Managing Virtual Employees
we have to also understand is that, Ah, lot of times we don't work with people physically anymore, right? I'm sure that that a lot of us work with folks virtually. In fact, people are learning virtually right now. It really is the way that the things really happen. People don't work in this kind of single office. It does make it harder to manage and to hire people that are virtual. And there's a wonderful book that came out last year by Joma named Jason Freed. He's a CEO of a company called 37 Signals. They're very famous for base camp, and he came out with a book called Remote Office Not required because the nature of work really has changed. Would you agree? People can work really anywhere? Anyone hears a couple statistics, which I think are really quite amazing in 2016. This is a US number. There'll be 64 million virtual employees. That's unbelievable, and that's compared to 34 million in 2000 and 10. So it's really doubling, so we have to get used to managing those people. Imagine ...
that only employees, but the freelancers, the contractors really and the vendors and the idea of putting together a team is really in this equation. Does one and one equal three, Right? Are you better as a team or you better, Really separately. What you have to think about is what really keeps you up at night. One. The question I always ask myself is people that I can't see. What are they really doing, right? Are they really watching video games when they should be working? Are they really on social media? So they really should really should be working. So who here has a virtual employees that they work with? They would have virtual employees. So Sally, talk about that in the relationship. And how do you keep up on Yeah, it's a tricky one. In fact, you know, when you said earlier about the email, are you didn't Right? Now I have this awesome also employee who was actually fronting up for a while to do our newsletter and self. She's fantastic, and then she disappeared and and then she was doing it remotely, and she kept coming in, and then she really disappeared. And finally I was actually worried something happened to her, and I was something that you did yet attend out that she just got engaged and was planning a wedding and just dropped it, you know, but and then I have are the ones who are, like on the allowance and things who are doing my graphics and stuff. And it's a weed relationship, cause you do develop this thing online with them. But I don't know, I don't know with this one, it was It's a fantastic relationship. Just went off the rails a little bit and which is not great. But the alliance ones is is interesting because because you do someone that charging by the hour and then they're sending you back stuff that you don't love and you don't even know the person. So you get cranky a faster, I think when they're not doing exactly what you want, right, And that's really why the key, I believe Sally to managing Virtue Employees is really gold tracking. Let's all agree up front. One of the goals of this person gonna do What are they going to get paid for and do they achieve those goals? And that was important when you were working face to face with someone. When someone is really working virtually. You really have to think about. What is that? Jobs metrics. Now, if someone's a sales person, that's pretty easy. But can you objectively evaluate their performance? May stuns based on something that is really measurable. So let's go back to your situation. Karen. Are Dru employees remote or they up in Billings? One in Billings. One here. Okay. And so which one is which one is remote? What's their job function? That Sharlee know? Stephen, I had a 50 50 shot on. I lost all of our technical director. Stephen is from California. Correct. We won't mention exactly where he's from. We don't want any stalkers, right? So he does all your technical s. So how do you actually manage him and set goals that you can measure against? Well, when the videos are cut and appear online, I know that he's doing exactly what we needed to dio and they appear all the time. Right? So that's what you're really hiring would do is make sure that stuff shows up and if you think about it in each of the areas, there are metrics. If you think hard enough people while nine on sales, I could do that, but in customer service, it could be customer satisfaction renewals or hold time in proactive element. It could be. Is the software service delivered on time? How many bugs are there in human resource? Is what's the speed to resolution in accounts receivable? Days outstanding? How long do you wait for your money and accounts payable? Are you getting your bills paid with in terms? There's always a way you can measure if we just really put their thoughts to it. Now we also have to make sure we have virtual employees. That we give them the right tools and the right tools are many of these things, and either we have toe buy it for them or it's b Y o d. Bring your own device. But these are very important things. Ah compatible computer, high speed Internet camera headphones, smartphone security software, chat software, social media profiles, Ah, unified communication system that they concluded guide with other people in the company. There's actually a lot of stuff that people need to effectively work remotely. There's project management software and some good ones. Air base camp In stage one