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Build Brand Ambassadors: How your team can be your best marketing

It’s no secret that word of mouth marketing is one of the most effective forms of marketing you can come by. Satisfied customers sharing their positive experiences will always be viewed as the most genuine message consumers can receive. It’s for this reason almost exclusively that influencer marketing has taken the world by storm. But what about your team?

When your team is highly engaged, productive, and happy at work, they’re more likely to seek out products and services from your company, but they’re also more likely to tell those positive stories to their friends, family, and professional networks. By shifting your focus to recognize team members as your very own, built-in influencers, you can further grow your business by leveraging your team’s strongest suits.

Your employees are connected to ten times more people than your brand, and companies with engaged employees outperform those without by up to 202%. Can you afford not to be focused on engagement?

Perhaps you’ve noticed the new trend of companies referring to employees as “owners.” In 2016, nearly 10,000 companies in the United States of America had become substantially or wholly employee-owned. This switch has been credited with decreasing employee turnover, increasing company growth, and boosting satisfaction among employees.

While it’s not necessary to offer stock options to employees to reap the benefits of ownership mindset, it is up to leaders to create positive change and a culture of empowerment by recognizing, fostering, and nurturing internal brand ambassadors.

What is a brand ambassador?

A brand ambassador is someone who speaks highly of your business. Today, most people associate brand ambassadors with highly paid celebrities acting as the face of a brand. But, brand ambassadors have traditionally been individuals who are hired by companies to help entrench the brand into the community by leveraging already established networks and market the brand through word-of-mouth tactics.

Since we’re not looking to hire someone as a specific brand ambassador, it’s time to identify your potential brand ambassadors.

Who are your internal brand ambassadors?

To identify potential internal brand ambassadors, look for team members who:

  • Ask questions aimed at discovering new ways they could be more effective or helpful
  • Talk about the brand and may engage with internal branding experts or managers to ensure they’re on the right path
  • Share their thoughts and ideas on how the company could improve
  • Think about your company and/or their role even while they’re not at work
  • Arrive at work each day inspired to do their work and share their thoughts
  • Advocate for the organization online such as by sharing content related to your brand initiatives on their personal social networks

Now that you know who to look for, it’s important to understand how to encourage these qualities in your team on a large scale. As you identify the employees already demonstrating their enthusiasm, curiosity, and engagement, it’s important to support them to help them flourish.

Start with proper on-boarding

From the moment you make a new hire, all efforts should be made to welcome your new team member and engage with them – from the time the offer letter is sent to the time s/he walks through the door on their first day.

  • Make a good first impression
  • Make an excited introduction to the team
  • Create a buddy system so new hires have support through the early days
  • Get feedback
  • Ask about their professional goals

Keep your team in the loop

Your employees can only be as engaged as you let them. For this reason, keeping your team close to the action and ensure they’re informed about the business, how it’s doing, and the ways their work ladders up to the strategic priorities and goals of the organization. One of the simplest ways to do this is to clearly communicate your vision.

How employees can be your best marketing

study on employee activism revealed that, on average, 50% of employees share photos and videos on social media about their work, and a third of them do this with no encouragement from their employer. If your employees are already singing your company’s praises, how can you leverage their networks without being heavy-handed?

The answer is pretty simple: Provide them with the tools and resources that make it easier to promote your brand. Create a Brand Bible, if you will, that clearly explains the vision, mission, and history of your organization. Give your team training on the company’s “elevator pitch”. Make brand promotion part of your corporate culture.

Engaged employees are more likely to refer talent to your organization when openings arise, meaning Human Resources gains access to better talent pools with fewer resources spent. Simply leveraging an employee referral program can help you attract – and retain – the best possible talent!

At the end of the day, the effort to support your team will always be worth it

Fifty years ago, the expectation of working at one company until retirement wasn’t unrealistic but in today’s world, the likelihood of spending one’s career with a single company is low. But that doesn’t mean companies should sit back and watch as people come and go.

By engaging your employees and creating opportunities for them to flourish through Brand Ambassador programs, you can extend the longevity of your employee’s careers within your company along with the enjoyment they get from working with you. Although happy customers will always be your greatest brand ambassadors, happy employees will rapidly close that gap.


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6 Tips for Improving the Hiring Manager Experience

Hiring managers are often a recruiter’s sole window into an organization, building good relationships with them is key to finding talent resulting in a quality hire with low turnover. Strong relationships between hiring managers and recruiters are a key driver of talent acquisition performance. Recruiters and recruitment agencies are responsible for building those relationships, typically through improving the hiring manager experience: e.g., working hard to deliver higher quality talent.

Align with Hiring Managers on Talent Acquisition

It’s critical that recruiters have access to data relating to the organization’s strategy, career development tract, and culture. Building alignment with hiring managers can mean different things depending on whether you’re in the same organization or working externally, but it always means having:

  • Access to the hiring matrix
  • Access to job profiles and existing employee profiles
  • Benchmark data for hiring and talent acquisition
  • Performance profiles
  • Updated performance requirements from HR
  • Access to competency frameworks

Why does all this matter? Having access to performance data, job profiles, and employee profiles allows you to put together a talent pool based on what the hiring manager wants, people already working in those roles, and what success looks like in those roles. In short, you can find significantly higher quality candidates by leveraging the resources that are likely already available in the organization.

Work to Become a Trusted Business Advisor

Hiring managers are often far detached from the talent pool. The smaller the organization or the more the organization leverages internal talent, the more this will be true. Many are aware of this. Recruiters can leverage this to become trusted business advisors, offering sound advice, helping to make decisions, and helping the Hiring Manager to get more from each hire. This ties into the previous tip, because you have to have a strong understanding of the organization, its strategy, goals, and performance metrics in order to make this work. You’ll also likely have to spend additional time on each hire, so that you can add real value to the team:

  • Get to know the team in question. Even if you’ve hired for similar roles, spend some time meeting with the placement team to decide what they want and need. If you can, use personality assessments to figure out what personalities are in the team, and what might complement or benefit it.
  • Talk to people in similar roles, either in the team or in the organization. If possible, speak to people who are “successful” in their role. What does success look like for them? What do they think the most critical aspects of the job are.
  • Create an open feedback loop with the hiring manager, so they can communicate their needs in real time, communicate if what they are looking for has changed, and communicate anything new, such as feedback on declined candidates.

Create Higher Quality Talent Pools

Build talent pools around team, organization, and hiring manager needs. This means pre-screening candidates, using personality tests and behavioral assessments, and asking some interview questions before the candidate ever makes it to an interview.

  • Use personality and behavioral assessments to map the candidate to the organization. You can highlight strengths and weaknesses, as well as why the candidate will and will not fit into the organization before the hiring manager ever looks at their profile.
  • Conduct an interview. Knowing what to expect, including what the hiring manager will likely get as answers to questions will greatly improve your ability to recommend valuable candidates. This means you may want to conduct a kick-off meeting or interview with every candidate.
  • Build candidate profiles using personality assessments, skills assessments, and past experience, so that the hiring manager has easy access to data.

