How To Build Distributed Teams

Elroy Mariano

Co-Founder and CEO of LumApps, leading digital workplace communications solution for the enterprise. Getty The year 2020 has ushered in many changes not only within our own homes and communities, but also across the world. In a post-Covid-19 environment, companies can look far beyond the physical borders of their headquarters. Today, […]

Co-Founder and CEO of LumApps, leading digital workplace communications solution for the enterprise.

The year 2020 has ushered in many changes not only within our own homes and communities, but also across the world.

In a post-Covid-19 environment, companies can look far beyond the physical borders of their headquarters. Today, a company may need to conduct global searches to find the most diverse and qualified talent for new and expanding positions. At LumApps, we have offices across the globe, so we know firsthand the importance of building distributed teams.

A shift to remote work and work from home has happened at a faster rate than ever before. For example, of Nationwide employees, 98% were working from home in May 2020. Many businesses are following suit. Mondelez, Morgan Stanley, Google and other leading companies are also embracing a digital model and allowing or considering allowing their teams to work from home across the world.

But how do you go about finding remote employees? And once you find them, how do you ensure you’re choosing the best candidates to fill your openings?

How do you find exceptional talent? Explore your hiring avenues.

The days of posting job opportunities in the classifieds are long over. In today’s ever-changing digital climate, companies must be more agile than ever and explore a large array of avenues to find the best talent for open positions.

According to Statista (paywall), employee experience during the application process is expected to be a top trend in international recruiting. As such, it’s important to prioritize this stage of the hiring process in order to best appeal to candidates. This includes expanding your channels for talent recruitment to enable a larger number of qualified people to apply.

Statista data shows that the most common avenue (paywall) for new talent recruitment is online job boards. However, those job postings were the least effective recruitment channels in 2018.

How do your recruiters and teams find the perfect candidates, then? The answer is with more customized solutions, custom campaigns and professional recruiters.

While I’ll be focusing on external talent searches in this article, it’s worth noting that looking internally can also be a good place to start. You may find someone who is looking for a bigger role that might welcome the opportunity. One advantage of promoting from within is that the employee is already familiar with the company culture, policies, norms, etc. 

Not finding your perfect fit locally? Look globally.

When you post a job, it can seem like thousands of applicants flood in, but none of them are the right fit for your position or company. Some are not even remotely qualified for your field.

With so much competition, finding candidates now may require expanding your talent pool beyond your immediate geographical location and conducting a global search.

Planning for your global talent recruitment efforts means understanding where your company is now and where it wants to be.

To begin, you’ll want to understand all of your employee data: 

• Where is your team working from? 

• What kind of mobility should you expect in your team? 

• Does your company’s structure (team, technology, processes, etc.) have the capacity to take on a global workforce? If so, develop a cohesive mobility strategy early to monitor and mitigate risks.

Next, ensure that your current employees see you favorably by checking your reviews online. According to LinkedIn data, 75% of candidates consider an employer’s brand before applying for a job. The best talent often avoids those with bad online reputations. Similarly, if your company is nowhere to be found digitally in international talent’s searches, you might seem like too much of a risk for them.

What are the best strategies for finding and managing global talent?

When you’re determining which resources and strategies to deploy to seek talent on a global scale, consider these five tips from Andy Molinsky’s article in Psychology Today:

1. Develop and understand your team’s cultural makeup. Ensure that your group leaders have the training necessary to identify and interpret tripwires that different cultures will bring before you hire international talent. This way, they can help facilitate how each individual’s culture affects the team and how to best work with those differences to ensure that your team collaborates comfortably and smoothly.

2. Give your team purpose. Each team needs to be working toward the same cause. Especially when your team is geographically dispersed, it’s critical to ensure that your group feels connected to the project and team. Stating your goals and values clearly will help attract like-minded global talent.

When establishing team purposes, make sure they are:

• Clear and specific.

• Measurable.

• Challenging (but doable).

• Consequential.

• Compelling.

3. Give space for team bonding. No matter the distance between your employees’ physical work locations, you can encourage personal bonding and familiarity on your global team. Your remote workers may crave connection, so your leaders should provide those avenues for bonding.

In your job postings, advertise what type of team bonding experiences your company offers in order to make out-of-country talent feel more secure in joining your team. Can your team host an off-site happy hour? Can everyone get together to eat lunch via video call?

4. Develop healthy team norms. When recruiting international talent, ask potential employees about their work styles. While many people are fluent in working virtually, many experienced workers are now dealing with remote work for the first time. When these two interact, there can be a disruption in not only team communication, but also expectations and workflows.

5. Create an open forum for negative feedback or issues. Whether your team is in-person or virtual, conflict will inevitably occur. While in-person issues may be easier to manage, virtual friction can cause more problems because digital messages fly quickly and time zones create opportunities for negative feelings to fester. Empower employees to be proactive when potential problems arise. Create a system for feedback and issues, and emphasize the importance of honesty and your willingness to listen. Especially on a global team, your employees will value your commitment to communication and problem-solving and your dedication to helping them feel heard.


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