5 Tips to Managing and Motivating Virtual Team Members

It’s not uncommon for even the smallest of businesses to have employees and contractors all over the world.  Right now, I have an employee in the Ukraine, two employees in San Jose, a virtual admin in Orange County, a warehouse team in Indiana, a transcriptionist in Las Vegas, partners in New York, Chicago, Missouri, and Atlanta, and a coach in Sydney, Australia.

In the next few months, I‘ll be moving from San Jose to Plano, Texas while my team stays put.   And it won’t hurt my business one tiny bit.  Here are five tips to help your virtual team play at their best.

1. Define the “Big Mission.”

Be sure you let your team know about your big-picture vision.  What is it you’re trying to accomplish in your business?  At my company, we’re helping to make the economy better, and we’re enabling our clients to increase the financial literacy of the world.  We’re empowering women and men entrepreneurs to create the business of their dreams.  And we’re helping accounting experts serve more clients and serve their existing clients better.

My employees are clear that they are helping to create jobs (dozens of my clients have hire someone in the last year), improve the results of thousands of small businesses, and helping clients to be just a little bit better off (and sometimes way better off).

2. Project Manage. 

I used to hate project management when I was working at a large firm.  So I threw it out the window when I first started my business.  And that turned out to be a big mistake!

Especially when your team goes virtual, you will need a centralized place that you can look to see what tasks have been completed, how long it took, and what still needs to get done.  You’ll need to know where they’re getting stuck, what issues you need to raise to the client, and more.

A cloud-based project management system will accomplish this perfectly.

3. Incentive Pay.

When my company grows and reaches certain milestones, my employees rejoice because they get a bonus in their paycheck.  Decide what business goals that you want to measure and grow, and tie these to employee compensation.  Let them know their part – what can they do to accomplish the goal faster-sooner.  It makes a huge difference in their performance and attitude.

4. Communication and Technology

You’ll need to be able to reach your team members in an instant.  Whether you use Chat, Google Hangouts, or another technology, you’ll want to have your employees be in touch.

5. Keep It Challenging

As an employee masters their basic responsibilities, find new tasks, new technology, or a higher level of responsibility for them to do so they do not get bored.  There’s enough to do in a small business that this should never be a problem!  It’s great for the brain to keep learning new things, and employee engagement is super-important for employee happiness and productivity these days.

Try these ideas to make your virtual workplace a thriving one.