In most cases, hiring managers have little training in how people work or what they are looking for. If your role is influential in the organization, ensuring that hiring managers have this training may be critical to improving the experience of hires as a whole. For recruiters, this means specifically working to tie the candidate to critical competencies and skills, as highlighted by the hiring manager, while highlighting other advantages they might bring to the role.

Foster Communication

Many hiring managers lack any real way to communicate with candidates outside of a single interview. This can be a mistake. Creating opportunities for open lines of communication, several meetups, and ways to showcase the real work experience of the candidates can greatly improve the quality of the hire. Here, utilizing tools like open days, where multiple candidates come in for a few hours to visit the organization and get a feel for its culture, trial workdays, trial work assessments, and more casual opportunities for communication can help a great deal.

  • Create communication opportunities directly relevant to the importance of the role
  • For most roles, “culture days” or “open workdays”, where candidates can come into the office for a few hours or more, can be hugely beneficial in helping teams and hiring managers make a decision
  • Allow the hiring manager to schedule several interviews with the candidate.

The more opportunities for communication with the candidate, the more the hiring manager will be secure in their hiring decision. Research by The Talent Board also shows that 70% of candidates research organizations before going into them, and creating more opportunities for communication means building more opportunities for a better mutual decision.

Remain Transparent

Some hiring managers will have unrealistic expectations, such as “find a candidate within 7 days and make a hire”. Most will be much more realistic and will be happy with a timeframe for the process, interviewing, and hiring. Establishing clear lines of communication so that the hiring manager can update the recruiter, and vice versa, when things change is also critical. Recruiting is a partnership with hiring, whether recruiting is handled by an internal team or individual or an external organization. Clearly communicating what is expected, why, and when is critical in any partnership.

Manage the Process

Hiring managers often wear multiple hats. Hiring candidates isn’t their only job, unless they’re in a very large organization. Even then, hiring managers are often team or department leads, not solely dedicated to hiring. Take charge of the process, scheduling calls, scheduling checkups, and connecting with the hiring manager after interviews to see how things went, how they liked the candidate, and what to do better next time. If you can touch base and use each successful and unsuccessful candidate as a learning process, you can quickly learn exactly what the hiring manager needs and better tailor the talent pool for them.

This may result in managing organizing interviews, negotiating terms with the candidate once the hire goes through, and ensuring that both the hiring manager and the candidate have everything they need.

Hiring managers rely on recruiters and recruitment firms to supply candidates, pre-screen talent pools, and organize interviews and negotiations with clients. Recruiters must always work to balance the needs of hiring managers and candidates, but it is eventually the hiring manager who matters most. Taking time to improve the hiring manager experience by offering data, real communication, and highly targeted talent pools will greatly boost your ability to deliver great candidates to the organization.


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How to nurture self-motivated employees who boost workplace productivity

A motivated workforce can result in a more productive workforce. If your employees aren’t motivated for the work in front of them, it’s likely that they won’t perform to their full potential. As a manager or employer, it is your duty to help nurture employee motivation.

There are two main types of motivation – extrinsic and intrinsic.

Extrinsically motivated individuals will be motivated by external factors and rewards such as a pay rise, commission or paid time off. Meanwhile, intrinsic motivation comes from within. This type of motivation focuses on the personal desire to overcome challenges.

Intrinsic motivators include producing high quality work, building relationships with colleagues or feeling like an integral part of the organization. 

It has been argued that intrinsic motivation is the only type of motivation that leads to success. However, you cannot create self-motivated employees. You can only create an environment that allows self-motivated individuals to achieve their full potential. So, how can you help nurture self-motivated employees in order to boost workplace productivity?

Who are self-motivated employees?

Self-motivated employees look beyond extrinsic rewards of pay rises or bonuses. Instead, their motivators for career success are more psychological. Due to this internal focus, intrinsically motivated employees are focused on the company goals and strive to achieve those goals. Employees driven by intrinsic motivation are able to undertake work without the need for external input, micromanagement or extrinsic reward.

Self-motivated employees are a strategic asset for your organization. If you want to attract and retain highly productive and high-performing employees, you should focus on intrinsic motivators and nurturing self-motivated employees.

Why is motivation important?

There’s a vast number of benefits to having motivated employees from increased productivity to reduced business costs. By understanding the reasoning behind employees’ behavior and actions, and using those results to motivate them, you can improve business performance. 

According to Gallup, unmotivated employees can cost the U.S. between $450 – 550 billion in lost productivity each year. Therefore, learning how to motivate your employees can be fundamental to reducing your costs. Motivated employees will also be more engaged which will result in higher employee retention, productivity and company sales.

Knowing the importance of motivation in the workplace, here are some of the ways you can help nurture self-motivated employees.

How to nurture self-motivated employees

1) Let them have autonomy over their work

As we know, self-motivated employees are driven by internal factors rather than external rewards. A key way to nurture intrinsically motivated employees is to let them have autonomy over their own work.

Autonomy refers to having ownership or independent choice over your own actions. You can provide your employees with a sense of autonomy by letting them have responsibility over their workload, projects and upcoming tasks. If your employees are doing any company training, you may also want to consider self-led learning to let your self-motivated employees have control over their learning progress. 

In order to provide employees with autonomy over their work and nurture their intrinsic motivation, you should also consider allowing self-motivated employees to be involved in their goal-setting. Gallup found that employees whose managers involved them in goal setting were 3.6x more likely than other employees to be engaged in their work.

Providing employees with autonomy could also make them happier within their jobs and increase productivity. If you don’t already let your self-motivated employees have autonomy over their work, it may be time to hand them the reins and let them take control of their output. 

2) Recognize employee achievements

Although self-motivated employees may not be motivated by external rewards like bonuses, that doesn’t mean their achievements should go unnoticed. In fact, when employers recognize their employees achievements and contributions, engagement levels can increase by 60 percent. 

Recognizing an employee’s contributions to the team can provide them with an incentive to continue working hard to produce high quality results. Recognition has been highlighted as one of the main factors in attracting and maintaining “talent” within an organization.

3) Focus on communication

Communication is potentially one of the most overlooked ways of successfully motivating your work team. Through effective communication, you can nurture self-motivated employees and boost workplace productivity. 

Along with effective communication, it’s also important to have an honest and transparent communication line with your employees. Research suggests that withholding important information from staff could mean the difference between a motivated workforce and an unmotivated one. Whether the news is good or bad, employees will appreciate being kept in the loop as it will help them feel like a valued member of the company. Transparent communication could also improve business performance in terms of focus, engagement, and growing and recruiting talent.

