Outsourcing can save you a lot of time, energy, and money.
However, you need to prepare for it in advance, because trying to build a remote workforce without preparation will only lead to failure.
This is especially true for startups where a fast-paced work environment means that everyone needs to be at the top of their game at all times.
So how can you make sure that your company is ready to bring on remote staff?
Here are the five steps that you should follow…
#1 Get the Right Tools
You need to have the right set of tools if you want to effectively manage a remote team:
- You may want to consider getting everyone company email accounts so that work-related messages wouldn’t get lost among all the other stuff that’s coming into their inboxes. Google Workspace is a popular option. There are also privacy-focused alternatives such as Fastmail and Protonmail.
- You want your team to have a place where they can communicate in real-time without needing to call each other. Slack is the go-to solution here.
- Audio and video calls. You will probably want to talk to your team regularly. Skype is an obvious free option here. It’s also worth considering Zoom, which is more suited to business needs.
- Project management. It can be challenging to keep track of who is doing what and to make sure that everyone is on the same page. That’s why trustworthy project management software like Basecamp, Asana, or Trello is an absolute must for remote teams.
- You need to make sure that the team can collaborate on projects in real-time without endless back-and-forth emails. For example, if you need to produce content, then use something like Google Docs for editing, comments, etc.
Don’t underestimate the time it takes to figure out your ideal setup for managing a remote team.
You have to research various solutions, decide which of them fit your company needs best, then configure each one of them, etc.
Believe me, you want to sort this out beforehand, not on-the-fly after you have already hired people.
#2 Create Standard Operating Procedures
Standard Operating Procedures, also known as SOPs, are checklists for repeatable tasks that ensure that those tasks are performed correctly every time.
You should create an SOP for each task that you want to outsource. This is especially important if you are hiring people that you intend to train up.
Take a task, go through it, and write down each step.
Then turn these steps into a checklist that the person responsible for that task will need to follow. This will drastically reduce the number of mistakes your employees make.
You can create SOPs in a text document or you can use tools like Trainual.
#3 Create a Clear Job Description and KPIs for Each Role
You want to reduce ambiguity as much as possible.
Make sure that each role is clearly defined and that it has specific KPIs associated with it.
This will make it easy to evaluate everyone’s performance. Did they hit their KPIs or not?
Remember, the clearer your expectations, the less room for misunderstandings.
#4 Create a Hiring Process
Everyone wants to work remotely.
This means that you can expect to get a ton of applications for any job opening that you advertise.
Here are a few tips on how to reduce the number and increase the quality of the applications you get:
- Advertise on the right job boards. ProBlogger Job Board is great for finding writers, editors, and content managers. RemoteOK works best for technical roles. Dynamite Jobs work well for all remote positions.
- Be clear about the qualifications that you are looking for. Is it an entry-level role? Do you want someone more experienced? Maybe even an expert? Be upfront.
- Be clear about what the pay and perks you offer. You will get applicants from all over the world, so their compensation expectations may vary wildly. Letting people know what your budget is will help them make an informed decision about whether to apply or not.
- Ask applicants to use a random subject line, for example, “I Love Strawberries”. This will let you know immediately who has read the entire job description and who hasn’t. Someone who can’t be bothered to read the whole thing is probably not the best match for your company.
- Ask applicants to submit a video “cover letter” telling you why you should hire them. They can make it 3 minutes long, film it with their phone, put it on YouTube as an unlisted video, and send the link to you. Make it clear that production quality doesn’t matter. You may miss out on some great but camera-shy people, though.
You will probably still get a lot of applications, so schedule plenty of time for going through them.
Also, think about your hiring process:
- Will you have one interview? Two interviews? Three?
- Will you ask candidates to do a paid test task?
- Will you hire for a 3-month trial period at first?
Try to work all this out in advance as much as possible.
Also, consider using Calendly for scheduling calls, this will save you a lot of time on back-and-forth emails.
#5 Create an Onboarding Process
Whenever you hire someone, you need to provide them with training.
You can use software like Trainual to create an onboarding video series where you explain everything they need to know to succeed in their role.
You should also schedule a weekly one-on-one video call with them to discuss how they are settling in, what is going well, what they are struggling with, etc.
It makes sense to continue these calls after the onboarding period as well just to make sure that everyone has the support they need.
You shouldn’t rush when it comes to outsourcing.
Make sure that you have everything in place before you post that job ad.
Yes, it’s a lot of work, but it’s work that needs to be done anyway, so it’s best to do it in advance.
Believe me, you will be glad you did.