I absolutely love this time of year. As we transition from one year to the next, it is a time of reflection, a time of new beginnings, and a time to do things differently.

5 years ago, I remembered thinking that I needed a significant change in my life. My Marketing Manager of over 4 years quit via text on my first vacation in 7 years the year before, and it was a revolving door to find quality help. I was burned out, frustrated, and knew that if I kept doing business the same way, I was going to decide to quit myself, and all my hard work the past 14 years would have faded away.

I had gotten introduced to the concept of full time dedicated help from the Philippines, and I was intrigued. I took 6 months to research everything. We looked at other countries and evaluated price points, language, culture, and determined that the large fortune 500 companies like Chase Financial, ATT, Verizon, Dell, and many others. I figured they had more resources to evaluate these things better than I did.

At the time, I knew I wanted to protect myself against employee payroll taxes and benefits. I didn’t want there to be any question about whether we were hiring another employee disguised as an “independent contractor.” Yet, I wanted the control and commitment of an employee, so I needed a staffing company.

I searched and interviewed several and came across 5Star who seemed just to fit. They had similar goals and philosophy to ours. And I took the leap to hire my first full-time virtual employee (VE). After working with 5Star for a while, we decided to join forces. Neil, Mark & I formed a formal arrangement and HireSmart Virtual Employees was born. We started helping friends find amazing people and it worked great for everyone. Those first VEs that my first client hired are still working for them today 4.5 years later.

We certainly have grown a lot, learned a lot, and this year we actively employ over 165 workers. We have several businesses, but only 1 employee to do the things that need to be done physically. Interestingly, she has been out for the past 2 weeks on medical leave. My husband & I am absorbing her role while she is out.  I was a little worried about how I was going to manage, but I am happy to say, while a little stressful at times, my virtual staff handled most of the heavy lifting so I am free to continue doing what I like to do.

Some people think that hiring VEs should be like an automated machine. More AI than VE. I disagree. I think hiring virtually should be done as with much care as hiring an employee. They need to be screened, properly vetted, trained, coached and mentored just like your local hires. The difference is we help our clients find the best matches, and we provide coaching and support along the way when there are challenges. We are dealing with human capital and so there are always going to be personal trials that come into play. We help our clients get to the finish line faster with less wasted time.

My hope for you as we enter into 2020 is that you get to do more of the things that you like to do. That you find the peace that I did. I found mine through transitioning to a virtual workforce and helping others to do it as well.

One of the changes that I am making in 2020 is to communicate more. If you like what you are reading – I hope you will email me and share your insight with me.

For those of you who are interested in taking a step to find out if virtual employees are for you, I would encourage you to book a call with me and let’s chat to see if this would change your life like it did mine 5 years ago when I hired Theriza.

 

Motivating virtual teams doesn’t have to be challenging. Having virtual staff members in your business can generate favorable results as discussed previously on how virtual employees can make you healthier and my 7 reasons to hire a virtual employee.

Motivating virtual teams is very similar to motivating internal teams. The most common complaint is the feeling of disconnect between the virtual team members and in-house staff. One of the best ways to motivate your virtual team is to include them in virtual meetings and make the group interactive. I have personally been included in many virtual meetings with other colleagues across the globe.

Virtual meetings have become a more common method to effectively communicate with a dispersed workforce. It allows you to hire the very best talent, regardless of where you are in relationship to where your workers. In essence, allowing your business to operate at anytime and anywhere.

Technology and fast-changing tools have equipped business managers to conduct communication in a much more convenient way through conference technologies and mobile access. Business huddles now transcend global boundaries and has transformed into a common practice even in the small to medium sized businesses where as before, only the larger companies could afford such a luxury.

To help you in having better communication between internal and external workers, I have come up with 3 effective strategies to make virtual meetings productive.

Plan in Advance

As a business manager, part of my responsibility is to create and provide the entire backbone strategy of each meeting. Preparing and distributing the agenda before the meeting provides my staff the opportunity to understand business objectives and to plan their ideas and concepts for sharing in advance. This allows for much better dialog and ideas to flow.

Collect Everyone’s Input

If possible, make sure it’s an interactive experience for everyone involved when conducting a meeting. It might be difficult when participants are connected via keep track of who is actively engaged. This is another reason having an advanced agenda can help. You can then ask others to take a role allows for a more collaborative meeting. This also gives you an opportunity to learn from your staff and see what insights they have based on their perspective.

Stay On Track

It may be necessary to intervene if a participant or the group gets off-topic or end up discussing information that is out of sync with the meeting objectives. Although everyone’s input matters, as the chairperson of the meeting, you should control the meeting flow. If a certain topic goes a different way it is best to get back on point and schedule that topic in a future meeting.

Keeping meetings on point and fairly brief allows the meetings to be more meaningful. It also keeps the feeling of being “meeting to death”. I highly recommend shorter meetings weekly with a set agenda to keep everyone apprised of pertinent information. Monthly there should be slightly longer meetings with the objective of training, interaction, and feedback. You should also have someone on one time scheduled with your direct reports. This can be accomplished with some quick IMs or quick video chats. This helps everyone stay plugged in.

Want to know more about how you can enhance your business through using global staff? Book a call to set an appointment and find out more.