4) Provide opportunities for success and development

As self-motivated individuals are driven by internal and psychological factors, it’s no surprise that offering the opportunity for further professional development can nurture these types of employees. 

Studies have shown that there is a link between self-motivation and professional development. Helping employees feel valued has been shown to have significant effects on their workplace performance. Employees that complete professional training will feel an increased sense of self-worth. This intrinsic motivator is sure to make self-motivated employees feel more engaged within their role and therefore can boost their productivity levels.

Providing employees with training opportunities will also show them that you are a company that cares about their personal development and may positively influence retention rates. A study by LinkedIn found that 94% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their career.

How does your organization nurture self-motivated employees?

Now that you know some key ways to nurture self-motivated employees in order to boost workplace productivity and employee retention rates, take time to consider your own processes. Evaluate whether your company is currently nurturing self-motivated employees and think of new ways to support these employees in performing to the best of their ability.


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7 Reasons employee learning should be a top business priority

Does your organization prioritize employee learning and training? Employee learning has been shown to have links to business performance. A recent study found higher rates of business performance in organizations where employee learning and performance lay at the heart of their human resource and leadership strategy when compared to organizations that did not invest in human resource development or utilize transformational leadership styles.

There are various types of employee learning. The different methods of employee training include:

  • eLearning
  • Orientation and onboarding
  • Instructor-led training
  • Mentorship programs
  • Skill development
  • Lectures
  • Team training, activities and discussions
  • Examinations
  • Case Studies
  • Hands-on training
  • Leadership training
  • Simulation-based training
  • Role-playing

Your organization will likely use a combination of various employee training methods dependent upon your business needs. When developing your employee training program, it’s important to understand the various benefits of employee learning.

By understanding the benefits of employee learning, you will soon learn to understand why employee learning should be a business priority for your company.

1) Increase job satisfaction

One of the most notable benefits of employee learning is its relationship with job satisfaction. Many studies have shown that investing in employee training results in those employees having greater levels of job satisfaction.

Job satisfaction should be recognized as an important component of an employee’s lifecycle and their motivations to remain loyal to their current employer. For example, a study into hotel employees found that employee training was positively related to training satisfaction and job satisfaction. This then had an indirect effect where job satisfaction positively led to intention to stay at their job.

Investing in employee training should, therefore, be a business priority if you want to benefit from having employees who are satisfied within their current role.

2) Maintain and nurture top talent

Developing an employee training program within your organization will also help you to better maintain and nurture top talent. Nurturing your existing employees and helping them to unlock their full potential by providing learning opportunities can turn “average” employees into top performers.

Research has found that internal employee development has a greater organizational benefit than external recruitment. Benefits of nurturing internal talent include improved motivation, lower staff turnover and reduced business costs.

3) Reduce employee turnover

It has been stated that two in three workers have changed jobs due to a lack of learning and development opportunities. Having a high employee turnover can be costly for your business. However, providing employee training can significantly reduce your employee turnover rate.

In order to reduce employee turnover, you should look to provide employee training for new employees as part of their onboarding and as an ongoing process for existing employees. One of the reasons why new employees leave a job within the first six months was due to a lack of training. In this same study it was also found that on-the-job training was one of the requests on a new hires onboarding wishlist.

A report by LinkedIn found that an impressive 94% of employees would stay with their current employer if they invested in employee learning and development. Knowing this, it is evident that employee learning should be considered a business priority if you want to retain employees and minimize the costs associated with having a high employee turnover rate.

4) Gain an advantage over competitors

It could be argued that a company’s greatest asset is its employees. In fact, a research report noted that, in a competitive environment, people make a difference and the quality of an organization’s employees can impact the organization’s productivity, customer service, reputation and survival. Investing in your employees can, therefore, help your organization to get an industry advantage over your competitors.

Rather than hiring new employees, it would be more beneficial to invest in employee training in order to enhance the skills and capabilities of your current employees. This, in turn, will help your business stay at the forefront of your industry.

5) Boost company reputation

The reputation of your company can be integral to its success. Having a strong positive reputation can allow your organization to be perceived as providing high levels of value. This perceived value can enable your business to charge a premium, can increase customer loyalty and can attract better people to your business.

As we know employee learning will improve job satisfaction and performance, it can be said that these factors will, as a result, raise the reputation of your business by showing employees, competitors and customers that you are a company that truly cares about employee experience and business performance.

6) Reduce stagnation

When employees become comfortable in their role they run a risk of complacency. This complacency could turn into demotivation, boredom and eventually underperformance. A workforce study by Gallup found that 55 percent of employees are not engaged at work. This disengagement could stem from a lack of meaningful relationships at work.

There are several ways to combat employee stagnation. One of which is by making employee learning a business priority. Investing in employee learning and development can help stagnated employees to set in-house career goals and objectives to work towards. Thus, helping them to develop a meaningful connection with their work.

7) Improve your bottom line

Ultimately, the purpose of any business is to turn over a profit every year so that you can remain a profitable, successful business for the long term. One way to improve the bottom line of your organization is by prioritizing employee learning.

By improving employee retention rates through training you can avoid company costs associated with hiring and training new employees. Other ways that employee learning can impact your organization’s bottom line is through improved customer service and reduced error frequency. All of which can add up to have a significant positive impact on the profitability of your business.


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Key soft skills to look for when hiring remotely for eCommerce

When scaling up your eCommerce business, there comes a time when you need to consider bringing more people onto the team. From finding the right candidates to understanding what roles to prioritize, building a strong team to support the growth of your eCommerce business can be a difficult feat. Outsourcing common eCommerce roles to a remote team could be the answer to all of your hiring problems.

As an eCommerce company, operating online should be second-nature to you. So, if your online customers can trust you to deliver high-quality products, you should be able to do the same with your team. Building a remote eCommerce team harbors great benefits for you and your company. But first, you need to understand what qualities to look for when hiring the perfect candidate for your team.

In this article, we’ll share with you six common eCommerce roles to hire for your eCommerce business. We’ll also delve into key soft skills to look for when remotely hiring for these common eCommerce job roles.

Virtual Assistant

If you’re looking to hire your first employee, a virtual assistant is often the best role to start with. As an eCommerce business owner, you’re likely spinning lots of plates at once which can lead to job overwhelm. Hiring a virtual assistant can help reduce your responsibilities. This allows you to focus on other key areas of your business while your virtual assistant hands some of the more general duties and administrative tasks.

Key responsibilities of a virtual eCommerce assistant include:

  • Updating your online store products
  • Processing online orders
  • Responding to customer enquiries
  • Managing online promotions
  • Handling your finances
  • Maintaining your website

The key soft skills to look for when hiring a virtual assistant to support your eCommerce business are:

  • Organization
  • Adaptability
  • Attention to detail
  • Communication
  • Customer service
  • Teamwork
  • Time Management

A strong virtual assistant will be highly organized and able to manage their time well, able to adapt to different tasks and have a keen attention to detail. They should also be able to work as part of a wider team and effectively communicate with customers.

