One of the really cool things about the technology available today is that your team can be located around the world and still accomplish its objectives. It's really not necessary anymore for the team leader and team members to be sitting together in cubes to get the job done.
But having a virtual team that is located in several different places can be a challenge. Adding a new team member to the team - and helping them be a successful team member - can be particularly problematic.
Here are a few things you can do to make the change successful for your new team member and your existing team.
Before the first interview, define the goals of the position. Outline what characteristics are important for the team member to demonstrate to be a successful member of the team.
Involve current team members in the interview process. Allowing team members to "get to know each other" before the hire will make the integration process smoother.
On day one, have the new team member start their employment at an office where other employees work if at all possible. It will help them begin to make connections within the company that will be invaluable.
Assign a "buddy" to the new team member to help them become a part of the team. This will be their "go to" person while they are learning about the ins and outs of your organization.
Map out the first six weeks of the new team member's employment including who they will meet, what aspects of the business they will be exposed to, and how they will report back to you. You'll want to include daily check ins with you during the first week and at least weekly check ins the following weeks.
Taking these steps to lay the ground work for a successful team member integration will pay off for you in the long term. What do you think? Do you have some special steps you've taken when bringing a new virtual team member into your team?