video chat. You can use Skype or Google Plus and collaboration. Use Dropbox or Google Docks and Conferencing, Bright Talk or WebEx. There's wonderful tools out there, but you have to get one that works for your for really, for your company. The other thing is the problem that we face is that we don't see people. We forget about him, right? If they're not there, it's one thing. If you walk into your office, you go, Oh, Steve is not in his desk. But when Stevens doesn't have a desk, what do you dio? So what's important is you get very busy and you don't have daily check ins some way. Now you can use all sorts of different ways to communicate text and email on video chat, and what you have to find out is what works most effectively for your company. There really needs to be some place where people virtually meat every single day, and that could be any kind of chat software. But there's gonna be a single single place, and it could also be tied to employees or contractors or anybody else you really want. However, I'm a big believer that somewhere along the line you've got to meet people in person. If you can effectively work with my team and I don't care where, really they are in the world. I believe you have to have get together leads once or twice a year because we're still humans. And I believe that humans still need to create that personal a ship. The best way is that when I see you and you and you and you, that's the way it works and builds most most effectively. You have to more than anything, over communicate with people. If you remember, when you see someone in office just by seeing them, you're communicating with them, right? But if you don't see them, you don't communicated them with them at all. And this could become an issue really in your in your company. Now think about where does your company meet? Virtually. Does anybody have chat soft with these? You have chats, offer user. You don't use Skype. All right, That's really where where you meet. So this is really how you work on being a virtual leader, and remember, that really is the future. We're not gonna have everybody neatly in an office. Look at the way people learn now. They learned through creative Live right by watching things that are virtual. So being a leader really has changed, right? A lot of people think because they're the owner, they're the boss, right? Or they're the leader. That's really work that way anymore. They think that they should manage through on the boss through intimidation, or they bully them in their culture. Right? War ham, the boss. You do this, then the second person is, and the third person does that right. The problem that we face is many times the vision that you have doesn't get translates the madam team, the staff or your customers. So just because you own the company doesn't mean it's gonna work out for you as a leader or a boss. Here's some of the obstacles. No one follows you. Do you ever have that where you said go do something and no one didn't. I've had that, Karen. You're gonna have that right there. A lot of distractions right there. Conflicting communications. So where do you start becoming a leader? It's very simple. You're not Steve jobs, right? You don't want to be Steve jobs, right? According to Walter Isaacson's book, he did a lot of things really well. This is not an area that a particular do. Well, I don't believe that is effective to try to be an Alfa male or female these days, right? That style of management really is over. Top down management doesn't work. The new leadership really now means collaboration, especially when people are remotely or their virtual, where it's me and you and us. We're all working together for a common cause, and what's interesting about the nature of work is we come together for certain clause, maybe freelancers or employees or vendors. And then when that causes over, we split apart and then we come together again. If you don't know how to create teams and lead teams, that's probably the single most important skill you really need. Tohave people, however, communicate teamwork with collaboration, and they really are different. And let me let's talk about that, how things really have changed. The first thing is, if I'm the boss, used to mean that I strict control over information in the secret sauce, I would control everything I keep all the secrets I have. All the keys to the kingdom have been playing too many video games Chris. I don't know, right? A leader today openly shares information and knowledge, and by openly sharing information and knowledge, they activate the passion inside the people that work with them. So you can't keep things secretive. You have to open up. People expect that, remember, and this is society with social media, Internet people expect transparency. The next one is is that if you have an idea in an organization used to be that, well, sometimes the boss listens to ideas, right if he or she feels like it. But then he makes a decision privately. And there's this one way communication. It's from the boss to the employees, right? That doesn't work anymore. The leader now today encourages ideas, have discussions. They ask for suggestions from the team. They're actually community builders, so let's pause for a second. So in your community, Karen, how do you really think that you could go out and encourage other people either your employees, freelancer customers to really give you ideas to build your