Copywriter

The words on your online website can be the difference between your website visitors making a sale and clicking off your website never to return again. Having website copy that connects with your audience, captures their attention and encourages them to make a purchase is vital to creating a successful eCommerce business.

Hiring a talented remote copywriter will ensure that your website features high-quality copy that turns your website visitors into customers. Your remote copywriter can also assist you with e-mail copy for your transactional and marketing emails, and by writing marketing copy for use in both online and offline adverts.

The key soft skills to look for when hiring a remote copywriter to support your eCommerce business are:

  • Storyteller
  • Inquisitive-thinking
  • Innovation
  • Empathy
  • Creativity
  • Organization

A copywriter must be someone who can put themselves into someone else’s shoes and tell a story. They need to be inquisitive and creative; and having an innovative mind will ensure that they write compelling copy. An organized copywriter will also be able to handle their workload and effectively juggle multiple copywriting projects at once.

Marketer

As an eCommerce business owner, you would benefit greatly from hiring a skilled Digital Marketer to manage your eCommerce marketing activity. Marketing is an integral component of any eCommerce business.

From re-engaging visitors with abandoned carts to building brand awareness and ensuring visibility online, optimizing your eCommerce marketing can be a time-consuming process. Hiring a remote marketer can help you do more with your time without worrying about neglecting your marketing efforts.

Some tasks that a remote marketing assistant would be able to assist with include:

  • Create a successful marketing strategy
  • Implement SEO, conversion rate optimization, and user experience actions on your website
  • Keep your social media channels updated
  • Manage your email marketing campaigns
  • Develop influencer relationships
  • Write and distribute press releases
  • Market product launch campaigns

The key soft skills to look for when hiring a remote copywriter to support your eCommerce business are:

  • Organization
  • Curiosity
  • Persuasion
  • Flexibility
  • Creativity
  • Resilience
  • Communication
  • Teamwork

When hiring a marketer for your eCommerce business you will need someone who is highly organized. However, they also need to be creative and flexible as they work on various creative projects and tasks. Marketing is similar to sales and, therefore, a good marketer should be persuasive. Curiosity, resilience and teamwork will enable a marketer to work well with our employees and test various SEO, CRO, and UX frameworks to ensure your company gets the best results from its marketing initiatives.

Financial Manager

Running an eCommerce business involves a lot of financial work. Hiring a finance manager will allow you to keep your company on track to hitting its eCommerce goals. A skilled finance manager will analyze data to develop and execute an online financial strategy for your eCommerce business.

Example tasks that a financial manager may be responsible for in your eCommerce business include:

  • Updating Profit and Loss statements
  • Managing payroll
  • Processing returns
  • Producing financial data reports
  • Developing departmental budgets
  • Conducting financial risk assessment
  • Handling company taxes
  • Sales forecasting

The key soft skills to look for when hiring a financial manager to support your eCommerce business are:

  • Decision making skills
  • Organization
  • Analytical
  • Attention to detail
  • Negotiation
  • Problem solving
  • Dedication

Financial managers need to have strong problem solving and decision making skills as they will be responsible for making crucial financial decisions for your eCommerce business. As their work will require a lot of analyzing data and crunching numbers, they also need to be organized, analytical and attentive. Working in finance will also involve managing business costs and department budgets therefore it’s beneficial for your financial manager to have strong negotiation skills.

Graphic Designer and Photographer

The visuals of your website play an important role in converting visitors into customers. Outsourcing graphic design and photographer work to experienced graphic designers and photographers will ensure that your website stands out for all the right reasons.

You may not need a graphic designer or photographer to work for your business full-time. In this case, outsourcing this work to a remote designer or photographer will be the most cost-effective solution for your eCommerce company.

From product photographs and ad banners to social media graphics, lifestyle imagery and website headers, well thought-out visuals will capture the attention of passersby and encourage them to engage with, and shop from, your business.

The key soft skills to look for when hiring graphic designers and photographers to support your eCommerce business are:

  • Communication
  • Active listening
  • Creativity
  • Time management
  • Persistence
  • Understanding
  • Problem solving

When hiring either graphic designers or photographers, you will want to look for individuals who are good communicators and listeners as they need to be able to take feedback and suggestions on board. They will also need to be creative and good at problem solving so that they can work on creative briefs to develop strong visuals for your brand.

Ads Specialist

By 2022, mobile advertising spending is expected to surpass $280 billion dollars. The world of online advertising is vast. You can advertise your business on search engines such as Google, on marketplaces like Amazon, on social media platforms like Facebook, or on other websites using banner advertising. You can also engage in affiliate advertising to generate sales through affiliate partnerships.

If you are interested in exploring online advertising for your eCommerce business, you should consider hiring an Ads Specialist. An Ads Specialist will be able to generate powerful advertising results for your online business through their expert understanding of various ad platforms, advertising best practices and optimization skills.

You may want to hire different Ads Specialists for each of the platforms you intend to advertise on. This will ensure that you get the best possible results from each of your adverts. However, if you choose to go down this route, make sure that your team of ads specialists communicate with each other to harmonize brand messaging across all ad platforms.

The key soft skills to look for when hiring graphic designers and photographers to support your eCommerce business are:

  • Problem solving
  • Results oriented
  • Communication
  • Persuasion
  • Persistence
  • Analytical
  • Organization
  • Reactive
  • Decision Making

When hiring an ads specialist, you want to hire somebody who is a strong problem solver and confident decision maker. Someone managing ads needs to be able to analyze ad performance and decide what the best next step to take is to ensure success. They will, therefore, also need to be analytical, results oriented and persistent. Being reactive will help them create ad amendments in response to unexpected changes. They will also need to have great communication skills as they will need to liaise with various other members of your marketing such as graphic designers and copywriters.

Focusing on a potential employee’s soft skills, as well as their hard skills, will ensure that you always hire the right person for the role.


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Screening for Distributed Workforces: Traits to Look for in Distance Employees

Organizations are more and more often supporting flex and remote work, with employees who come into office a few days a week or not at all. Globally, some 50% of professionals work out of the office at least two and a half days a week.

These shifts allow for greater flexibility, personal time, and reduces costs for the employee and the company, as well as greater opportunity for safety in light of a global pandemic.

At the same time, allowing or asking employees to work from home means asking them to work in a completely different environment, necessitating different soft skills and different competencies.

If you’re hiring new people in this environment, hiring for remote work should be part of screening. That means looking for traits and competencies that allow people to succeed and thrive in a changing environment.

Importantly, if you’re eventually planning to switch back to full time in-office work, it’s important to screen for that as well.

Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

Emotional intelligence is often recognized as the number one soft skill for leaders. But, it’s also incredibly important for distributed workforces. Emotional intelligence or EQ is a trait best described as awareness and perception of your emotions and those around you, and the ability to regulate your own emotions.

