Building remote teams are something that most managers are having to get used to more and more with the state of the world. However, for me managing, hiring, and building remote teams has been my daily life for the past 5 plus years. The reality is that building a remote team is different from an in person team. If you are a manager or want to be a manager in 2021 and beyond you must have the skills to do it remotely. It doesn’t matter if you manage consultants, marketers, developers, or designers; you have to build up these skills.
In this step by step guide for how to hire and build remote teams I am going to cover:
- The ‘A’ players approach.
- Finding ‘A’ players.
- Attracting and hiring ‘A’ players.
- “Managing” these ‘A’ players.
By the end of this guide you will have a much better understanding of what it actually takes to build a remote team from someone who has ACTUALLY done it and is still doing it on a day to day basis.
Let’s dive in…
How to Hire and Build Remote Teams
Throughout this guide I am going to focus on the 4 major steps to building remote teams. Of course there are a lot of nuances when it comes to building and managing remote teams. But for this guide I am going to hone in on what actually makes the biggest impact.
What is an ‘A’ Player?
You want to save yourself a world of hurt? Hire A+ Players right out of the gate. Noah Kagen uses the phrase, “Hire adults and get the fuck out there way.” This is by far the most effective way to build effective remote teams. If you don’t have the right people on the team you will constantly be fighting an uphill battle. Trust is a vital part when it comes to having a remote team that is working in their “home offices”, wearing pajamas, and a screaming baby in the background. This is a different world to work in which means you have to have seriously sharp and committed people to make it work.
Hiring A Players is actually simpler remotely because you can choose from anyone, anywhere in the world. You aren’t limited to just the people in your immediate family city. Here is a quick bulleted list of what A Players have:
- Track record of RESULTS, not a fancy resume.
- Have a hunger and are committed to growing in their own lives personally and professionally.
- Aren’t afraid to tell you (the manager) you’re wrong.
- Have owned or desire to start their own business. (my favorite)
These are the major traits that I look for and are what define an ‘A’ player in my experience.
How to Find ‘A’ Players
These so called ‘A’ players are ALL over the place. You just have to know where to look. A simple rule of thumb is this. If they are submitting a resume through a job ad and the traditional channels, chances are they aren’t an ‘A’ player.
Let’s break this down. If someone has the traits listed above they are NOT scouring job boards trying to find any company who will pay their bills. In fact, they probably don’t even have a resume worth looking at. They aren’t going to always have the fancy degree or the perfect internship.
Take myself for example, my resume is a total disaster.
- No college degree.
- A failed business.
- Zero fancy internships.
- Spent a lot of time travelling and consulting for various companies. So no 5 year track record with one company.
Starting to see my point?
But here is what I actually have.
- Proven track record of real world results.
- Dozens of clients and coworkers who will praise my work.
- A hunger to grow personally and professionally.
- Entrepreneurial (the most important one from experience)
These last 4 traits are just the tip of the iceberg, but are already far more valuable than having some squeaky clean resume.
You find these people specifically through 3 these ways:
- Your own personal and professional network.
- This way works the best, but it can take time to build this and have a network full of ‘A’ players.
- Through their actual results.
- For example, if they are a marketer, find successful campaigns that impress you and reach out to them.
- Customers of your business.
- If you want someone who truly believes in and understands your business hire from the customer base. This is where you will find raving fans and true ‘A’ players that will do whatever it takes for the business to grow. (This person isn’t on Ziprecruiter…)
These are the 3 bulletproof ways that I have successfully used to find ‘A’ players in any industry.
How to Attract ‘A’ Players
Now that you know where to find them you have to attract them. This is the part of the process that trips most people up. If you want ‘A’ players you have to be an A+ company across the board. You have to have a top tier product, a mission worth fighting for, a company of people all bought in on that mission, and leaders who lead by example. I could go on for days about what attracts ‘A’ players but here are the 3 things that matter the most.
- True ‘A’ players do NOT want to be managed. They want to be led by a leader.
- They won’t tolerate being bossed around. They know their worth and want to be treated accordingly.
- Give them opportunity, not just a check.
- Growth is more important than the highest possible salary. Salaries are a race to the bottom. ‘A’ players perform best with skin in the game and real ownership.
- Your culture must be built on trust and respect.
- Not a single ‘A’ player will tolerate not being trusted or respected. Only people with low self value will tolerate these two things. These people have options and they know it.
Remembering these 3 rules above will instantly attract the ‘A’ players your business needs.
How to “Manage” ‘A’ Players
Hint: You can’t manage true ‘A’ players. Remember they are adults that manage themselves. I know this might be a shocker to some of your managers out there having to deal with spoiled 22 year olds fresh out of college.
You have to let them do their jobs on their terms. All they need from you as the manager is your respect and trust. I know A LOT of business owners who hired ‘A’ players and pretty much let them run the business. Wanna take a guess at how those businesses are doing? They are all wildly successful because they have the right people on the bus.
There aren’t even any steps to managing them because if you follow the steps outlined above you will find the ‘A’ player unicorns for your business.
Some Things to Remember When Hiring ‘A’ Players
What if they take my job?
This almost never happens. The ‘A’ player has respect for the person who hires them. They live in a world of abundance.
I can’t afford to pay them.
Yes, you can. They are worth it 100% of the time. Either find the money or realize that ‘A’ players want to have skin in the game. Most of them are open to revenue and/or profit sharing as well as a commission structure.
How do I train them?
Seriously? You don’t need to train them, that’s the beauty. In fact, they will most likely end up training you in their area of expertise.
The process of identifying, finding, attracting, and keeping ‘A’ players can make or break your business. Every manager knows the importance of having team members who are committed to one another and the company itself. Following the steps outlined above you will have a massive leg up on other managers who don’t have the slightest clue for how to hire ‘A’ players remotely.