The Top Four Habits of a Highly Effective Virtual Team
Building a highly effective virtual team is no easy task, there are many challenges faced along the way. Just as it is not easy to build a highly effective team in the office. However, there are some unique opportunities that can promote high productivity and cohesion.
Latin America and Virtual Teams
2020 has undoubtedly been one of the most revolutionary years in the world. And despite the great challenges it brought, we have also seen many opportunities. Especially for entrepreneurs in the US and professionals in Latin America.
There are many businesses that did not have the resources to survive the pandemic. Others saw opportunities for business and growth. These were obviously related to digitalization in business.
For this reason, among others, entrepreneurs in the U.S. have been able to use professionals in Latin America to create incredible work teams.
The BPO industry has been growing in Latin America for more than a decade, and the pandemic has brought out the best qualities of Latin Americans.
In Colombia, for example, where There is Talent’s headquarters is located, we saw how some of the multinational BPO companies responded to the demands of American companies in the customer service area.
In fact, while in the Philippines many Contact Center companies were closing down their operations completely, Colombia was supplying the growing demand of the clients of these American companies.
So good has been the management of virtual teams in Colombia, that all Contact Center companies maintain remote work today.
What is the secret of an effective virtual team?
While it is true that Colombia has been a great example of how to keep companies afloat in the BPO world, it is also true that it is not an easy task.
We are just entering a new world of possibilities where opportunities of all kinds are opening up. Many entrepreneurs are not familiar with the virtual world and still need theory and a lot of practice.
But if we think about what makes an efficient team, regardless of where its members are located, it is clear that there are some main points:
1. Good Communication
Good communication is fundamental to team cohesion and relationship building, which in turn can improve the way the team coordinates its activities.
Communication is key to enhancing social factors, relationship building, and team cohesion. This creates the social environment in which objectives are achieved.
Effective communication is a matter of quality, not just quantity. For virtual teams, this means finding ways to go beyond the text of an email to engage team members more directly.
Research indicates that new virtual teams should focus on communication while the group is still forming.
Communication is the foundation for the social and task-based factors that drive performance throughout the life of the team. Face-to-face meetings, using tools such as Zoom, especially before the project begins, are likely to foster greater team bonding, help avoid misunderstandings and minimize conflict once the team is established.
2. Coordination of Tasks is Key to an Effective Virtual Team
Good communication means better coordination. Effective communication is clear (meaning no room for confusion) and concise (providing as much information in as few words as possible).
Coordination-sharing goals and maintaining team focus is strongly related to performance. For virtual teams that need to improve, resource and process management should be their top priority.
If you want to improve the performance of a virtual team, first look at work coordination. Examine how you can better allocate your resources and improve team processes. For example, you might consider holding daily “meetings” to review tasks that have just been completed, the current agenda, and issues and opportunities for improving teamwork.
3. Maintain Social Bonds
Taking part in non-work activities such as shared virtual breaks can help keep social bonds within a team.
Social bonds are strongly associated with building trust in teams of all types. It is just as necessary to focus on work as it is to create meaningful bonds with team members. The team needs to be familiar and comfortable with one another, even if not everyone is close friends.
This is the basis for human beings, belonging to social groups. And while we are looking for a virtual team to be effective, we must rely on building valuable relationships.
Therefore, promoting activities that foster team cohesion outside working hours is also part of building an effective virtual team.
4. Building Trust in a Virtual Team makes it Effective!
The concept of trust helps members of the team to understand how their actions, judgments, and expectations affect their teammates. When teams are virtual, it is presumably even more difficult to build trust.
However, virtuality is not all bad, you just have to keep track of interactions to maintain trust.
Working in the cloud can support these follow-ups. This offers the possibility of having at hand all the information related to teamwork and workflow. Documentation of interactions consists of storing emails, chats, and other records of online communication. The cloud works by storing all communications and actions and allowing individuals to see the impact of their actions.
This is fairly simple to manage with collaborative work tools such as Trello or Asana.
What, then, makes a virtual team highly effective?
According to a meta-analysis conducted by Chad Lin, Craig Standing, and Ying-Chieh Liu in 2008, effectiveness is a combination of virtual team performance and member satisfaction.
The researchers found a number of key relationships between social factors (team cohesion and relationship building) and task-related factors (communication and coordination) with virtual team effectiveness.
That’s why at There is Talent, we focus not only on connecting our clients with the ideal people for their companies. We also find it important to keep track of the onboarding process, so that both can adjust to the experience of working together.