Your people are your most important resource by far. And whether they succeed as a remote team will depend on a special set of skills.
Let’s be honest, remote work is not for everyone and working with remote team members spread across the globe can be challenging. If you’re wanting to build a team that will thrive in a remote environment, consider these qualities when hiring your remote team members.
According to the US publication, The Journal of Organizational Behavior, emotional intelligence (EQ) has a direct correlation to how well someone will perform in a role. Those people who have a high level of emotional intelligence tend to be more successful than those with a high IQ or even more experience. People with low EQ often demonstrate low levels of performance and also leave jobs more regularly.
Having people with high EQ will result in a team that bonds well, as these individuals are better at establishing and maintaining relationships, collaborating effectively, and avoiding confrontations – qualities important in any work environment.
It really goes without saying, remote team members need strong communication skills. Communication is one of the reasons why you might be feeling reluctant to let your team work remotely. It’s not uncommon for employers to assume that without the benefits of face-to-face communication, team members will slacken off and nothing will get done. So it’s important you hire people who are great communicators. Here are some of the qualities you should look for:
- They make themselves available, and when they’re not available, they let you know.
- They stay in touch and keep you up to date with tasks and projects they’re working on.
- They understand what channel to use for the different types of communication – whether email, chat, a phone call or video call is best.
- They don’t over-communicate – they keep communication concise and precise.
- They are aware of time zones, time differences, and respect each others’ time.
- They don’t hide behind their screen – they’re willing to jump on a video call when needed.
- They’re comfortable communicating with people of different nationalities and from different cultures.
- They have a solid grasp of the language your team speaks and writes.
- They know when to ask for help.
We’re not saying team members need to be technical gurus, but to work effectively in today’s digital world, they do need to be tech savvy to some degree and not be intimated by technology. Obviously, they need to be competent in the tools required of the role. Experienced remote workers will already be familiar with online collaboration tools, but they also need to be open-minded and keen to embrace new technologies. Those who are willing to share their knowledge and assist others are also a great asset to the team.
Self-Motivation and Time Management Skills.
Good remote team members appreciate the value of time and know how to utilize it efficiently. Considering you won’t be there to look over their shoulder as you might do in an office environment, you need to know your team members are using their time effectively and making progress on the tasks and projects they are assigned. Good time management skills are essential, otherwise they’ll be mostly unproductive in a remote working environment.
Look for self-motivated people who are driven and motivated to begin and complete tasks with minimal external encouragement. They are also resourceful and able to make decisions without directives, so they can handle situations when things don’t go to plan. For more about the key characteristics of self-motivated individuals, read our blog article: Self-Motivated People Make the Best Remote Workers
Self-motivated ‘completer-finishers’ are one thing, but watch out for the extremists – the workaholics! The ones who work crazy long hours burning the midnight oil. Being a workaholic is not healthy and not sustainable long-term. It also puts pressure on other team members who feel they too need to be working ridiculously long hours in order to perform at the same level. Workaholics are not heroes; they’ll end up causing damage to a team by creating more problems than they solve, and making other team members feel guilty for working regular (sustainable) hours.
If you look for these qualities when hiring your remote team members, you’ll be well on your way to building a stellar team that helps your business move in a positive direction and become more successful in the future.