While emotional intelligence is a hugely positive trait in any employee, it becomes more so when employees interact with each other at a distance. Collaboration often requires individuals to empathize with and understand the other. Communicating, sharing, and engaging in a functional way requires that same empathy. And, empathy is harder to establish when you don’t see your colleagues in the office every day.

People with emotional intelligence can gauge coworker’s reactions to a statement, offer useful criticism, and act in ways that benefit their team. Someone who is emotionally intelligent can review their colleague’s emotional states, respond to people in ways that elicit the hoped for responses, and be conscientious of how requests, comments, and actions make others feel.

Self-Driven and Self-Motivating Traits

Self-motivation is a critical trait when employees work in their own spaces, without top down management. Remote work often relies on employees taking initiative, performing work, and doing so without someone constantly checking or managing what and how they are doing it. Self-driven and motivated employees are more likely to get up in the morning, do work, and have free time and a healthy work-life balance, whether or not they have to work traditional hours.

Persons without that motivation are more likely to have uneven schedules, to spend long periods procrastinating starting work, and to only pick up items when they are specifically assigned. Because it’s cheaper and more effective to hand remote employees a goal and to allow them to work on that goal with as little oversight as possible, the former is significantly better.

While it can be difficult to assess for self-driven and self-motivation traits in pre-employment screening, there are many ways to look for those traits. They include screening for elective education and self-improvement, personal hobbies, and similar. They can also include electives added on to the assessment, which employees can choose to take.

Communication Skills

Communication is a quality skill in any environment. It’s more so when people can’t check in with others to quickly see what they are doing, what they are working on, or if they need help. Remote workers need to seamlessly communicate progress, issues, bottlenecks, and offer assistance to their team to make things worse.

This means the candidate:

  • Easily and naturally offers progress updates and is willing to check in
  • Documents their work as a matter of course
  • Is fluent with different communication tools including video chat, chat apps, etc.
  • Can manage and maintain multiple lines of communication
  • Can voice their needs and feedback in ways that are understandable to others

Communication skills are a must-have for most offices. And, as a soft skill, they are difficult to train in. For many, they improve as individuals adjust to work routines and to colleagues. However, anyone in remote work needs a strong foundation in these skills to succeed.

Task and Time Management

Task and time management include a range of skills like prioritization, managing how long they spend on tasks, and appropriately scheduling tasks so that they can be completed on deadline, without stress. This is especially important when people are likely to be either home, in an environment that is likely to have distractions (chores, pets, children, partners), or in public spaces. Without company policy and bosses around to motivate people to finish up and clock out, people need to be able to manage their time and tasks.

  • How well does the candidate prioritize tasks?
  • How well does the candidate manage time, e.g., time per section on an assessment that’s too long to be completed in the available time
  • Is the candidate familiar with using digital planning tools for project management and task management? Are they familiar with the option your team uses?
  • Is the candidate able to sit down and focus on a task to complete it within a reasonable amount of time, without being held accountable?

Time management is difficult to gauge as a skill but you will quickly see large differences between individuals with and without a strong ability to manage their time.

Adaptability

Digital work environments are constantly changing. Employees might be asked to work in-office, in the home, and in changing digital environments. You need people who can quickly move back and forth between different work environments.

You also need people who can function with different levels of autonomy. If people move to an office and are largely autonomous in how and when they work but then are required to move into strict 8-hour days with a team lead guiding their work, they have to be flexible enough to make that shift.

  • Are there differences between face-to-face performance in interviews and virtual interviews?
  • How does the candidate perform in virtual tasks versus in-office ones?
  • Does the candidate exhibit a preference for strict routines and processes?
  • Can the candidate switch between different assessment methods or between different styles of communication fluently?

Many people can be relatively inflexible and still be good at remote jobs. At the same time, they’re less likely to be able to move back and forth between different work environments until both become a routine.

Tech Savvy

Digital work is performed in digital spaces. Remote workers must navigate project management tooling, collaboration tooling, and the tooling where they perform their work. Depending on the role, this might be as simple as Microsoft Office and a suite of project management tools.

Whatever those tools are, your candidate must be able to quickly adapt to and succeed in changing digital environments, even if you change tooling. This means it’s more important to look for candidates who can adapt to new technologies quickly rather than people who are fluent in the specific tools you already use.

Digital and distributed workforces are becoming more common. Many organizations are forced into them as employees demand more flexible working conditions, cheaper labor is available elsewhere, and safety concerns push for remote work opportunities. Whatever the reason, it’s important that you take the needs of a distributed workforce into account when screening for and hiring for those roles.


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5 Ways to utilize a DISC assessment of your employees

Using personality tests during the hiring process has become common practice for many organizations around the world. They’re a great way to assess job candidates, making sure you choose the best fitting candidate for the job. In fact, it’s reported that over 88% of Fortune 500 companies use the MBTI personality assessment in their recruitment process.

But the usage of personality tests shouldn’t stop at the hiring stage. Keeping your employees happy and engaged should be a top priority for your company. By understanding your employees personality traits you can find out what motivates them and learn how to retain top talent.

There are many different ways you can use employee personality tests within your workplace. The DISC personality assessment is a versatile tool for analyzing an employees personality traits, making it an ideal solution for use within your business.

What is the DISC personality assessment?

The DISC personality assessment is the leading personal assessment tool used by over 1 million people every year to improve work productivity, teamwork and communication. Due to it’s easy-to-use and widely applicable format, the DISC personality test is a popular choice for employee assessments.

The DISC personality profile measures an individual’s behavior patterns by assessing their tendencies and preferences. The results from the DISC profile can then be used to determine how that individual may behave in various situations.

The DISC personality assessment measures four key personality facets: dominance, influence, steadiness and conscientiousness. By understanding these different personality facets and how each of your employees fit into the DISC personality profile, you can unlock the full potential of your employees.

5 Ways to use DISC assessments of your employees

1) Use DISC for employee hiring and promotion processes

The DISC assessment is all about people and relationships: how they interact with one another, work together, lead people and sell to customers. Although the DISC profile is not recommended for use during pre-employment screening, it can be used to optimize your hiring and onboarding processes.

The hiring process can be unfair and biased. When hiring for a job vacancy, hiring managers will often suffer from unconscious biases, including biases that make them more drawn to candidates that are similar to themselves. You can overcome this personal bias by understanding your own DISC style.

If, as the hiring manager, you know your own DISC personality style then you will be able to identify when you might have a bias towards someone of the same style or a bias against someone of the opposing style.

By using DISC to understand your existing team, you can also ask questions that will determine how the job applicant would fit into the existing team structure, or to determine how they may interact with others on the team.