community because that's what you're really trying to do? E I look at it. The three of us, as we have on the board, were more of a partnership, and we each have a strength that we bring to it. And so it's the three of us together that air that air, doing that and pulling from what our strengths are to get the community together. To do that, we each have the thing that we bring in. So I think that as long as the communication stay strong between the three of us, I think that ability to build it and each of us bringing people into the organization is what will help give it some of the strength. So are you the owner of the company, the three of US Air partners? We're all partners that different kinds, right? So how do you all make sure that you encourage discussions and suggestions? How do you make sure you keep that open? We do have the communication base camp is a genius creation, so we have base camp and we have Skype and we communicate that way. So that's that's important. Bellaby exchange ideas. Another key area that's changes really decision making, right? So the classic decision making is the boss makes decision, right? He didn't slivers this nice approved solution to the team, and sometimes he or she makes knee jerk reactions. The leader today really facilitates brainstorming right and takes the best ideas in leadership is really characterized by people being patient. Now, I know that patients is not a skill that comes to most Americans really well, right. We're very impatient group, but we've gotta be able to show patients. So arena in in your in the company that you work in. I know that you have an older older owner. How do you house decision making work inside your group tomorrow? Um, on some things. He's very good at asking my opinion and we make a decision and we go forward. But then there's other times that it can be a huge battle of butting heads because he has his mind set on go telling Mr Chris at lunch. But ground roots campaign, we have to do everything the way that I've always done it because that's always worked. But then I try to tell him Well, you know, times are changing and certain facets of that still work, and we solved Apply those those ideas. But there's other parts of it that we need to go with the times and roll with changes and doesn't mean we have to necessary. Take everybody out to dinner. That's his favorite thing to say, but we do have to incorporate the new changes and and sort of cater to certain things within the company so we can grow house. So how do you encourage collaborative decision making? Try to just get him to talk about it and to hear out most times hearing out my ideas of what that I've discussed with teachers and people who are helping vendors, representatives of other companies that were purchasing from, you know, things like that. So trying to get him toe say, what if we attempt to adopt this particular thing or product and stuff like that and sometimes he'll hear me out and sometimes he doesn't. And sometimes if he doesn't, I have to be patient and let him come around to it on his own time, because eventually he usually does. Because remember, you could be the leader without being the boss. Does that make sense to you? Anybody inside the group can be a leader without having the ultimate authority, and I think that we work inside organizations and teams. It is all of our responsibilities to be the best leader that we actually actually can. Chris, I know that you're smiling here. Is that something you come across in your work? Yeah, I can be. You know, we're smiling cause we're always chatting about these things and trying to figure out, you know, how, toe keep track of all of this in the chat rooms right now, because a lot of people are responding, They're loving the conversation. And we're always laughing in the chat room about people interacting with one another because, you know, we joke about getting the names right here in the chat rooms. My God, names in the chat. I'm a lot of that. We don't even try to repeat on the air. So we're trying to keep those straight. That's right. We're laughing about All right. I just want to I want to make sure, but I've got this down now. You got after one after one day. The way that things have really changed is really resource allocation. The boss used to allocate all the resource right that control over where all the money really went. But a leader now allocates it based on what the stated re sources are and what the teams are going to accomplish right. I actually think that for many of these areas, Leader is a better way to go because you don't have to bear all the responsibility. You're kind of in it to get your really in it together. Let's talk about jobs and responsibilities. So in the old mile, the boss gives strict job descriptions of responsibilities. Or, worse yet, there's no job responsibilities, right? So it's interesting. Karen. In your business. Do these people actually have a job and role responsibilities? Does everyone know that what they're supposed to be doing? Is it written down? It's not written down? No, it's probably something that we should do, because then you'll get to a point where you're gonna grow beyond that, and that's really gonna become import. So I would tell you that small businesses, most of time it's not written down it all, and that's kind of problematic. But what the leader does is they have flexible jobs based on responsibilities and