As companies look to adapt to a post-pandemic world and meet the changing needs of their remote team, investing in the best tools is critical. This will ensure companies maintain clear communication and encourage close collaboration, which is crucial to retaining and attracting top talent who are seeking a positive employee experience.

Although technology enables formerly office-based workers to carry out the same work anywhere, with increased productivity, not all remote work tools are created equal. Let’s take a look at some essential digital tools to help your remote workers and teams to thrive.

What is the biggest challenge of working remotely?

One of the challenges remote teams are facing is staying connected. To counter this, companies must find and use the best tools to make remote work integration as seamless as possible.  However, remote work has led to a saturation of software services. So, what tools do you need so that your remote team can thrive while working in different locations worldwide? We asked Globalization Partners (G-P) expert, Vice President of Information Technology Stephen McCormack, to talk us through his top choices regarding connectivity and empowering a remote team.

Below he highlights some of the best-in-class remote tools, from recruitment to onboarding to video conferencing.

What are the best tools for recruitment in the experience of G-P?

Stephen: When talking about remote tools, it is important to acknowledge their impact and usefulness even before an employee is onboarded.

  • Anaplan: For instance, we use Anaplan to provide data-driven, automated forecasting that enables us to accurately budget for our recruitment needs.
  • Greenhouse: Greenhouse is a remote tool that allows us to document our interview process and track a candidate’s journey from beginning to end. Our hiring managers and talent acquisition partners use it to work through each relevant role and screen candidates before the interview phase. Once an interview is conducted, feedback is processed in Greenhouse, which will be visible to all appropriate internal parties connected to the open position.
  • Crosschq: Crosschq is used when we have decided on a candidate, and the successful interviewee’s references need to be checked. Crosschq is an excellent example of an online tool that has replaced the traditional phone call to get relevant feedback on a candidate. It allows the referee to take their time giving the input and to do it at their own pace and schedule, enabling their feedback to be more precise and valuable.
  • DocuSign: DocuSign is a final remote tool worth mentioning in the hiring process. Once an offer is made and accepted, the contract is issued to the prospective employee. DocuSign enables the chosen candidate to sign their contract remotely and return it to the hiring manager with the click of a button.

What type of technologies help with remote onboarding?

Stephen: A vital part of building any remote team is having an effective Learning Management System. At G-P, we use Lessonly.

Being a remote-first company means all new employees typically start life at G-P from their home office. Therefore, Lessonly plays a crucial role in helping to understand:

  • The company as a whole
  • Their relevant department
  • Company policies and procedures
  • Organizational charts
  • Plus, all of the various remote tools in operation

Lessonly is a key to onboarding our employees successfully. The relevant manager and HR personnel work closely with the new employee to schedule each Lessonly training module over the first two weeks of their new career at G-P.

Which digital tools help to conduct a remote performance review?

Stephen:  When managing a remote team, it is essential to have a tool in your arsenal that provides an employee with regular, structured access to their manager. 15Five allows employees to give an update every week on their activity and highlight what they plan to achieve over the next seven days. Additionally, they can track their progress toward their personal, departmental, and company goals.

Again, in a remote-first company like G-P, a tool like 15Five is a prime example of how best to keep everyone connected, both up and down the chain of command. Of course, a manager should also conduct 1:1 meetings at least once a week and provide updates to his team.

But work is always so busy, and time tends to fly by. 15Five promotes an automatic period of reflection typically at the end of the week, where we can consider our objectives and how we will meet them over the next week. Obviously, that is very important.

How about tools for financial management?

Stephen: We launched Workday at G-P in July of this year. Workday is our primary Human Capital Management and Financial System combined. It’s effectively our Enterprise Resource Planning tool.

We previously had several separate applications doing those tasks. Since deploying Workday, we have consolidated all of those under one umbrella.

In a nutshell, Workday acts as a source of record for an employee in terms of holidays, expenses, payroll, and all kinds of HR information. It also serves as a financial source of record culminating in producing our financial set of books every month of the year.

What is the best tool for video conferencing?

Stephen: G-P uses Zoom for our video meetings. It is used both internally and with external partners. We use Zoom for all our conference meetings, significant events, webinars, etc., and it has always proved to be a substantial success.

What is the best communication tool for remote teams?

Stephen: Regarding instant messaging, Slack is the top collaboration tool favored by colleagues at G-P. In our experience Slack is outstanding for collaborative activity between individuals and teams. Slack has various collaborative and communication opportunities, from general channels to specific project channels to team channels to individual direct messages between colleagues.

What is best for documentation and file storage?

Stephen: We use many tools for structured file storage, from Confluence and SharePoint to OneDrive. SharePoint and OneDrive are part of the Microsoft 365 suite of products and require little introduction.

Confluence is part of the Atlassian suite of products. We use Confluence in G-P as an ad hoc documentation forum which is very flexible based on the specific team’s requirements.

What remote tools does G-P use for cybersecurity?

Stephen: One of my main tasks at G-P is managing information security. Being a remote-first company brings challenges in this area.

When your staff is office-based, you have a lot of control in terms of information security. But from a remote-first standpoint, our network is effectively every one of our 1,300 employees’ homes. So, that can be a challenging environment to ensure that our users and systems are safe from an information security perspective. To help achieve that, we deploy several remote tools that can alert us to any potential issues and allow us to react accordingly and precisely when required. These include Barracuda, Inky, Crowdstrike, and Netskope to name a few.

Aside from the suite of remote tools that help keep us safe, educating our users is also crucial. We conduct internal phishing exercises to develop maturity in the cybersecurity space for our staff. We build awareness through training programs that are regularly available on Lessonly and via Knowbe4.

Hackers can operate together, so to counteract that, it is essential that a company’s staff work together, too — it takes a network to beat a network.

Build a global remote team today

When building a remote team, it can be harder to guarantee that everyone stays connected. But when you implement the best communication and digital tools, you can ensure that a solid foundation is in place. When supplied with the correct tools to work together, a remote team has increased productivity compared to in-house staff, which adds to a company’s successful journey.

For other tips and strategies, download our eBook, The Complete Guide to Building a Remote Global Team, to learn:

  • How to find the best international talent.
  • How to create an effective remote management system.
  • How to boost productivity by building a solid work culture that will enable your company to grow remotely.

Check List

  • One of the challenges remote teams are facing is staying connected.
  • To counter this, companies must find and use the best tools to make remote work integration as seamless as possible. 
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