2) Use DISC personality profiles to tailor communication

Within your organization, you can also use the DISC personality assessment to tailor your communication with different employees. By developing an understanding of your DISC style and your team members DISC style, you can adapt your communication method to improve communications within your team. As a result, your team will feel valued. Employees who feel valued at work have been reported to perform better in their roles.

If one of your team members has a high Dominance personality type according to their DISC profile, being direct and concise may be the most effective communication style. Meanwhile, an employee with a high Influence score may prefer personable and conversational communication.

Different communication styles work for different people. If you understand your and your team’s personality type, you can improve communication within your company team by informing your team what communication style works best for you and adapting your communication style to suit what works best for them.

3) Improve team productivity and efficiency with DISC

Team productivity and efficiency is imperative for the success of your workplace teams. By understanding the DISC profiles of each individual team member, you can help your team to achieve better results for your business.

Grouping people with different temperaments together could cause issues in your team dynamic, which in turn could impact the work produced by that team. Using the DISC personality assessment will enable you to prevent misunderstandings, miscommunication and personality clashes within your team.

As you understand each team member’s personality and working style, you will be able to determine how well they will work with other team members.

The DISC assessment will also enable you to identify team members that may have clashing personality styles. You will then be able to advise these employees on the best method for working together as a team.

The DISC profile can also be useful when implementing a team structure. Although DISC cannot be used to select leaders, you could use it to find the most effective leadership development and training for your team leaders. The Everything DISC profile for leaders is an effective tool for helping leaders to understand their own leadership behaviors and how they impact the success of their department or team.

4) Use the DISC personality test for employee development

Employees value personal development in the workplace. According to the LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report, 94% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their learning.

You can use the DISC personality assessment to further your employees’ personal and professional development. The DISC personality test can be used to help employees’ understand themselves and their own personality profile. Once they understand their personality style, you can then help them learn strategies to improve their workplace interactions and performance.

5) Motivate employees based on their DISC profile

Employee engagement should be a priority for your organization. Companies whose employees are truly motivated and engaged in their role are the most likely to succeed. There are more ways to motivate employees than simply through monetary rewards. By understanding each of your employee’s DISC styles, you can customize your motivation processes to help increase employee engagement and job satisfaction levels.

You can use the DISC personality profile to learn the dominant personality traits of your employees. Once you know their dominant trait, you will be able to customize your motivation processes to tap into their specific strengths.

For instance, employees with a dominant Conscientious personality style will be eager to maintain quality and accuracy in their work. Therefore, it may be beneficial to set them goals that they want to achieve based on their personality type.

Employees with a high Influence score may be more likely to be motivated by social recognition, group activities and relationships. These employees, therefore, may react positively to receiving recognition and praise, or being chosen to organize a social event for other team members.

No one motivation campaign will work for all of your employees. That’s why it can be beneficial to develop a deeper understanding of your employees and run motivation campaigns that suit each of the different personality styles identified by the DISC personality profile.

To summarize, the DISC personality assessment can help you nurture your employees and workplace teams, further their development and increase their performance levels. By developing an understanding of your employees personality styles, you will be able to optimize your workplace in numerous ways.


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How to Build a Skills Framework for Your Organization

A skills framework comprises a matrix, mapping skill to roles and tasks inside your organization. Depending on your needs, the skills framework can be a standalone framework or part of a larger, competency framework. In either case, it represents a valuable asset that can guide your organization’s hiring, recruitment, and internal development strategy.

Building one is well worth the investment for most organizations, but if you’re going to do it, it’s important to take the time to do it well. Finally, any skills framework must map to the organization it’s for. While you can purchase a skills framework, you’d want to customize it to your organization’s needs and specific roles.

Defining skills needed across your organization allows you to hire and train for those skills, measure those skills, and determine which other competencies contribute to success in a role.

Start with a Standardized Framework

Most organizations will require the same basic skills or competencies as other organizations. Even if you require fairly heavy customization, buying a standardized framework will likely considerably reduce strain on budget. Most competency frameworks include skills frameworks and role mapping as a matter of course. You can also choose a skills-only framework that simply maps skills to roles, giving HR a good idea of what they need and what hiring managers across their industry are looking for.

Once you have a framework, it’s important to customize it, to make adjustments to your organization’s specific roles, and to ensure that the framework is integrated into performance management, hiring, and training. Popular frameworks include SFIA, OECD, IAEA, and others. In most cases, it’s a good idea to go over options with your talent or assessment provider to ensure you have a good fit.

Measure Work and What is Performed

Chances are, your organization already conducts yearly or even quarterly performance reviews. In this case, you already collect the data you need to see who is doing work and where. Here, it’s important to look at actual production and output, as well as total team performance in terms of creativity, collaboration, etc.

If you don’t have performance review in place or only collect limited data, you likely have to start out by talking to team leads and managers to collect this data.

  • Identify key performers in each role
  • Identify the lowest performers

This step is more important if you’re working towards a competency framework but is valuable for skills as well. A simple DiSC performance analysis can help you fill gaps if you don’t have work data on hand.

Conduct Interviews Across Your Organization

The easiest way to see what people need to perform work is to ask them. For most organizations, this means:

  1. Grouping roles into types
  2. Identifying specific roles across the organization
  3. Prioritizing roles (where do you start, why) (some roles will serve as bases for others, some should be finished sooner for hiring purposes, etc.)

In most cases, the more people you interview for each role, the better your eventual framework will be. Different people see their roles in different lights, use different words to explain their role, and may even take on more aspects of a role than another person.

  • What skills does the person use in their daily work?
  • Which do they use occasionally?
  • How do they rank those skills?
  • How do managers and team leads rank those skills

You can also sit down with a team to discuss roles, including what they see as the most important aspects and skills for that role. Group perspectives can be just as valuable as input from the person actually doing the role, because you learn what others rely on that person to do and why.

You also want to look at:

  • What skills (if any) do people in roles think are missing?
  • What skills do people in leadership think are missing?
  • Are skills in place to meet changing role requirements? Even if those haven’t happened yet?
  • Are roles changing and if so, how much? What input do the people in those roles have?

Eventually you’ll end up with a general list of skills for the role, which you can prioritize based on importance. Prioritization allows you to improve using skills for hiring, because you know what’s necessary and what’s nice to have.

Map Skills to Productivity and Performance

It’s important to pay attention to people who perform well in performance reviews. It’s also important to interview people who perform badly. Why? It allows you to map out skills based on performance so you can see if skills gaps contribute towards performance gaps. In many cases, performance gaps will relate to stress, mental health, and competencies. It’s important to take all these factors into account.

  • What skills, or soft skills, are present in high performers that aren’t present in low performers?
  • What skills gaps exist in the company? Does this relate to performance?

Mapping skills to productivity and performance will help you to determine which skills are important, which aren’t important for the role, and which actively impede performance when they aren’t there.

