Part Two: Wrap the Love Around the Metrics
Building a virtual workforce that works isn’t easy, but it’s well worth it. At Decision Toolbox (DT) we’ve been virtual for years and I’ve been sharing what’s worked and what hasn’t. In Part One I wrote that the first step is to establish and track metrics. The next step needs to come right on the heels of metrics: culture. That’s the topic here in Part Two, continued in Part Three.
You don’t build culture like an office or implement it like a new accounting system. Think of it as a plant, a vine that grows and changes all the time. You need to tend it, water it, prune it, and (yes) fertilize it. It requires as much attention as any other aspect of your business. Here are some suggestions for creating and nurturing virtual culture.
- Hire for entrepreneurial passion
Virtual isn’t for everybody. Some people flourish in structured environments, some people crave the face-to-face interaction, some people do their best work when they know someone is watching them. And there always will be sticks-and-bricks businesses.
But if you plan to go virtual, start by hiring professionals who have an entrepreneurial spirit and passion for excellence. Self-discipline is essential, but it has to be motivated. You can see passion on résumés in the form of awards, advanced degrees and leadership roles. If a team member fits this profile, I don’t care how many hours they work — I know they’re getting the job done. DT’s Director of Recruitment Quality, Kathy Marshall, wrote a whole blog series on the topic of passion and excellence.
Mission statement . . . or rallying cry?
A few years back, when we were much smaller, the team got together to draft a mission statement. Well, it turned out to be more of a rallying cry: “We are a team of kick-ass bitchin’ recruiters who boldly go where no recruiter has gone before.” You get the idea: get everyone focused on the common goals and make sure they are passionate about pursuing those goals.
In case you’re still wondering why culture is such a big deal, this is a key reason: it helps you attract and retain the best talent. You’re getting the results you need from your team, and your team has the flexibility to go to the gym at 11 AM, volunteer at their child’s school, get a load of laundry done . . . whatever they need to maintain life balance.
- Get everyone on board
A lot of people think vision and mission are about WHAT a company does. At DT we believe it is all about WHY a company does what they do. If it’s about the why, it’s more likely to become infused into your culture. For example, at DT we strive to be experts and innovators in recruitment because recruiting is important — it has an impact on companies and on candidates and their families. As DT Founder Jay Barnett says, “Recruitment is too important not to do it well.”
But it has to be more than a poster on the wall. You have to tend culture like a garden. And in a virtual world a lot of the watering is digital, so you need to be creative. Whenever anyone at DT brings in a new project or secures a hire, we send out “Green Flag” emails. Why we call them that is a long story, but everyone at DT knows that “Green Flag” means a teammate has scored a success. We also send out best practices emails to acknowledge top performance. The Kudos column in our weekly email newsletter features shout outs submitted by one team member about another.
Next up, I’ll cover two more aspects of culture: making sure no one is an island, and measuring it (yes, you can measure culture!).
Editor’s Note: This Article was co-authored by Tom Brennan, Senior Writer (DecisionToolbox).
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