Planning Your Virtual Business: Hiring and Managing a Remote Team

By Steven D. Peterson, Peter E. Jaret, Barbara Findlay Schenck

You need to include your remote team as part of your business plan. At the heart of the virtual business model is a radical new relationship with employees. Instead of punching a clock or showing up at the office, employees work remotely, often when they want to, and their only contact with management may be via phone, email, videocall and groupchat apps, or other project management and digital technologies.

The freedom and flexibility is a strong draw for many employees and can make it easy to tap top talent. But it also requires team members with the right temperament and talents.

The best people for a virtual company organization are

  • Self-motivated
  • Well-organized
  • Good communicators
  • Flexible about their working schedules
  • Sold on the benefits of working virtually
  • Comfortable with evolving technologies
  • Willing to buy into the culture, mission, and goals of the business

Many virtual companies conduct the hiring process virtually, evaluating and interviewing applicants without ever having a face-to-face conversation. Traditional HR folks might see that as a disadvantage. But if prospective employees will be working remotely, it can actually be an advantage to interact with them during the hiring process in the same way you’ll work with them — by email, videocall, chat rooms, and whatever other technologies you employ.

Because employees in a virtual company work more independently than traditional employees, having a solid and detailed job description for each position is critically important. With a comprehensive job description in place, the job candidate will be clear about expectations. Having a detailed job description also provides the basis for reviewing an employee’s performance.