Hiring and retaining an exceptional team has always been a major challenge for companies. And the increasing popularity of remote work and distributed teams only makes things even more challenging. But that’s the kind of challenge businesses are willing to take these days, considering all the benefits they will get for successfully building and managing a remote team.
Recent studies have shown that remote work is a preferred mode of operation for a majority of marketing businesses. Marketers are treating it as a cost-effective solution to reduce overhead costs and build a stronger, more productive team with professionals that complement each other in terms of skills and strengths.
It’s quite clear that everyone is aware of the role remote work is playing in team management today. Everyone is on-board with creating and managing a flexible, remote working environment. But only a few actually know “how”.
Now, if you’re looking forward to setting up a remote marketing team that sticks around and gets successful, this article is for you.
Mentioned below are some easy remote team management strategies that can help you successfully build, manage, and grow a remote marketing team. we’ve also made a few suggestions regarding remote team management software that we hope you will appreciate.
Let’s get started.
Create a standard onboarding process
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The first step towards better managing a remote marketing team is creating an onboarding program that boosts engagement and saves time. Create a standardized process that is followed within as well as outside the organization. Also, onboarding a new employee should never be the sole responsibility of a manager or team lead. Make sure that the entire team, remote or in-house, is involved in conveying the vision, mission, and values, to the new member of the team. Here are a few tips that might help along the way:
- Leverage the face-to-face connections. If time and resources allow, make sure you provide your remote employee a face-to-face orientation via video conferencing.
- As a part of the orientation and onboarding program, clearly communicate the goals and expectations to the new employees before they start work.
- Working remotely is equally challenging. So, make sure that you make your new virtual space welcoming. Introduce the new recruit to the rest of the team and make sure that they connect in terms of both goals and values.
Trust the people you hire
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It doesn’t matter how many talented people you hire for your remote team—if you can’t trust them with their work, they’re not going to work. Learn to trust the team you hire. However, it is obvious that you wish to stay in ultimate control as a manager. So, here are a few tips that will surely help you encourage initiative without giving up your authority.
- Involve everyone in the decision-making process, but keep the end decision-making power to yourself. Make sure that you listen to each remote employee’s suggestion and views with a clear mind and attentiveness.
- Make room for experimentation and innovation. Let your remote employees know that they can get their job done in the way that seems best to them—but if things don’t work out, make sure they’re ready to take accountability.
Create clear guidelines
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From communication to deliver the final outcome, make sure that everyone understands the process and the remote workflow. When you’re working with a remote team, there is a high chance that the teamwork may go wayside and everyone starts to operate as an individual. However, this can be easily avoided by setting up some work-related guidelines for the remote team. If you’re having a hard time figuring out what type of guidelines to set, here are a few examples that might help you get started.
- Establish regular communication schedules
- Schedule meeting times in a way that allows you to accommodate time zone differences
- Define the set of tools that your team will use to collaborate, share documents, organize to-dos, track time, and other remote work-related stuff
- Leverage the power of positive feedback. Start off video conferences with kudos or recognize a job well done by sending company-wide mail
Communicate the company vision
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The members of your remote marketing team are very likely to get distracted from their end goal. That’s why it is important that you consistently communicate the company vision to your remote team. Keep reminding them what they’re aiming for (and why) so that they can actually achieve it. Here’s some advice that you might appreciate:
- Document the vision. And by documenting we certainly don’t mean that you have to get your company vision framed and hung on the wall. Just document the vision, goals (short-term and long-term), and objectives of the organization and share it with your remote team members.
Get the right tools
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We’ve already mentioned it several times that you need to use the right tools to manage your remote team the right way. There’s no secret that technology is having a significant effect on the way businesses and teams run. Business and teams that are leveraging the right kind of technology are more productive, engaged, and effective than others.
Now, your remote marketing team is no different. The best way to manage your team is to involve the right set of remote marketing team tools in the process. But considering the number of tools and software that are already available in the market (and the ones that are being launched every year), making the right pick is very unlikely.
