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Revolutionising your remote team in a virtual world: 6 key areas of focus

We have all entered the brave new world of remote working. This has propelled many organisations to acclimatise quickly to new ways of operating. The world of work is evolving at real speed which creates issues that must be addressed, but also presents opportunities for forward-thinking firms to leverage.

In today’s virtual world, how can you ensure you are meeting your regulatory obligations, maintaining critical business continuity and delivering value to your clients?

The challenges faced by remote working can cause wide reaching disruption:

  • Reduced team productivity

  • Loss of revenue through impaired client on-boarding functions

  • Operational Risk

  • Employee disengagement

  • Team Isolation

  • Burnout

Organisations who can adapt at speed will minimise their risks, identify positive change and improve the way their teams work and collaborate. We see this as a real opportunity to push the boundaries of flexible behaviours and re-invent the way we work.

DCM is delighted to announce we are working in partnership with Lysis Operations to offer services to the market that will streamline and revolutionise remote working teams. Lysis and DCM are on a global mission to support organisations and teams who are operating remotely.

In our article, we focus specifically on 6 key areas to help your remote teams thrive and evolve in the new virtual world.

Productivity drivers: How to ensure team productivity remains high in a virtual world.

Creating a shared vision - Without a compelling purpose it’s difficult to get people excited especially when working remotely. Achieving high-energy levels is very important for virtual teams. It’s vital to set achievable but challenging goals and make sure they are aligned with the vision and are measurable and specific. We know from experience that highly productive teams are those who are entirely focused on outcomes and results.

Team Set-up – We believe teams that are organised into cells or pods are more efficient. Building autonomous small teams of cells/ pods can create high-impact and dynamic sub-teams within the main structure. The cells or pods should be cross-functional and self-managing.

How are your teams currently organised? As a tactical response to remote working, if your teams are not divided into Pods, we would recommend introducing a Pod structure within your team. If your teams are already in pods of 5-6, it might be worth considering sub-dividing the Pods into smaller groups of 3-4 for certain activities particularly during COVID-19 lockdown. This is a subtle change which can strengthen support networks, promote intimate collaboration and drive accountability. We would recommend having a QA presence in each Pod/ Cell to provide file review and subject matter expertise.

Pledging - A daily affirmation from each analyst which details the precise amount of work they intend to complete each day. Pledging helps to incite and maintain behaviour change. It also promotes a self-steering approach to managing and owning a portfolio of work which drives engagement and productivity. We believe that team members are more likely to achieve the goals they have personally set themselves. Individual goals would need to align with the overall team objectives.

Virtual dashboards- Designed in a way that replicate the intensity and content of traditional whiteboard sessions. Make the standout performers visible. Make the successes visible. If people are all striving for a common goal, they are likely to be more focused and engaged which is very important when working remotely. Make sure you end each day with a list of wins and achievements- this builds team camaraderie and drives engagement.

Recognition and reward- Providing public recognition for a team member’s effort can have a hugely positive affect on team dynamic and future performance. How are you rewarding the stand-out performers or those who have made significant progress? Have you considered a monthly incentive scheme to drive team engagement and performance?

Flexible Working

What can you do to better support your team in times of turbulence and disruption? It’s important to understand each team member’s personal situation and accommodate flexible working where possible. A team member will be far more driven to produce results if a leader has taken time to acknowledge their personal situation and has agreed a specific working arrangement.

Effective Leadership in a virtual world: How can leaders really make a difference in a remote world?

Develop a transformational leadership approach - This creates valuable and positive change in team members. It is carried out by motivating members of the group to achieve beyond what they could otherwise do. Transformational leaders have a vision that inspires and motivates followers to achieve important goals.

A transformational approach encourages big picture thinking, collaboration and a goal-oriented approach. Many senior leaders in a global organisation will already have experience of managing disparate teams, and therefore we would encourage them to support and coach less experienced leaders to move them towards a more transformational approach.

In a remote working environment, all managers, at all levels of the organisation, can benefit from a quick assessment of their leadership style. To start with it’s important to get the basics right:

  • Is your team communicating effectively?

  • Are they organised in the most efficient way?

  • Do staff feel supported?

  • Has work been allocated fairly and appropriately?

  • Do members of your team feel challenged?

  • Does the current technology enable your team to perform their job effectively?

  • Is there a strong culture of collaboration and knowledge sharing?

Promote independence and decision-making skills - this is vital for remote workers. Leaders should encourage their remote teams to take initiative and adopt a more self-steering approach. Without initiative, workers can’t empower themselves to engage and own their various tasks. Leaders must encourage their staff to take ownership and become accountable.

Effective communication - leaders need to understand the new world of remote working and adapt the way they communicate with their team. Leaders should set aside time to connect with their teams daily and be aware of each team member's personal circumstance. For example, virtual coffees, lunch and learns and introducing your family to your teams in a virtual capacity.

Ramping up levels of communication is essential to promote inclusiveness and evaluate emotions whilst working in a virtual environment. We recommend varying the means of communication to strike a good balance between group interaction and personal one-to-one dialogue.

Purpose -The whole team needs to know what target they’re trying to hit, why it matters, and how their personal contributions help. Understanding this is a key motivational driver.

