I still remember working in corporate, although now it feels like a very long time ago!
One of the big things I remember always wanting back then was the ability to work from home.
Working in an office with lots of people around me wasn’t my cup of tea; not because I didn’t like my work colleagues or wasn’t a team player, but because I always found I worked more efficiently when doing so from home.
Back then it was a big deal to have your company agree to a home office!
Laptops weren’t widely used, so simply having the equipment approved and set up was almost impossible.
In 2013 I moved to Melbourne, and started working in the Financial Services Industry.
It was the first time I was in contact with working remotely. At that stage, the business I worked for was mostly working with staff in Melbourne and Sydney. However, they’d recently hired a contractor in the Philippines to assist with bookkeeping and financial reporting.
Immediately I loved the idea of not only working with people from different countries and cultures, but also the ability to travel anywhere I wanted and still do my job.
Little did I know, the business was on a journey toward what would ultimately become a truly global team, working across multiple countries and time zones.
I worked in Operations and Delivery for over five years before starting my own business, KAIZ Consulting.
KAIZ exists to transform growing service businesses into profitable, innovative, and scalable organisations, through the implementation of processes, systems, technology, and automations.
One important factor when I started my own business was that it would be 100% remote.
Building a remote team isn’t something that happens overnight, and there were many lessons learned along the way.
But the end result is truly rewarding. Remote work creates a level of freedom, trust, and respect within the culture of a business that’s hard to match.
When you think of hiring someone internationally, there are many options.
It’s important to know what you are looking for and to align your culture with the person you are hiring. Most importantly, having systems and processes in place is critical.
Here are my key tips for building remote teams from everything I’ve learned over the years:
When hiring remotely, hire as if you’re hiring locally
The only difference is you’re not going to be sitting across from each other.
Other than that, you still need to ensure they have the right skills and experience, along with shared values and a good cultural fit – just as you would if you were hiring someone to work in an office with you.
Take your time, and remember you’re hiring a person with goals, dreams, and hopes. You’re not hiring a robot.
Have clear job descriptions and don’t think hiring a “VA” will solve all your problems.
If you need someone for Social Media, Marketing, Sales, or Customer Service for example, it’s important to be realistic about the fact one person is unlikely to have the skills, or the capacity, across all these areas.
In all likelihood, it’ll make far more sense to identify the exact roles you need filling, and then hire team members into each of those roles. That way you’ll be able to find people with the precise skill sets you require to deliver the outcomes you want and need.
Fixing someone’s errors or cleaning things up ends up costing far more than spending a little more time in the first place finding the right talent.
Be aware of cultural differences
Don’t just go where it’s most affordable to hire staff. Ensure the location is aligning with your personal and company’s culture.
Some cultures are more similar to Australia and speak great English, the people are educated, proactive and deliver great outcomes. Other cultures may operate in a more hierarchical manner. Because of this, they are polite to the extent that they wouldn’t admit to not understanding a task or asking for help which can become a problem.
Of course, every individual is different. It’s most important to openly discuss cultural differences and how they relate to the unique culture of your organisation.
Engage experts to help find the right candidates
You might find it worthwhile to use a recruiter for remote teams who can advertise, source, and headhunt candidates for you.
They know what to look for in people and can assist you with your role descriptions and interviews. They can also take care of the ongoing management of your staff and help with contracts and replacement hires.
Personally, my worst nightmare is having to go on websites to source staff like Fiverr or Upwork! There’s nothing more time consuming and frustrating than trying to find someone and not being able to interview them before they start working for you.
Lastly, the most important thing when building remote teams is your systems and processes
If you work across different time zones with multiple staff, trying to get outcomes for your clients, you need to have processes in place so everyone knows what they need to do and to be able to communicate that.
There are many things that can be done to set yourself up for success but, and if I can be frank, it’s not going to work if it is in a spreadsheet.
Simple and cost-effective software goes a long way. Along with your staff, it will be the best investment you can make.
All-in-all, building a remote team is a great opportunity for a business to grow and achieve success. Using the best possible talent from around the globe is the best that can happen. Plus, if this means you can hire two or more staff overseas vs one person locally (due to lower cost of wages) you have an additional bonus.
Pam Doerf is an expert in building strong operational foundations for businesses running remotely. Over the years she has worn many hats and has worked in many different contexts to gain a skill set that can be applied to many areas of business and life.
Pam found her passion in Operations and automating businesses using technology. It’s her greatest satisfaction to see when automation can improve a process, or even a whole business!
Pam has run multiple businesses and built remote teams for over seven years. She has over 20 years of experience in tourism, hospitality, and finance.
Pam is a genius of efficiency, mastering the art of minimising the input and maximising the output of a team by using technology, systems, and processes, and driving remote work in industries where spending 9-5 at the office is the norm.
Coming Soon: KAIZ Chief Actionary and expert in business operations for maximum efficiency Pam Doerf takes us through her top five rules for avoiding the email hangover and owning your inbox.
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KAIZ Consulting transforms growing service businesses to become more profitable, innovative and scalable through simple technology and automation.
We work with service businesses to build their unique 100 Day Customer Journey, ensuring they’re able to give customers the experience they’re expecting. (And more!)
The KAIZ proven process assists businesses in turning prospects into happy clients. It develops consistent processes and communication to deliver your services at exceptional standards.
We create the processes, the systems, and the customer journey from when they first get in touch with you:
- what it looks like,
- what it feels like,
- and what we do to engage them,
all the way through to the on-boarding process and making sure the journey is seamless. AND that everyone knows what they need to do and how to do it!