How to Manage Teams in Different Locations

I love the way grandmothers pack priceless wisdom into colorful phrases. Phrases like “when the cat is away, the mice will play” speak volumes about the human tendency to slack off when the boss isn’t around. Or how about this one: “out of sight, out of mind.” When something isn’t in front of me, it gets pushed to the back of my mind.

Maybe you think of these phrases when wondering how to manage teams in different locations. Conventional wisdom says managing dispersed teams is a headache. You can’t possibly make sure your staff isn’t goofing off. You wonder how to handle managerial tasks for a team possibly hundreds of miles away.

Nothing against Grandma, but her notions of remote management are a bit old-fashioned. With the right strategies and software in place, you’ll take to managing dispersed teams like a fish takes to water.

Considerations for Hiring Dispersed Teams

Grandma would say you can’t separate the wheat from the chaff when hiring a dispersed team. When you post job openings for multiple locations, you run the risk of missing high-quality applicants if your process is unorganized. Hiring employees at multiple locations requires strategic planning and implementation.

Perhaps one of the biggest considerations for hiring dispersed teams is maintaining your company’s branding. Multiple locations will probably develop their own unique culture. Your branding becomes the glue that binds employees in different locations to your company’s vision. Without strong branding, different locations may begin to feel like independent outposts for employees as well as customers.

You can introduce applicants to your company’s values, vision, and character with a branded careers site. A single careers website can manage applications for job postings at all of your company’s locations, even allowing job seekers to apply to multiple jobs with one application. Not only will you elevate your brand in your applicants’ eyes, you’ll be able to uncover more qualified candidates and manage applicant data from a cloud-based software system accessible at all of your locations.

From within the applicant tracking system, you’ll be able to sort applicants using a variety of data fields, including location. You can then assign tasks to individuals on hiring teams throughout the organization. You’ll be able to view applicants’ progress throughout the hiring process.

Perhaps most importantly, an ATS will give your hiring teams the tools they need to work independently without sacrificing your ability to oversee the process. An ATS can eliminate many of the intra-company emails and phone calls that hinder hiring across locations. With all the benefits of an ATS, I think Grandma might finally agree you can have your cake and eat it too.


Multi-Site Management of Employee Onboarding

Grandma might warn you against biting off more than you can chew when it comes to multi-site management of employee onboarding. It’s true that onboarding new hires at multiple sites can be problematic. Ineffective onboarding will cut into your bottom line, decrease your company’s productivity, and possibly leave you vulnerable to lawsuits.

Employees who undergo a comprehensive onboarding program are productive in their new roles more quickly. Effective onboarding can also improve employee retention. Onboarding software can help you create a consistent and effective onboarding process for all of your locations. You can use these digital onboarding tools when introducing your new hires to your company. Training modules within onboarding software can be customized for each position and its location.

New employee forms get trickier during cross-office collaboration. The best onboarding software will determine the correct new employee forms for each position and location. You won’t need to worry about your hiring teams forgetting about non-compete agreements for new sales people. And you can be sure the correct city payroll tax withholdings are on file. Best of all, onboarding software stores your completed new employee forms digitally. If your new sales person leaves for a competitor a few years down the road, you won’t need to chase down a paper copy of that non-compete agreement.

Even Grandma has to admit, onboarding software leaves no stone unturned.


Managing Employees at Multiple Locations

Grandma wouldn’t want you burning the candle at both ends when managing employees at multiple locations. Each location may develop a culture inconsistent with your company’s values. Productivity may suffer when employees aren’t engaged in the company’s larger mission. Poor communication can enhance existing problems.

You can address the challenges of managing employees in different locations by proactively managing your workplace culture. Create a comprehensive onboarding process with an emphasis on your company’s values and mission. Existing employees may benefit from training that focuses on your company’s culture. Try implementing a rewards program for employees who demonstrate behavior consistent with your values.

Nurturing a positive culture and workplace environment will help engage employees. You can also increase employee engagement by offering skill development training. Dispersed employees could access advanced training modules within your onboarding software or classes online. Think about pairing employees at remote locations with mentors working from the company headquarters. These mentors can help employees navigate the company’s dynamics.

Stakeholders need strong communication skills to make these strategies for managing teams at multiple locations successful. Managers with poor communication skills struggle with how to increase collaboration between teams and improve cross-departmental communication. Remind these managers to have regular video conferences with remote team members. Email is great for task-related communication. But only a phone or video call can nurture meaningful connections between co-workers.

You can overcome the challenges of managing and leading remote teams through culture, engagement, and communication. When you use these strategies, your employees will feel more emotionally invested in their roles and happy as clams.

Final Thoughts

Conventional wisdom may say that managing teams in different locations is difficult. Dispersed worksites tend to develop their own culture. Distance can complicate items such as paperwork. And poor communication will make managing remote employees even tougher.