Build trust and rapport with every team member. Trust is essential to an effective team as it builds a sense of safety. Leaders can build trust by aligning words with action. Rapport comes from getting to know them as a complete person which is extremely important when teams are working remotely. Foster relationships through creative interactions and gaining a deeper understanding of your team members. This will have a hugely positive impact on employee well-being and performance.

It’s a leader’s job to make sure they constantly check and challenge the working environment to ensure team member can perform at their optimal level.

Team diagnostic: Diagnose the strengths and weaknesses of your team to drive positive change.

Instant Snap Shot – a team assessment would help to identify improvement opportunities for virtual teams and highlight core factors that help or hinder sustainable team performance.

Continuous improvement opportunities for remote teams will help to boost motivation and drive engagement. It also demonstrates an on-going commitment to support, develop and improve team members in a time of isolation.

Improved awareness - a team diagnostic would provide greater awareness and alignment of untapped potential, team values & vision. This is a very effective way to understand the needs of your remote working team.

Identify knowledge gaps – a team diagnostic would help to uncover weakness which are limiting performance and bring to the light issues requiring immediate attention.

Motivation – There are many motivational theories that support the idea that people respond positivity when you take notice of them, when you invest in their career, and when you actively show you care about them as a person.

Conducting a team diagnosis will bring to life the various way you can improve a team of people, either by providing targeted training, supporting them to bridge certain knowledge gaps or investing in their future. If a team truly believes their leader cares about their personal development, they will become more committed and engaged.

Team Tune Up:Techniques to improve motivation and address issues identified by running a team diagnostic

Co-create the Vision - Make sure the vision has been co-created with your team so it will become more memorable. The vision needs to be in-built within the team’s DNA. It is crucial that team members are aware of the personal part they play in supporting the team’s vision.

Give each team member or Pod leader a domain of responsibility - What are your team members specifically accountable for? Self-worth is a key part of keeping a team tuned-up. A team who feel valued and relied upon tend to be highly tuned and focused.

Encourage the team to work outside of their comfort zone - It’s important to challenge team members to utilise their personal store of untapped knowledge and resource. When team members take on a new task or have additional responsibility, they become more focused, engaged and committed.

Smart Working – How can you utilise your team more effectively? Identify team members who have an in-built desire to ‘do more’. Grant ownership and delegate new tasks where possible. This will help to empower your virtual teams. For example, drafting a desk-top manual relating to a troublesome process, setting up and maintaining an issue resolution forum or providing targeted training to the team.

Career Development – a great way to tune a team is to carefully map out their career development opportunities with a clear path for progression and promotion. Ensure the team can make progress on their goals for growth and understand the career paths available.

High-impact Transparency, Governance & Powerful MI: How to improve visibility and maintain strong governance.

Develop a plan to ensure regular engagement - All meetings should focus on purpose and outcomes. High quality interaction will foster a closer working culture and will allow everyone to see important non-verbal cues.

Break-out Cell/ Pod meetings: This allows Pod leads/ Team leads to disseminate micro level detail and action direct feedback from their team. For instance, specific issues relating to a case, preparing for a triage session, or building a strategy to tackle a non-responsive stakeholder. People tend to be more engaged in smaller groups and talk more openly.

Digital Brainstorming - Important to set up regular dedicated forums for rapid resolution and troubleshooting – these should be fixed in the diary bi-weekly or more frequently as required and chaired by a different person each time. It’s important to have a regular forum for people to raise issues and solve challenges.

Integrating Client with Team - Invite the client to personally join Zoom meetings / Daily Pod updates and copy the client directly into team comms where appropriate. If the client can see what is happening on the ground it helps to manage perception and build trust. In times of disruption and reduced visibility, it’s important to demonstrate ongoing effort and proactivity.

Pro-active stakeholder management – It is critical to have a robust check-in mechanism with your key stakeholders when working remotely. How are you currently communicating with your stakeholders? We would recommend formal and regular touch points throughout the week where issues / challenges can be discussed at source and on an intraday basis.

We have developed a bespoke MI tool which can support your teams working remotely. Our MI provides storage and analysis of case-level detail, trend data, and the production of important reports and charts. The MI tool also provides a detailed case-movement analysis showing case churn and allowing the identification of process inefficiencies.

Bespoke training:Take advantage of targeted training to improve and motivate your team.

On-line Training Needs Assessment (TNA) - Whilst your teams are dispersed and working remotely it is key to demonstrate an on-going commitment to develop your staff. Is now the right time to run an on-line TNA for your remote team? We can provide an on-line TNA for your team to identify knowledge gaps and build a bespoke AML/ KYC training programme tailored to your needs.

PRISM Profiling – is an online, neuroscience-based instrument specifically designed to identify behavioural preferences that relate to personal relationships and work performance. Profiling your team in today’s virtual world could prove to be very beneficial. The PRISM tool has a ‘team strengths’ measurement facility which measures both a team’s performance and the quality of inter-personal relationships within the team. It also can be used as a 360-degree feedback tool to include generic or in-house competencies.

Instant New Joiner Support - We can provide remote training for your new joiners based upon the fundamentals of AML and KYC. This will help to ensure a seamless transition into your organisation and develop the knowledge base of your new joiners.

Seeding the more experienced team members with the new joiners. Working in pairs is an effective way to transfer knowledge and build confidence. This links back to our recommendation of dividing pods into smaller teams of 3-4 which drives collaboration and fosters closer working relationships.

DCM working in partnership with Lysis Operations