Many companies have been operating virtual support teams for a number of years. Others have had to switch to a virtual way of working in the last couple of months. Regardless of your virtual tenure, there are a number of tried and tested ways to manage and incentivise a virtual support team.
As we are all learning, virtual working is very different from working in an office environment. When you can directly see and engage with your team it can ‘feel’ like you have more control. A virtual environment requires a different management approach – one that is much more collaborative and strategic. Here are our top tips!
- Regular reporting with clear KPIs: When it comes to setting goals, we tend to overestimate what we can achieve in the short run and underestimate what we can do in the long term. Break down the targets so that the team know exactly what metrics and milestones they should be hitting on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Having this level of clarity will make it much clearer so that virtual support teams know what is expected of them.
- Track and measure: It is crucial to track and measure these metrics, so that you can identify trends and any problems that have to be addressed. As Warren Buffet, says: “Feedback Is A Gift” – but you cannot do it without the data. This will also help to foster accountability.
- Incentivise success: When it comes to performance management – the same rules apply to virtual workers as those that work in a physical office. Workers don’t tend to leave because of money, they tend to leave because they don’t feel valued. Make sure you take time to listen to your staff, incentivise them and reward their success.
- Create a virtual culture: Just because staff are virtual, doesn’t mean that they don’t want to feel like part of a team. What are your company values? How can you make a virtual worker feel those values? Also, what team-building activities can you run to bring people together, e.g. team play lists, virtual coffee mornings, virtual quizzes etc.
- Tools of the trade: It’s crucial to equip virtual support workers with the proper technology to facilitate remote work and collaboration. Virtual support workers are often at the front end, dealing with customers and you need to ensure that they have the right tools to ensure that these interactions are seamless and positive. Make sure that they have the right telephony, integrated with a collaboration software, which they can easily operate from the comfort of their own home.