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Managing Virtual Teams: The Ultimate Guide

virtual teams

Since the pandemic in 2020, we’ve seen some major changes and advancements in the HR sector, particularly the increase in remote and virtual teams. The productivity of virtual teams and their ability to work from anywhere in the world, has proven to HR teams and managers that the “work from home” movement is one advancement that is here to stay.

Therefore to keep up with the growing HR trends of 2022, people managers need to adapt their traditional management strategies to meet the needs of the modern-day virtual workplace. 

In this article, we will discuss the 5 best practices for managing virtual teams in 2022. 

Remote Onboarding 

One of the major changes that were first introduced during the pandemic was remote onboarding. HR teams had to quickly adapt their methods of onboarding during the pandemic. Introducing remote onboarding and online training to welcome new employees into their business. 

As the remote onboarding process is the initial step in building a relationship between the company and the new employee. It’s crucial that the company invest in an onboarding process that keeps the new employee engaged and excited about their role. 

Not only will starting off on the right foot, help to increase employee engagement and productivity, but it will also have a knock-on effect on the satisfaction of the employee, positively impacting the employee retention rate. 

remote work policy

Master Online Communication

A major challenge when managing virtual teams is communication during projects – or lack of.  Naturally, it’s always going to be harder to connect with a virtual team than with an onsite team. Therefore, it’s important to master your online communication skills.

As you are leading a virtual workplace, your writing skills should be up to scratch. To avoid confusion, keep your writing in your messages and emails clear and concise. Broadcasting wordy, indirect messages will only cause problems between your virtual team. It’s also vital that you determine the best online communication channel for your virtual team. Ensuring that your communication is centralised and to avoid any miscommunication or problems. 

As a manager, it’s important to ensure that you have regular one to ones with your virtual team, even if it’s a quick virtual coffee, checking in on your employees.

virtual teams

Measuring Your Virtual Teams Performance

It can be hard to keep on top of each of your employees’ performance, particularly when you are managing a virtual team. Therefore, to ensure that each virtual employee is performing their best, and to support their professional development, we recommend adopting employee performance management software.

By adopting this HR tool you can make more informed decisions about your virtual workplace, evaluating employee development, collaboration, and performance. 

In terms of retention, employees are more likely to stay somewhere if they feel as though their efforts are noticed. For this reason, you should introduce an online employee recognition system, celebrating your employee’s achievements and professional milestones.

Provide the Right Tools and Equipment for Virtual Teams

Virtual teams often work with a more flexible schedule, therefore it’s important to ensure that your employees have the right tools and software from the very beginning to avoid any interruptions. During remote onboarding, you can use this time to ensure that they have all of the right equipment and access to all the online tools that they need.

Providing your team with the right tools and equipment should be a priority as a manager. Employers who expect their teams to buy their own equipment and subscriptions will have a lower retention rate. Your virtual team should be treated with the same importance as your in-office team.

Employee Engagement & Performance in Hybrid and Remote Teams

Project Management Tools

As we mentioned, it’s important to communicate regularly with your employees to ensure everyone is happy and aware of their own tasks. Use project management tools with your virtual teams to ensure that tasks are delegated properly and that everyone is on the right track.

Coordination can be a challenge when managing a virtual team, therefore it’s important to focus more on task details, such as task deadline, assignee, what’s expected etc.

Here is a small selection of Project Management tools for virtual teams:

Bonus Tip: Trust Your Employees

Setting clear goals and communicating them from the beginning, can help strengthen trust between remote employees and managers. This provides an opportunity for each team member to contribute to these goals. As we mentioned, communication is extremely important in remote teams, but make sure that you do not micromanage. 
Monitoring when and where your employees are working can lead to feelings of mistrust. To build trust in remote work environments, companies need to set boundaries and measure success from the work they deliver, not the way they work.

Ultimately, virtual teams can be particularly hard to manage. Especially as they are limited to relying on online communication, collaboration and project management tools. But, by adopting the 5 top tips for managing virtual teams, you’ll be on your way to leading a successful remote team.

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