really what's going on within a certain project or a certain time frame. So people take on all sorts of different roles, and actually I think that's part of the fun about what the way business is done today is that sometimes your one way and sometimes you got to do something else and you're willing. T pretty much do everything, so we'll go. Do you find that in your job? What you're doing is you're constantly doing different kinds of things that's constant shifting every day. Um, no, I think I do a lot of business development and my partner food. There's a little technical strategies and management, and we have crying social itself. We have blows prefigured out about, if you know, one become too busy, or, I mean, I'm willing to do any functions right you can fill in. I think one of the important thing is when you run a small businesses, you can't have those words. It's not my job, right, because this is this is the tricky part is that we have to make sure that we don't do everything right. At the same time, we have to make sure that we give past other people without doing it ourselves. But we also have to be flexible. So there's a really great story that's told by the Harvard Business Rule, called it's called Who has the Monkey? Has anybody ever read that management thing about who has the monkey and what the idea is? What the idea is that an employee comes to you and says, I've got a problem and the manager says, Okay, I've got I know you have a problem. Let me think about it. I'll get back to. So the problem is the monkey, right? And when that employee comes to you and this could be a vendor or freelancer, when I come to you, they actually give you the monkey. So now you have the to do. And what a lot of bad managers do is they collect Ah, lot of these monkeys. And so, while their employees are not working on the weekends, they as the business owner, are working on the weekends all time because they got all these monkeys. The better way to do it is when someone comes to you with a monkey. If you can either make decision then or ask that particular person all right, what do you think we should do and then make a decision? So that's the fine balance that we have. Another area really is in business ethics right that the boss used to always ends, always justify the means. But now we are socially transparent. So what is that word means socially transparent in this world. What does that mean? Well, I think it means that there is so much awareness at old times of what people are doing, that you can't hide behind an ad or you can't behind you where we're listening to the social truth. So we're listening to what people are actually reacting to a product rather than what the product of Diana's advertises tell us. There's really no place to hide with social media, I believe, as a small business owner, it really make sure that whatever we do as a business is congruent with whatever we do personally. And if you think that it's not going to get out, it will. It's very difficult to keep quote unquote secrets. I mean, I think that as a small business owner, you gotta assume that everything you say, everything is always either videotape pictures or someone's gonna posted somewhere. And I really believe in Sally. I'll get your take on this. Do you think that as a result, people are more ethical in their business dealings because you kind of have the social transparency police going on. Well, I do think they're being held more to task, but at the same times, people will work out a way around. It went there, but how we had it control in this I many of us. And it's a global economy, I think. Right? Right. It's really now Have you ever had a situation in your businesses where you really were forced to be socially transparent? That someone found something out that you wish they had? Really? Not exactly. I mean, what exactly didn't happen? Okay, well, from a particular person or Dana, that's right. Good job. You'll get it. I'm just calling on you to practice. Wear a name tag tomorrow. Um, a customer had ordered a particular harmonica for his son for Christmas, and it was about three weeks before Christmas. There's plenty of time for us to get it in and, um, for however, I'm not exactly sure what happened, but either the invoice slipped off and fell, and we didn't find it until a week before Christmas, and basically we ordered it in, but it was gonna take it was basically not gonna come in and buy Christmas Eve when he wanted to give it to his son. And so, um, basically, I was either faced with the decision, Teoh give a white lie and say, Well, it's not gonna come in in time And it was just back ordered, Um, which technically it kind of was. But but it was partially our mistake. But, you know, I chose to basically just be completely honest with him and say, Look, this is what happened, and I apologised, but here's how I'm gonna make it right. Basically, I would like to give you this better harmonica that I already have in stock. It costs twice as much as the one that you ordered for him. But I want to give this to you because, you know, you got this specifically for your son. It was really sweet story again, a relationship building with this customer. And so he came and picked it up, and he was very thankful and didn't say much of that time. And then a couple days after Christmas, he came back. He brought me this big box of chocolates and picked up the harmonic he originally ordered