But you’ll be changing your tune when you invest in the right software. And your remote teams will be over the moon when you use strategies to promote culture, engagement, and communication. Before you know it, managing teams in different locations will be a piece of cake.

Are you thinking about investing in applicant tracking software or onboarding software? Contact us today.

Photo by Antonio Janeski on Unsplash


How to Write a Job Description Optimized for Job Boards and Internet Search, Tip 4

Is writing job descriptions more of an art or a science? It is perhaps less of a science than it used to be since practices like keyword stuffing are now counterproductive while the focus is truly on producing quality content (as it should be) these days. I’m going to take the easy way out and claim that its a blend of both art and science…or perhaps, strategy is a better word. Gone are the days of packing job descriptions full of keywords to improve on-page optimization and propel your careers portal and job listings to the top of the search results list.

The Three P’s of Job Description Keyword Use

However, many factors have changed in the mystical realm of search engine optimization (at least it seems mystical to me at times) over the past few years and one thing is clear…relevance is king. So while keyword stuffing to the point that a reader was tripping over the same word every paragraph in a text used to be a somewhat effective trick, search engines like Google have since put algorithms in place to penalize such practices.

So what’s a savvy recruiting and HR professional to do to make sure new job opportunities are seen by inquiring applicants? In this fourth installment of the How to Write a Job Description Optimized for Job Boards & Internet Search series, I’ll highlight the Three P’s of Keyword Use in Job Descriptions: presence, popularity and placement. We’ll demonstrate keyword optimization for Indeed as an example.

Are Relevant Terms Present in Your Job Description?

While this is the simplest concept of the Three P’s, it nonetheless is the foundation for success in optimizing your job listings for search results. It really just requires that the most relevant keywords for your target applicant pool are present in your job description. The tricky part lies in the fact that you may not always know which keywords resonate with candidates that are well-qualified for your available career opportunities. To rectify the situation, think about employers in your market that source applicants from the same talent pool – in particular, the ones that seem to be beating you out when it comes to attracting potential new employees. Scour their job listings and take note of the terms they use in job titles and the first paragraph of job descriptions. Are you using the same types of terms in your jobs?

For example, let’s take a construction firm that is seeking a new electrical superintendent for a large industrial contract. When I did a search on Indeed for “construction superintendent electrical,” there were only 707 listings nationwide (since I didn’t specify a location).
Electrical Superintendent Construction Job Results | Keyword Optimization For Indeed
However, with a little research of my competitors, I might find that they have job listings titled “Project Manager” with very similar descriptions to my own Superintendent listings. A slightly modified search for “construction project manager electrical” on Indeed yields 4,752 jobs.
 Electrical Project Manager Construction Results | Keyword Optimization For Indeed
So, you might find that it becomes important to include the phrase “project manager” in your listing a few times…perhaps more so than “superintendent.” This may affect your job title decision, as well.

Keyword Optimization For Indeed | Density Considerations

Once you are confident of the right one or two key terms or phrases that you’d like to pepper into your job opportunity text, you must consider the frequency with which these words are used. As I mentioned before, in the past some recruiters stuffed words into the text for best results, but that won’t work anymore. In fact, while “keyword density” isn’t as integral an ingredient in your rankings recipe as before, you definitely don’t want to use terms too often…probably not much more than three percent of your total word count in fact. As with salt, a little can help bring out the flavor in your soup, but too much can quickly ruin the whole recipe. Similarly, too many of the same words in a job description will seem artificial and boring to the potential applicant. Remember the law of diminishing returns.

Consider writing your job description to flow naturally without minding keyword use. Then, go back and reread your text and insert your desired terms a few times. Lastly, think of synonyms and other related phrases and place those in the listing, as well. For our construction example, other words/phrases that might naturally occur with “construction project manager electrical” might include: field labor; electrical superintendent; industrial project; construction project; bid analysis; electrical contractor; and, lead electrical consultant.

These “co-occurring terms” will be recognized by search engines as complementary to your true targeted terms and are just another ingredient in the rankings effort. Plus, they offer the reader more variety and depth…which is more likely to result in the site visitor converting to become your applicant.

Mind the Placement of Job Description Text

So far you’ve learned to use just a few instances of relevant phrases in your job description…but not too many. Truth be told, a little can go a long way as long as you are using the right terms thoughtfully. That’s where placement comes into play. Even though you might include desired phrases only a few times in your job listing, they can pack a punch in rankings battles if you position them strategically within your text. Here are some effective placement techniques:

Now that you have a better understanding of how to use keywords strategically within your job listings, including being mindful of the Three P’s, you are well on your way to becoming a job listing ninja!

To see how ExactHire’s recruiting software can help streamline your job description optimization efforts, please schedule a live demo.