So, to save you some time and trouble, here’s the list of tools that will make remote marketing team management easier.
Best tools for remote team management
ProofHub for work management
ProofHub is a project management software for freelancers, remote teams, startups, SMBs, and enterprises. The software comes with an array of scalable features that help to ensure that all the members of your team—in-office and remote—are on the same page and work gets delivered as planned. The software eliminates the need for investing in too many tools to manage a team, a project, or a business. And it’s available for quite a fair price, along with a FREE trial!
Slack for team communication
Effective communication is the key to making a team and business success. Slack is a communication hub that allows a team to come together and make work happen. With Slack, remote teams can bring all their messaging, tools and files in one central place. They can communicate via voice or video calls, share files and get feedback on it directly into Slack, keep business-critical data secure, and a lot more.
Zoho Docs for document management
As the name suggests, Zoho Docs is an online file and document management tool that lets teams store, share, and sync files across multiple devices without any threat or hassle. With Zoho Docs, remote teams can create collaborative virtual workspaces, store everything online, and get work done faster, together.
Planable for social media collaboration and approval
Planable is a tool designed for marketers, media agencies, freelancers and remote marketing teams. With Planable, you keep everyone in the loop with one shared space, centralize all social media content management, and eliminate the time-consuming and frustrating review/approval hassles. It simply eliminates those endless email threads and provides everything your marketing team may need to keep up their creative processes moving forward.
Hubstaff for employee time tracking
Hubstaff is a simple time tracking software with a simple agenda—spend less time tracking and more time growing. It’s basically an employee time tracking tool that allows managers and leaders like you to monitor your team, projects, and deadlines as they progress with optional screenshots and make improvements as needed.
Avoid chat and email overload
According to a Harvard business review, chat and email overloads are the symptoms of a larger issue. When overlooked, they can lead to greater damage that involved complete organizational failure. The point is, you need to avoid overloading your remote team’s inbox and chat. Let them concentrate on getting their work done instead of wasting time drafting emails or sending replies.
And to be frank, you don’t have to rely on emails anymore. There are better ways to share updates and collaborate while working remotely. For example, you can suggest your remote team to set email windows instead of checking their inbox throughout the day. And for work-related, real-time updates and information sharing, consider using smarter tools like a team chat app or a Gantt chart software.
Track hours worked and measure results
Since your team is sitting miles away from you and each other, you are in a serious need to find a better way to keep a check on everything and everyone. This is where continuous monitoring and tracking comes in the picture. These are general practices that allow leaders and managers like you to make sure that every team member and the task is progressing as expected. Plus, the output of these processes offers you the key insights you need to make improvements and boost productive work across your remote team. Here’s a suggestion:
Do a quarterly review. Host quarterly meetings with the agenda of putting the best priority goals forward for the remote team and every individual remote team member. Use these reviews to analyze and reflect on what’s working and what needs to be improved.
Last but definitely not the least—a key part of managing a remote team successfully is to celebrate success. And since you and your team are not sitting in the same room, options such as team lunch, office games, team outing are out. You need a virtual alternative to nurture bonds and celebrate success. Here are a few ways you might be able to do the same.
- Go old school. Send personalized notes to recognize each remote employee’s achievements individually and then display company-wide appreciation for their contribution to the organization.
- Include the achievement and the whereabouts of your remote team in your company newsletter or website.
Managing and working on remote teams is challenging—and equally rewarding.
So, if you’re considering the idea of virtual team management for your marketing agency, make sure you’ve got all three elements right—team, tools, and process.
Do you run a virtual team? What steps have you taken to ensure its success?
Building and managing a remote team can be both challenging and rewarding. The remote model is an exciting way to bring together talented employees across the globe while enabling them to enjoy the benefits of working from home. For best results, you should follow our guide, including steps to determine the profile of your remote team, hire them on specialized platforms, create an effective virtual office, manage your team with digital tools, measure results, and satisfaction, adjust your model as needed and celebrate wins. By following these steps, you’ll make the transition to a remote team a huge success.
Best of luck!