Today, video conferring is, well, pretty much child’s play. With platforms like Skype, Whatsapp etc. available on even mobile phones, it is natural that we would veer more and more towards video conferencing as our preferred mode of remote contact, since it replicates the feeling of having a face to face conversation best. Businesses too are quickly embracing video conferencing as their preferred mode of communication, especially while conducting meetings, webinars, trainings and recruitment. Of all the industries which are heavily reliant on video conferencing, outsourcing firms are predictably one of the most prominent. In case you have remote teams too, either through direct recruitment or an agency, you should make optimum use of video conferencing since it can make the difference between an OK and an excellent remote team. How? Well, let’s find out.
1. Putting a face to the voice– A majority of the remote workers working for Western clients based in the US, UK, Europe and Australia converse with the clients or their representatives on pretty much a daily basis. Yet, they wouldn’t recognize them if they were to pass these individuals on the street one day. The opposite is also true. You see, for all the talking, these people never actually have seen each other. They are just a metallic voice on the phone. As humans we have a tendency to use all our senses to get the full picture. And yet, sight, arguably the most important of these facets is not an option. This has often created a huge disconnect between the remote workers and their clients/employers. By using video conferencing regularly and effectively, you will be able to connect with your remote employees better. An appreciative smile often says more than the most eloquent appreciation email. Its more human, retains emotion- something which we can all connect to. By seeing you daily on their video screens, your remote workers will develop a much required familiarity to you and come to know you better as an individual. You will also get to know your team individually and able to communicate with each member far more effectively.
2. Builds feeling of inclusiveness and ownership– By regularly video conferencing with your remote team, you inadvertently share with them a sliver of your life thousands of miles away. Like for instance a businessman who had hired remote employees in India was finishing his daily call with his remote team when one of the team members quipped- Nice beard! Initially a little taken aback at such a personal remark at the end of what had been a normal business meeting, the businessman ended up having a hearty and rather funny conversation with his team, all about beards and men’s fashion! He would go on to remark, “Man, we really bonded in those ten minutes. And I have had this team for over a year!” And he would go onto see a marked change in his team post that. They were far more relaxed on calls, came up with many new and innovative ideas and genuinely took ownership of the business. Business calls at the beginning of the day would be interspersed with informal conversation and the team was far more relaxed and forthcoming with ideas, thanks to the confidence that one call had given them. It’s OK! Boss is a normal guy! Not a monster!
3. Keeping tabs on the team and data security– Often, the information shared with the remote team is sensitive in nature and you would prefer for them to be in office while working, due to data sensitivity. However keeping tabs remotely is a bit of a challenge. You cannot physically monitor them. Monitoring them remotely is made easier if you can be in a position to video conference with them. There can be a central terminal that you can call or access to speak with the team and the team’s presence there will ensure that they are in. Data security should be taken seriously since recent experiences of data leaks due to avoidance of proper protocol subjected a lot of business with customer ire and multiple lawsuits.
4. Easier to recruit directly– Say you hire virtual staff through a third party agency. Now most such agencies would also assume the responsibility of recruitment, which is great except many businesses like to interview and choose candidates themselves. Resumes give only about 20% of the picture and a phone call is hardly sufficient to get much idea about a candidate. Since meeting them personally isn’t possible, video conferencing is the next best thing. In a video call, one gets to pick on a lot of things like body language, attitude and street smartness. The personality of the candidate comes through. If you were hiring someone remotely, you would want to hire a long term prospect and not just anyone to give you a quick fix.
5. Multiple remote teams- Through video conferencing, you can synergize two separate remote teams to work together. Video conferencing negates the need for all stake holders to meet personally, thus reducing unnecessary and expensive travel by company executives to international destinations. You can have as many as ten remote teams in ten different countries and yet thanks to video conferencing, it would feel like working under the same roof. It is also easier, cheaper and faster to impart necessary training via video conferencing. Experts in countries like the US can easily connect with remote workers situated in places like India and transfer of knowledge can happen seamlessly and quickly. Instead of flying down executives to a central location for expensive seminars and training programs, they could simply be hooked in via video conferencing.
Effectively using video conferencing will not only bring your remote team/s closer and help them work as a single unit, it will inspire loyalty and belongingness in remote teams, who in turn will be eager to contribute by coming up with new ideas, innovations and tactics. It is amazing what a little sense of belongingness can do to you. You suddenly feel part of the core, important, wanted and responsible. That feeling spurs on the average remote employee to contribute in a manner that can even outstrip regular employees working for you onsite. And all this can be possible through a simple five minute stock tacking video conference. Let the employee connect with you and emote. Who knows, what he/she might have!