Here, it’s very helpful to look at people who have been with the organization for a long time who might be in roles that have evolved over time and who might not have the skills needed for the role. You also want to look at people who might have been hired on without necessary skills who either learned (or didn’t) those skills while on the job.

This kind of research will give you a very clear picture of what is impactful on hiring, what needs to be taught to improve performance, and what your strategy should be.

Create Processes to Maintain Your Framework

Once you’ve created your framework, it’s important to establish processes to ensure ongoing maintenance and validation. Chances are, you’re hiring an external team to come in, handle interviews, create a framework, and customize results to your organization. It’s largely not feasible to do so internally, unless HR suddenly has a large amount of free time or you’re willing to bring in freelancers.

In either case, you’ll have to either establish an ongoing relationship with those teams to update work as your organization and technology changes or implement internal processes to ensure that work maintenance is ongoing.

  • Who is responsible for maintaining and updating roles and skills?
  • How does HR find out when technology used in teams changes? E.g., if the organization moves from Ruby on Rails to Python, job descriptions have to change with it.
  • How does HR validate skills? Can skills be mapped to performance during reviews? Can progress be mapped to validate teaching new recruits and existing employees’ skills?
  • Are programs in place to close skills gaps?

If you don’t have internal processes to maintain and validate your skills framework, it will quickly lose value. Most organizations change fairly rapidly with new tools, new roles, and new teams regularly introducing change. HR must be able to keep track, update the skills framework as needs change, and continue to hire for and train for the skills actually needed by the organization.


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The Top 10 Transferable Skills to Look for in Your Next Candidate

Transferable skills are something of a hype, but they can help new hires to navigate roles, to move between roles seamlessly, and to adapt as the organization changes.

Today’s digital organizations are dynamic, constantly changing, and often reorganizing. Not only are roles quickly made and then removed within a decade, but employees are asked to fit versatile roles inside organizations.

Communications teams are often no longer made up of a graphic designer, writer, and editor, but rather three people who do all three equally well, with a bit of specialization in one or the other.

This shift changes how people work. It also changes what they need to succeed in a role. 30 years ago, when most “standardized” job requirements were set, employees were still planning to work 40 years and retire with the gold watch from a single company.

Today, most organizations expect people to stay for shorter periods where individuals will move on or be asked to leave as technology, roles, and department change or the company asks new things that old people cannot provide.

The workaround, is, of course, to hire people who can make those changes with the company, taking on education and adapting to new technologies and new job roles. As long as the qualifications remain the same, the only thing your employees need are a core set of soft skills they can transfer between roles.

Communication

Communication is the most common requested skill on job posts. It helps teams work together, it ensures good listening and speaking skills, and it means people understand conflict resolution. Nearly everyone will say they’re good at communication on their resume. The thing is, most people have no real idea of what good communication is.

Communication is a vague idea encompassing a broad scope of soft skills, all of which are equally as important. You can ask for communication, but it’s important to test and assess for applicable skills. These include emotional intelligence, conflict resolution, verbal communication, and written communication.

Your organization will likely prioritize different aspects of communication depending on work methods, team size, hierarchy, and where people work. Therefore, it’s important to make your own list and assess based on your organization’s long-term needs.

Technological Literacy

It’s easy to look for someone who is certified in one technology or another. But tooling changes. Just because someone is competent at the tools you use now doesn’t mean they will be when you change to a different framework in 3 or 6 years.

Instead, you should look for people who can easily adapt to and learn new technology. This is relatively easy to look for because a) the person exhibits willingness to utilize new tooling as part of an interview, b) already lists multiple tools and types of tools on their resume, c) adapts to and navigates new digital interfaces (such as your digital assessment portal) with relative ease.

Individuals who can confidently approach and learn new software and digital tools will long-term be more cost-effective and more effective inside your organization. This is important whether you’re already planning to switch tooling, think your operating system might upgrade during their tenure, or think your role will change and might require adding on new tools and tasks.

Teamwork

Teamwork is another standard job requirement, and is, again, difficult to test for. Most hiring managers rely on asking about previous experience in teams. Yet, for many teams, teamwork should be about interaction, collaboration, making friends, and connecting with new people.

This is especially important in small, mobile teams, where people frequently have to collaborate with people outside their team, to engage and get to know others quickly, and to move between teams easily. Open office days, where candidates come into the office and you can see how they perform and work in new environments is one great way to test this.

Sharing Feedback

Criticism and feedback are difficult but crucial elements of navigating change, moving between teams, and learning and adapting to new things. Teams should be able to steer the direction of technology and the company by providing insight, feedback, and criticism. This also applies to a one-on-one level, where people need to be able to share feedback in constructive ways in order to build relationships and work together.

Why is this important for navigating change? People need to be able to move into new things critically and with an eye for improvement, rather than simply taking on any new thing. This extends to people, tools, technology, and business products.

Leadership

Not everyone needs to be a creative, thought, or people leader. But most people should exhibit leadership in some way. Leadership, in the sense of being able to connect to and drive or motivate people is one of the most valuable skills in any organization. Many people reflect it in vastly different ways.

For example, some are good at strategy and numerical thinking, others are good at empathy and have a high emotional intelligence, and others are good at getting people onboard to new projects.

Actual team leads need to be good at all of them, but most people should exhibit some of these traits. Why? It helps them to be effective and productive in teams, even when moving between teams, changing roles, and working on their own. It means they can take charge of some aspect of their work and be responsible for it with little to no accountability and they can pass that on to others.

Time and Project Management

Time and project management are must-haves for most modern roles. Top-down management is fading into the past and people are more-often required to be accountable for what they do when and how. This means looking for people who know how to prioritize, who can organize projects, and who can properly manage their time to achieve the things they want in a day.

Good time and project management means that someone will be good at those skills, even when the job they are doing completely changes.

Personal Drive/ Motivation

Personal drive and motivation are essential for navigating changing roles. Someone who goes on autopilot and does the bare minimum every day is going to flounder when change takes place. That person will never actively learn the things they need to succeed in a dynamic work environment. And, they’ll adapt more slowly than motivated colleagues.

Personal drive and motivation usually show up in enthusiasm for the role and work completed, a history of personal development, willingness or eagerness to learn new skills, and someone who sees a new role as an adventure with a new company.

Commercial Awareness

While no employee has to have an in-depth knowledge of their industry, it’s extremely positive if they do. If your employee is moving into a new industry, it’s also difficult to expect them to have more than a basic knowledge of the industry.

However, they should have some knowledge of your company and what they do. People who aren’t interested enough to perform basic research will never be interested enough to follow the industry, to follow changes and trends, or to adapt to those changes and trends as they happen.

Commercial awareness is a positive thing in most roles, because it means the candidate can actively suggest and participate in the change that keeps the company alive.

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking, or the ability to analyze concepts and ideas (typically against a standard of quality or rationality), helps employees in most roles. It can help individuals in changing roles because it means they can approach new things and new ideas critically and rationally.

