10 Critical Points When Building Your Remote Team

Recently, the market has gone from finding skilled people no matter the cost or location to businesses cutting costs quite quickly and trying to figure out how to get more done with less. Both of these scenarios give credence to building remote teams in cost-effective labour markets, and given the market conditions is something people should consider as a way to save money while still being able to deliver innovation and maintain their product offerings. 

There are a couple of points to raise before going into some do's and dont’s on building remote teams. We often speak with new clients who are hesitant about remote teams for a few reasons; they are yet to experience this work dynamic, they may have had a bad experience previously or there are questions around hiring from other countries like India, the Philippines, South America, or Sri Lanka. We've been asked whether the talent pool is as good as those who they can employ locally. Our answer is always, of course they are. Today, especially in Australia, a large proportion of our local staff are from these countries, so why would they not be as good if they are working in a country that is not Australia? 

What's important is how they are set up to work from these countries, which significantly impacts the success or failure of being remotely located.

Here are the essential points that ensure remote teams work:

  1. The most crucial part to success is always hiring a senior or lead first, this costs more, but you need to do so to succeed. Don't test the market by getting 1-2 people that are mid-range (or junior) to save costs. This never works as the overheads to manage them are too high and generally outweigh any cost-benefit you get.
  2. Please don't call them your offshore team. This is extremely important to make them feel part of your business and ensures your local team sees them as such. Call them your remote office or, if they are in India for example, call them your {company name} Indian team.
  3. Onboard a remote team member like you would if they worked with you in your local office. Sell them on your company vision and how their work will fit into this vision. Also, include your remote team in company events, meetings, and discussions as if they were local. 
  4. Don't micro-manage. It's too hard over a time difference to do well, hence why having a good senior/lead first helps with this.
  5. Allow them to move up in your business and potentially relocate. We have noticed customers who relocate a couple of their team members to their local location attract and retain more people.
  6. Try to have your remote teams split across two continents at most. More than this makes it hard to organise calls. If you operate across multiple continents, try breaking down what your teams work on. E.g., Australia/South America does Service A, Australia/India does Service B.
  7. Visit them when and as often as possible; online meetings are great, but nothing beats meeting face-to-face.
  8. Invest a lot of time upfront finding the right people - your first few hires will shape your team and their success. 
  9. Give the team the same benefits, swag, etc., as you do for your local team.
  10. Find a great partner to help you build a team, and get them to do market scans based on location to ensure that the talent exists and fits in with your cost models.

We hope this helps you build or consider building a remote team. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or want some advice.