The Key Traits for your Remote Team

Your employees come first. And if you treat your employees right, guess what? Your customers come back, and that makes your shareholders happy. Start with employees and the rest follows from that.
Herb Kelleher

Companies that do a good job bringing in the right people seem to grow well. Then there are the companies that start strong and have issues with sustaining the culture. When I was a college freshman there was a company making computers in Sioux City, Iowa called Gateway 2000. They seemed to take off like a rocket ship their growth was phenomenal. My college roommates girlfriends mother worked there. They would tell me about the growth of the company.

As the company grew things began to change. The leadership was changed and they started to encounter some growing pains. The founder seemed to have great timing from the start but as things progressed the wheels fell off. The same thing can happen to your team if you hire haphazardly and don’t try to define the key traits.

How do you find self-starters?

Do you have a collaboration test in the hiring process?

Are you seeing more remote candidates out there?

Look for Self-Starters

Finding self-starters can be hard to pinpoint in the hiring process. Everyone wants to believe they are communicative, team players, etc. — but you can’t just take their word for it.
With a remote employee, you have far fewer touchpoints to build trust, establish effective communication, and develop a healthy working relationship. You don’t have the luxury of watercooler conversations, lunch meetings, and other ways of getting to know each other. And it’s harder to see the signs of misalignment through emails, Slack messages, and video calls than it would be face-to-face.

Being a self-starter is an essential trait for remote employees. Unlike onsite employees, remotes won’t have the energy of the office encouraging them to work quickly, stay focused, and solve problems collaboratively. They won’t have someone looking over their shoulders making sure they are working toward team goals. Although it’s up to every member of a team to keep it cohesive, remote employees should be able to over-communicate with their team and manager, so that they are never “out of the loop.”

A while ago, I read an article by Michael Hyatt regarding this issue. He spoke about how people he hires must have the batteries included. I am sure we have all worked with or known someone who was a drain on your time and energy. We want to avoid these people at all costs, especially for remote positions.

Observe Collaboration

When hiring a remote employee, I’ve found it helpful to have candidates come in and do a few sample activities to see how they work. First, have them solve a problem with the people they’d be working most closely with. Then, have them solve a different problem alone and have them explain their thought process afterward. Ideal candidates will know when to ask questions, will understand their limitations, and will work to collaborate with their new team members to find the best solution to each problem. If you see signs of someone isolating or “siloing” themselves, they might not be well-suited for a remote role.

Seek Remote Experience

Working with a remote team is a very different experience than being in an office. Remote workers need to have the right personality to stay engaged, motivated, and productive outside of a typical office environment. They need to know how to create a healthy work-life balance inside their homes, which usually means having the discipline to create boundaries with family, home life, and other potential distractions.

Working from home can sound appealing from the sense that you can work at your own pace, from the comfort of your own home, without wasting any time commuting. The problem lies in having the focus, stamina, and drive to stay engaged with your new company, team, and role. Working remotely is not for everyone — and determining whether a candidate is suited for remote work should be an honest conversation between the candidate and the hiring committee.

Are you finding candidates with their batteries included?

What is your remote team missing?

What trait makes people successful for your team?

If only there was a game plan that would help you put together the right team. With some time and thought you can determine what type of individuals you have and perhaps what deficits you may be lacking. I like to use the DISC assessment when I work with teams to help get them better acquainted. I know I am a high D and I, so there are a few things I am good at, starting new things. Then, of course, there are things I might struggle with, like details. What can you add to your team and make things better? Or is there someone you need to remove? Either way you want to know where you stand with your team.


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