because he said, We're still going to give you your harmonica, but we want to give you this other one as well. So it's really out of our pocket, the whole thing. But it turned him completely around. You know, it was very transparent because I said, I'm just gonna be honest with you. This is what happened, and it was our mistake. So But I think it turned into a customer for life, cause now he comes in regularly and buys a lot of stuff from us. So and she knew. How did you come to that decision? Um, I discussed it with the owner originally, and he we went back and forth about how we should deal with it, and then he basically had said, Well, we have the Southern harmonica. Let's just let's just do that because that would be the right thing. We've had a really good season and this guy's really sweet, and he's doing it for his son, who was in the military, had come back from Iraq. That was why we really also felt motivated to make sure that he got something that he really wanted for Christmas. So, um, it's really just turned out to be the right thing to do. So I'm a really big believer, Jenny and Sally, that this is really help. People act mawr ethically because there's always someone out there if you don't where it's gonna come out. So I think people are much more that way. Now let's talk about about feedback. Years ago, we got annual reviews. I remember I worked for IBM for 10 years. Every year I get that an interview, and I get a certain number that really doesn't work anymore. People really want especially Gen wires and millennials, which will talk about our special guests and a little bit about is they want immediate and ongoing feedback. That's really important that you have to tell them every single week. And I think ultimately that's much better. Because we usedto happen. Is feedback used to build up, build up, build up, build up, and then maybe it was even relevant after that period of time. Now there's a wonderful book that came out that really talks about the differentiations between the old type of leader, the new type of leader. It's called the Fall of the Alphas, and Dana already talked about how this new beta style is really working out well. And who is better at the beta style of leadership? Women or men? Women, women. There wasn't even discussion. There s some. Why are women better at this style of leadership than men are communicators, Right? Take listening, right? No, not all right. But but But by definition, you're much more better communicators. You know, your nurtures those kind of things. And so there's a lot of data out there, and I never The data talks about her book, how women are really better really at that. Now let's let's be very, very, very particular specific sometimes is being a beta can be a bus to, you know, we don't want to be Whoa, You know, there could be a slow management shift. Some people do need mawr. You don't hands on, they really do. And so they don't want the kind of responsibility that we're really talking about. And remember, people really do respect what you you inspect. So let's talk about that. Sometimes you're stuck because again, there's certain people that really should not really be in your, you know, in your organization and what what happens is in our organization. There's really one thing that happens, and that's really this whole idea of having smartphones. Who has ever seen smart phones being used in a retail store by their employees? Who has seen that I've seen used in retail stores? Not by my employees, but but, yeah, you can walk into a store and see people using their phones. And I know many about the store's employees. Like I fall right exactly. Exactly. Have we also have we all seen that right? Um, what's really interesting about that is do you think that actually causes a problem is actually distract people who's using smartphones. Personal smartphones actually distract people. Doing with it really depends on what they're using it for their what they're really doing with it. So I think it's a real issue, and I think later on tomorrow we'll be talking about how this a really big issue. What I really want to do is we talked about before about customers that really should not be in your business, right, And so many of us keep looking for other kinds of business on things, and sometimes you all said the same thing with employees or people you work with. And here are some of the symptoms, right? There's little communication with employees. They don't have loyalty. You know, a lot of us confuse recognition with rewards, and, um, it gets to be a gets to be a big issue. The same thing with vendors. You don't view them as a partnership. Whoops. We don't view them as a partnership. We try to wring every last cent out. And what we really have to do is we have to find that team that we need. How do you magically find customers with employees and vendors? How have you done that in your business? To really find the perfect team? What have you done to make sure that you put all that together? What steps have you taken? Personal interaction for me. Okay, professional. There are even personal emails. If I'm connecting with people in, you know, online. Making it, making it personal, making it like I'm the one who is interacting with them. Sorry, um, and providing that that that contact. So we look at the team that we're trying to put together, all right, because we're all trying to do that. We have employees we have