What are the best practices for growing your business by scaling your distributed team?
As a business owner or recruiter, you may have big goals for hiring additional team members as your business grows. Since global hiring is more common, you no longer need to focus your recruiting efforts within a small local talent pool: It is easier than ever to scale your business with the right team.
If you’ve ever tried to grow your business with a distributed team, you have probably already learned some important lessons about choosing the right people and getting them onboarded into their new roles as well as communicating effectively. We looked at best practices for growing your business by scaling your distributed team.
Why use a distributed team model?
The distributed team model offers many advantages to business owners. The first of which, as we’ve already highlighted, is that business owners can recruit talented people from anywhere on the globe. They are no longer limited to recruiting talent within what is considered a reasonable commute to the office.
In fact, with a distributed team model, offices are less necessary, and real estate costs can be minimized by allowing teams to work from home, or renting smaller office spaces or even coworking space if face-to-face collaboration is essential.
Other benefits of using a distributed team include promoting diversity, saving money (hiring team members in areas with lower costs of living), being able to hire people with specialized skills, and promoting work-life balance.
3 Tips for Scaling Your Distributed Team
1. Have a plan for communication
When bringing new hires into a distributed team, make sure you have a good plan for communication. Everything from company norms, to how to interact with team members is important to explain. There can be a wide variety of cultures and communication styles present in a distributed team model so it is important to take the time to set communication preferences and norms with each member of the team.
Some people join distributed teams and report that because they are working mostly asynchronously they feel disconnected from the organization. By purposefully creating these interactions among team members and consistently reinforcing business objectives and priorities you can help close this gap.
2. Use core hours to enable work-life balance
If you have team members working all over the world (or even just all over your country) you may want to implement core hours that you do business or even just allow communication over Slack/collaboration tools and meetings. One of the downsides to being on a distributed global team is that meetings and communication might happen outside your business hours.
As the business grows, it is your responsibility to account for this and work with the team so you aren’t unintentionally asking your employees to work unreasonable hours. Think about it, how would you feel if you had to get up at 4 a.m. for a client meeting or stay up until midnight every other Tuesday for the company all-hands meeting? After a few months of this, you’re probably going to be pretty burned out. By committing to avoiding these situations as much as possible, you can help your team members enjoy a better work-life balance by allowing them to work the hours that best suit their needs.
3. Use data to inform your approach
When it comes to scaling your business, you will want to use data to decide who you need to hire, and where they should be. For example, if you are consistently filling customer success roles in the Philippines and you learn that the average tenure for these employees is only 6 months, you will want to dig into exit interviews to understand what is going on and why employees are leaving so quickly.
Conversely, if you have a team of engineers in Prague that have been with the company for over two years, and consistently earn high marks and complements in performance reviews – meet with the team lead to understand what they are doing and how they are doing it.
Once you have a good understanding of what is working and what is not you can focus on building more of the positive, and making real change where you need to. Staying in touch with not only what is going on with the leaders in your business, but also your frontline employees will give you the insights you need to make informed decisions.
Ensuring your distribution team is in compliance with labor and payroll laws globally
While we explained why hiring from a global talent pool can both grow and benefit your organization, we have not discussed how to do this.
With countries having their own unique laws and regulations surrounding labor and payroll compliance, it can add an extreme burden to business owners as well as HR and finance leaders to research, understand, and comply with local labor laws, payroll and compliance laws, and international taxes.