Test for Impressiveness
We never simply bring someone aboard in a full-time capacity. As a virtual company, since a new hire will not be in an office where we can observe their work ethic, there are more variables. We start by testing a number of people who we feel we could love by giving each of them a small project that requires a few hours.
While we’re obviously looking at the skill with which they complete the task, we also want to quickly assess their communication skills, adherence to deadlines, and ability and desire to exceed our expectations. If they don’t impress us immediately, we move on. If they do, we send them another project of a slightly larger size. Rinse and repeat until they become part of the family or are excused from the table.
Adhere to Core Values
Developing strong company core values will make issues black and white, so you can pinpoint problems and resolve them quickly. For instance: Is the group functioning as a community? Yes or no. Is our staff being honest with one another? Yes or no. In any of these areas, if we’re answering no, we may need a culture adjustment. Anything short of “yes” requires immediate attention. When leadership makes decisions based on our core values, employees follow suit and then kindly pressure each other to do the same. Over time, adherence to those values becomes habitual.
Invest in Systems
Virtual employees spend a fair amount of time communicating and looking for what they need to fulfill their daily obligations. They also have to track their own time; and as they grow with the company, they may begin to manage other staff.
To rescue our staff from hours of daily administrative work, we automated communication and sharing through software like Trello and Google Docs, billing through Harvest and deadline tracking through Basecamp. Great systems offer our employees freedom from having to waste time on the less joyous aspects of a virtual day. As a result, they show us appreciation through more brilliant performance.
At the end of the day, you have incredible control over your company culture. Make the decision to invest your time and money into creating a happy virtual workforce and they will go above and beyond to take care of your clients and grow your business.
Working in Los Angeles for a decade, Corey Michael Blake was the face and voice behind a dozen Fortune 500 and Fortune 100 brands as a commercial and voiceover actor (his work won Belding, Addy, Cannes, and London International Advertising awards), before working as a film producer and director, as an author and publisher, and now as the founder and President of storytelling company Round Table Companies (RTC).
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