Distributed team is only successful if it consists of loyal and efficient coworkers. So the key is finding and managing them. xpate team of over 70 operates across three offices in London, Riga, and Singapore building a payment solution that makes the payment process easier, faster, and accessible to everyone thanks to the first true drag and drop payment experience in the world uniting all payment methods in one account.
We spoke to Mike Shafro, xpate CEO & Founder to learn the tips and tricks of successful distributed team management and why free Netflix subscription for every team member is important.
Mutual loyalty is essential when managing distributed teams. It is crucial to start building loyalty up right from the job interview. A new team member should be highly interested in what he’s going to do and clearly understand the essentials of the project and the tasks he will need to do. Discuss the first steps, set the direction of work, introduce a newcomer to the team, and then give him time to absorb this information. Grant him a credit of trust as well, but always set specific measurable goals to understand how successful the collaboration is. This is why at xpate we create an affirmative action plan from day one.
It hugely helps to agree on the maximum transparency with the newcomer from the very beginning. If you feel there’s a misunderstanding, ask straight away. Agree on the format of communication and make it regular. Even if you feel everything is going according to plan avoid making conclusions and check during the regular catch ups. The frequency can be amended based on the particular team member and task.
Efficiency of the distributed team depends on individual qualifications, discipline, and physical resources.
It’s very similar to traditional office work when it comes to qualifications. Make sure the team has a chance to learn and exchange experience, especially when it comes to developers. Anyone in the xpate team can take any Coursera courses to upgrade their expertise for free. Mutual help and interest in the results of your teammate’s work needs to become an integral part of your corporate culture.
Keeping the team informed significantly contributes to efficiency, so arrange regular meetings. We do team lunches, team lead syncs, and product demos on a regular basis. Our goal is to make everyone understand what is going on inside the team and how the work they do creates value. When discussing tasks avoid speaking only about what needs to be done or implemented, explain the problem that requires a solution, give everyone an opportunity to think it over, and then discuss the specific solutions.
The physical resources are something you can influence the least. Yet the proper rest is essential, avoid overloading the team and encourage taking vacations. At xpate we also give every team member unlimited access to Netflix and Bookmate. You can take your birthday off as well. This works wonders with loyalty.
Distributed teams do work efficiently, but face-to-face communications are still very important. Use every chance to arrange corporate catch ups or team outings in real life. You can arrange informal team buildings, birthday parties, meetups, conferences, or even hackathons and boot camps. Think which options fit best for your team in a particular situation. All of them provide a productivity boost and allow to take down communication barriers. Everyone will know each other better, you just need to create an occasion.