How to Effectively Build & Manage a Virtual Team

May 03, 2013

Building and managing a virtual team is nowhere close to managing an office-based team. Apply these techniques to ensure you’re doing it successfully.

 Jason Corgiat, founder of LeapGo, Inc., a leading professional website development company, shares his tips on managing a virtual team.

It’s tough managing a team when they’re in the same office with you.  Now imagine that team in different locations around the world with staggering time zones, varying holidays, and unique cultures.  Welcome to LeapGo, Inc.

Building and managing a virtual team is nowhere close to managing an office-based team.  You have to contend with a lot of uncertainties, place trust in hiring people over the Internet, create a team environment amongst people who barely know each other, and do it all at the same pace you grow your business.

But it can be done – it has been done – and as our world gets more connected, it will continue to be done.  The path to managing a successful virtual team begins with throwing out all you know about managing a local office-based team.  The rules are different and therefore you must apply a different set of techniques.

Do your research when hiring

Immediate full-time hiring doesn’t have to be the only option in the virtual world.  You can start small and do your research first.  Use third party websites that make the management and reporting process easier, like Elance and oDesk.  Be detailed in your job postings, set expectations, and let candidates compete.  The biggest advantage of virtual employment is you can hire multiple candidates for “trial” or part-time projects before making a bigger decision, like hiring full-time.

Take time to learn about employees

It’s easy to learn about someone sitting next to you, it’s very difficult when they’re 6,000 miles away.  That’s why it’s crucial you take time to learn about your virtual employees’ personal lives, career goals, and culture.  For example, your Hindi employees living in India don’t need time off for Thanksgiving, but they DO need time off for Diwali.  By showing you care about your team, your employees will feel more connected to you and your company.

Learn to communicate differently

Employees sitting halfway around the world have no idea what’s going on unless you tell them.  They’re naturally less connected to you and your business. While in some cases this allows them to focus on their tasks uninterrupted, it can also mean they are working without critical information about a job or project. Worse yet, if left unchecked the disconnected feeling can lead to an unmotivated, unhappy employee.  Therefore, it’s crucial to leverage tools that enable you to communicate regularly.  Use Skype chats or team Google+ Hangouts to hold “meetings”.  Utilize project management software to assign the right people to the right projects and filter out noise that doesn’t apply to everyone.

Jason Corgiat is the lead business strategist and founder of LeapGo, Inc., a leading professional website development company. He has over 12 years of expertise in ecommerce website development, digital marketing strategies, and business consulting. Jason has worked with small to Fortune 500 sized companies and established a track record for success by offering a ‘no-BS’ consultative approach. Learn more at LeapGo.com.