the primary communication channels. Make sure you are using the right tools to facilitate communication.

Candidates are generally less stressed in video interviews than face-to-face. It is therefore often more effective than the traditional interview, where the candidate is often asked to wait their turn in a waiting room with other candidates.  

It can be a good idea to use assessment tools to gauge candidates' skills and make objective hiring decisions, even if you don't meet the candidates in person. There are many assessment tools available to evaluate the soft and hard skills of candidates!

Not everyone is cut out to work from home. Because working remotely requires a different management style, the four main qualities to look for in candidates are :

- Independence and motivation

- Self-discipline

- Strong communication skills

- Adaptability and agility

Conduct a final interview with your entire team (or a portion of the team). This is useful to allow candidates to interact with other team members. Afterwards, you should be able to agree with your colleagues on the name of the lucky one.

When hiring remote employees outside of your country, the easiest way to go is to hire them as freelancers to avoid having to comply with all the local/labor regulations.  

Today, more and more companies favor freelance contracts over the traditional permanent contract and this even for the most strategic functions of the company. It has been proven that the commitment of freelancers to their company is not inferior to the commitment of permanent employees.

Make sure that they have sufficient and suitable space (e.g. free from noise) to work from home. In case they don't have one, you should consider renting them a coworking space where they can work in a suitable environment.

You should also consider specific benefits for remote employees, such as a budget for: computer, internet, electricity and other equipment, in addition to the agreed salary. The existence of a professional development program, coworking space memberships or vacation credits are all incentives that should be considered in the hiring process.

2. Disseminating the corporate culture  

Corporate culture, a key element of an organization's identity, can be defined as the set of values, behaviors and professional practices that will allow the structure to differentiate itself from other companies. But how to spread it when the teams are geographically dispersed? No need to panic. Thanks to the implementation of adequate communication processes and tools, the diffusion of the corporate culture will be ensured.  

Create a reference document

It can be particularly useful to create a reference document that can be consulted at any time by remote employees. It will explain the company's culture to all its members. It must be inspiring, clear about expectations, and must detail how performance is measured in relation to the corporate culture deployed. It is therefore both a guide and an important means of fostering employee integration.

It must remain "alive". New elements must constantly be added as the company evolves. This is why it is advisable to appoint a team responsible for editing the guide. This team should be renewed regularly so that everyone can contribute to the enrichment of the document, which is the organization's Bible.  

Encourage the expression of all employees

Everyone should be encouraged to make their views known. This form of shared leadership, where everyone's opinion counts, will not only contribute to the progress of the teams, but also give everyone the opportunity to shine. This is a great way to reinforce the company's culture. Today, remote management is accelerating the end of micro-management; managers are forced to trust! We are facing a real evolution in the way we manage our teams.

Make communication as easy as possible

Remote teams need dedicated channels that allow clear and immediate communication. For this, you need to choose the right tools. Slack for quick discussions and thematic channels and Trello for project communication are examples of this. Occasional, informal communication should also be encouraged, as it is so important in building remote teams. Therefore, occasional channels (e.g., a #fun channel on Slack) should be opened for less work-oriented discussions. As for management, they should schedule regular one-on-one meetings with all remote employees, as everyone needs to know they are heard.

Encourage social interaction

This can be done through the organization of an e-café or the use of gaming... The goal is to make people who have never seen each other (or almost) interact together as they would in a traditional company.  

It is also imperative to plan physical meetings with all the teams through seminars lasting 3 or 4 days, 2 or 3 times a year. These particularly intense meetings are the cement of the company culture. They are indispensable. The remote system does not mean eliminating human relations, quite the contrary. It is an opportunity to make them stronger and more intense. From this point of view, it is more effective to spend three days together "non-stop", than six months running into each other, almost anonymously, in the office.

To be continued

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