If you’re worried about managing a team that’s currently working-from-home for the first time, we understand. Not being able to regularly meet with your employees, review their work, or have quick water-cooler chats is a tough adjustment.
But we’re here to help! You can successfully manage, communicate, and even hire remote workers… you just need a plan and the right resources.
Over the past 18 months, Repurpose House has built a team of 23 full-time, remote employees with less than a 7% turnover. We’re hiring awesome employees that are passionate about what they do.
What Does Our Remote Company Look Like?
To manage a remote team, you’ve got to put structures in place as soon as possible. Inspired by our friends at Design Pickle, we’ve tried to give our remote employees all of the tools and resources they need to be successful.
We put our content hackers (graphic designers) nto their own teams of 4-5 people, each with its own team lead. We have teams dedicated to specific processes like:
- Quality control
- Template design
Some of these teams, like template design, started out with only 1 dedicated person. Over time, they’ve expanded as our needs have grown.
It’s super important to put these structures in place at the beginning, so they can adapt with you as your remote company evolves.
How Do You Manage a Remote Team? (Especially an International One?)
The majority of our staff is based in the Philippines, and there was a HUGE learning curve at first. We needed to communicate and manage a team in an opposite time zone.
What we learned was this: The most important tool in your remote-working toolbox is communication.
Set Clear Expectations for Remote Workers
We only want our employees working 8am to 5pm in their respective time zone. That means not communicating with our team members in the Philippines during our US-based work hours (which could be the middle of the night for them!)
To keep ourselves sane and ensure the business is running smoothly (without needing to micro-manage during our own off-hours), it was important that we set clear expectations for everyone.
At any given time, every Repurpose House team member knows what their goals are for the day, what their work processes look like, and what deadlines need to be met.
We also have specific communication guidelines in place. Our content hackers know to check all of their tickets at the start of their workday and address any questions or concerns they might have immediately. This way, if anything is urgent, we can still take care of it at a reasonable time.
Set Clear Expectations for Clients
You need transparent communication from the beginning, not just with employees but with clients as well.
We let all of our clients know that our content hackers are based in the Philippines, so there will be times that they’ll have to wait a business day to get an answer to their question.
In our experience, people are very understanding when you’re upfront with them. And not feeling pressure to respond to any and all questions and feedback within a few seconds is good for your sanity–trust us 😉
Document Your Systems and Processes
Do you remember the peanut butter and jelly sandwich test? You have to explain each step of making the sandwich, even those steps you don’t think need explaining.
That’s how we approach our system documentation. We document every single step of our processes, down to the smallest detail, so our employees feel confident in what’s expected of them.
We know handing off responsibilities to remote team members can be scary. You’re not physically there to see if they’re doing the work, and sometimes you can’t even answer questions in real-time.
Documenting every step of your processes, and never assuming that any of the details are self-explanatory, helps minimize those fears. Everyone’s questions can be answered, and you can trust that your business is carrying on successfully, even when you’re not there.
Escape the Email Chain
If your company is new to working remotely, you’re probably used to communicating via email almost exclusively.
Email is a clunky, inefficient means of communication for a remote company. You’ve got to break that habit.
There are a TON of great chat services that make it fast and easy to talk to your team members. We use Teamwork Chat, but Slack and Discord are other great options
PRO TIP: Create a new, labeled channel for specific conversations within your team. If you’re talking social media, do it in the “social media” channel. Talking payroll? Make a new channel for that.
This makes it easier to find the details you discussed, versus having to sift through one long, unorganized chat.
How Do You Hire Remote Workers?
We didn’t get a less than 7% employee turnover rate by hiring the wrong people. We follow a 6-step hiring process that ensures we:
- Attract the right people to the job
- Verify their interest and skill set
- Ensure our employees are happy and fulfilled
So how do we do it?
Our 6-Step Recruiting and Hiring Process
- Create an Indeed job posting with a very specific job description
- Have applicants complete an Indeed assessment to verify their skills
- Follow-up with specific instructions (send us an email with this exact subject line, etc)
- Interview those that followed directions
- Invite successful interviewees to a 3-day paid training
By the time we bring on a full-time employee from this process, it’s rare that they don’t work out.
Want to implement this process into your remote company?
We have a course that gives a detailed breakdown on the hiring process, including exact emails, interview questions, and more. This course can be used to hire, not just full-time remote staff, but full-time VA’s, hourly, and by project work as well.
Sometimes We Write Stuff
Here’s a few things you might like
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Shaina Weisinger is the founder and CEO of Repurpose House, which turns your content into unlimited videos and images. Shaina is on a mission to show content creators the untapped potential and repurposing power of the content they already have. Shaina loves to laugh loudly, be obnoxiously competitive on the volleyball court, treat her dogs as her kin, and recover from tripping on or running into almost everything within a five-foot radius.