freelancers. We have vendors. All right, we have customers. We have advisers. Our business is Onley work when this whole team is really put together. So one of the ways that you take action this area is that you get personally involved with selecting each one of these. So it's like it does not take a lot of time. Arena Not really, because people know people. I mean, there's, like, six degrees of separation, even between the four of us. I mean, I'm sure we could find all of those people for each one of those. Kevin Bacon, right? Yeah, exactly. Right. So that's the way you do. How do you How have you found that perfect balance? Because I know that in the music business, you've certainly had to find all of these kinds of things, right? How do you know how to build that perfect team? Um, well, I think it's mirroring what Rina said. It's personal interaction going with your gut feeling and developing a relationship with somebody. And most nine times out of 10 I'm gonna be able to tell of it, somebody that I can trust to keep them just on the peripheral team of like, you know, the person I call every so often to help out with a particular gig or the person that I'm gonna ask to come in three days a week and trust to open my mail and trust to interact with my customers or answer my phone in the way that I want it to be answered. Not just high. It's consumer Rezek, but hello. Thank you for calling, You know, good afternoon and being pleasurable. So it's just Yeah, that interaction that's gonna build it. The trust between the vendors, whether you want to deal with them on a day to day basis where you want to buy from them or not, If they have a crappy attitude, you're not gonna want to deal with them. I don't care what your prices are. I don't want to deal with you now. The key is, you were saying was interaction and with interaction, people are gonna come and go, and we're constantly forming and reforming this team. How are you making those decisions, Karen, As you're trying to build Yogi stream dot TV, I look at how people come to us and take yoga at the studio where where we stream out of and yoga is one of those things that you get. A variety of people who kind of come and go out of it periodically will have somebody who will say, You know, Hey, we'd love to help you with Yogi Stream. What can we do to help you? And the biggest thing that we've had people doing right now is just promote, promote, promote. And so it's it's seeing those people who are coming to us at this point saying, Hey, we'd like to be part of this and then we sit back and say, Well, what kind of a role could this person play for us and sit and talk about? That is a very important point because I wanted a story from claim until he's a billionaire out of Ohio that used to be the CEO of IMEs pet food, very famous, big, big company. And he said where his realization really came was that when he realized that he should hire people that love cats and dogs right and I think that people are passionate about it, they have more of a chance to be successful. However, it doesn't mean that everybody who's passionate about it, we should work with, right? So how do you make the differentiation? We go back to the skills and attitude that we talked about. I look at skill set for people when we're talking about vendors, and I'm looking at people who can help us from a marketing perspective or help us from brand awareness and brand development I'm looking at. Well, do they have the skill set? And yes, I do. I look at that first, but on top of that I can have three people who want to help me with brand awareness. But I am gonna look for attitude right, which is reversed, and that's that's really important to me, which is of critical importance. So in order to build an excellent team, the first thing is employees or freelancers. Now a lot of people make a mistake by thinking that it's all about money. What do you think employers or freelancers really want? In addition to money? I don't mean instead of money, let's not be so foolish and callous, right? But what do they want? In addition to money, what is a big motivator for them? Carry successful product a successful business, something that will last right? Okay, anybody else appreciation that I really make a difference, right? Because people want to be part of something that's larger than them. That's why Creativelive has really become so popular because people realize how many folks they really can affect its something larger than them. So they want to know that they're appreciated, right, and they want to know that you appreciate their vision and also probably more importantly, they have some control over how they do their job, that you're not telling them really what to do all the time. What is the best way to build a successful team of advisers? And we're talk later on about mentors and how important those really are. So what's really gotta happen? How do you build an excellent and by who has a great adviser? Okay, and how did you find that person? It's a friend who's been very successful at business, and it's somebody who Aiken bounce business ideas off of who has no investment one way or the other in Yogi Stream, but wants to see me be able to achieve my goals and is willing to give me feedback and advise me in business decisions, and this is again when I talk about a team, it's just not your employees. All of these people are really included on that team.