So, when your candidate is shifted into a new team because the one he was onboarded to is downsizing, the new team can hand him an idea and he examines it and learns to understand it.

Critical thinking is a broad term that can be broken into concepts like analysis, asking questions, understanding new concepts, etc. You should define what it means to your organization when prioritizing testing for it in assessments.

Adaptability

How well does your candidate function without routines? How well do they function moving from one tool to another? Can they adapt to new technology, new people, new work methods, new workspaces, quickly? Some people cannot.

While these people won’t necessarily be bad for a role, you wouldn’t want to put them in a small team designed to tackle a 6-month project before dissolving and forming a new team to tackle another project. Adaptability is key to moving with digital changes.

Your organization’s needs, rate of change, and industry will determine how important employee adaptability is. This means transferable skills might be very important in the context of transferability or not at all important.

It’s crucial to assess internal needs and to create a matrix or other prioritization method before hiring. At the same time, many of these skills are transferable because they are, at least partially, learned through experience and training. If people have potential, they can develop those skills.

Once you have someone with these highly transferable skills, you have someone who can easily move to a new role inside your organization when theirs goes away, who can adapt to new tools and new people, and who can succeed in whatever environment they end up in.


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How Team Dynamics Change When You Don’t See Each Other Every Day

Organizations have resisted digitization and the move to flex and remote work for years. Many claim the need for personal contact for collaboration and teamwork. IBM is a clear example, with its 2017 reversal of a flex work policy, citing that employees needed to see each other to collaborate effectively. Others have embraced that change and adopted flex work policies as quickly as those options became available. Organizations like Google, Dell, Humana, and Sodexo all offer flex work. Today, most office-based organizations are forced into it in one way or another. Adapting to that change can be challenging, especially as you begin to notice changes in teams and dynamics.

Flex and remote work can be hugely beneficial to many companies. In fact, Dell reports saving over $34 million in costs since implementing flex work in 2014. Flex and remote work have noticeable and measurable benefits for businesses and their employees. People get more free time, spend less time on commute, and are better able to manage their home and work life together. Organizations see happier, more loyal, and often more productive employees. But, what happens to teams when they don’t see each other every day? And how can you work to improve team dynamics when most employees see each other a few times a week at most?

Distance Creates Isolation

Teams shifting away from working together in a single room and towards working from home face severe challenges with isolation. Here, the largest fear is that teams stop collaborating and talking to each other and instead shift to performing top-down tasks handed to them by managers. Without proper communication tooling in place, this is a valid concern. People need to see each other to communicate and collaborate.

If teams are working from home every day of the week, it’s important to establish standardized lines of communication. Most can benefit from tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams, with individual channels for teams to share and talk to each other. Others may want to use a less traditional approach with Discord or another voice-chat tool, so teams can join in on group calls and literally talk to each other “across the table” like they would when working normally.

Here, cloud tooling is also essential. Teams working together in the same documents, apps, and cloud folders see what the other is doing, can collaborate, and can engage. That’s a far cry from the lone developer coding in his office by himself used as the common picture of the remote worker.

Personal Differences are Less Important

Teams working together in person are much more likely to experience clashes related to personality and ethos. It’s harder to dislike the person who never shuts up in the morning when you’re getting coffee if he’s not there. This can, to some extent, improve how your teams work together.

At the same time, it becomes more important to ensure that teams have the opportunities to build and foster the trust and interdependency required to create strong teams. Some organizations rely on team building exercises to solve these issues. Others allow time and working together on large projects to foster these relationships. And, if teams are moving to remote work from working together in-office, the problem won’t be building trust but maintaining routines and communication.

Problematic Dynamics Become More Evident

Many teams face major issues relating to team dynamics. Leaders want too much control. Everyone wants top down leadership. Everyone follows group consensus. A few people don’t get along. Fostering good leadership and building balanced teams becomes even more critical when those teams lose the ability to collaborate in person.

Solving these issues may require restructuring your teams into smaller, more balanced units. A team analysis report can help you identify issues and move forward. It’s also important to look at leadership methods and their suitability for transitioning to flex work. Remote leaders need high levels of emotional intelligence, flexibility, and ability to delegate not just tasks, but goals.

Teamwork Relies on Standardized Processes, Not Hierarchy

Remote teams are completely reliant on their ability to adopt standardized processes across the team. Flex and remote work teams cannot rely on top down commands from a single team lead because that person may not be available when work is being completed and therefore becomes a bottleneck.

Instead, it’s critical to introduce processes for communication, collaboration, work creation, and work submission. This might mean shifting work to outcome roadmaps rather than feature roadmaps, introducing agile work methods, and organizing all work in a single tool. You need oversight, accountability, and group collaboration to prevent one person from becoming a bottleneck.

  • Where, how, and when does communication happen?  Designate a tool for communication and set times when it’s okay/not okay to message others.
  • How is work done? Does the entire team have a single process? Are processes integrated into tooling?
  • How do teams collaborate? What measures are in place to ensure people are talking and sharing ideas?
  • How is work kept visible across the team? Is everyone working in the cloud?
  • How are work goals and objectives set? Is responsibility and accountability defined?
  • Who’s responsible for each step of work? Are there bottlenecks? Is some work not assigned?

This normally means delivering training, new tooling, and group introductions to standardized processes when switching to remote work. In one 2017 study by Deloitte, only 47% of remote workers surveyed claimed they’d received any sort of training. Yet, 53% of people who did receive training for remote work suggest they’ve actually improved communication and innovation.

What can you do? Implement training sessions for new tools as a baseline. It’s also important for team leads or managers to implement positive feedback. Data shows that teams given several sessions of positive feedback, where they are asked to discuss positive outcomes of their team, new working conditions, and work completed, show increases in positivity, trust, and collaboration.

Setting up weekly sessions to discuss how remote or flex work went, focusing on praise and positive aspects of doing so, and setting positive goals for the next week can be an important part of establishing and reinforcing flex work as a means of improving work.

Remote Work Can Actually Improve Collaboration and Productivity

While modern office trends have pushed towards working together and large, open, creative spaces, these can actually hurt team collaboration and creativity. One study by Harvard shows that open offices decrease focus, overexpose individuals to the people they’re working with, and create feelings of a need for privacy and the ability to work alone.

Giving people time to themselves, such as when working in a remote or home office, reverses this trend. When people do see each other, either over a video call or in person, they’ll be much less over exposed and much more able to work together.

Dell, following a 6-year experiment with flex work, says that 80% of their employees believe they’re actually more productive when they work from home for some or all of the week.

Eventually, remote work can be beneficial for everyone involved. While it forces organizations to create structure with processes, flex work allows employees to take more control over their personal lives and their work. Remote work does require building teams that work together, follow strict processes, and maintain regular communication. However, it also offers freedom, reduced commute, and better work-life balance for many.


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