4 Tips for Mastering the Virtual Office for Managers and Team Members

Virtual Team Member

As the workplace continues to evolve, virtual teams are becoming a reality for many organizations. According to GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com, 3.7 million employees (2.8 percent of the workforce) now work from home at least half the time and approximately 20-25 percent of the workforce teleworks at some frequency.

Virtual teams offer organizations access to a quality-level of talent that might not otherwise be attainable. At the same time, they present remote workers with newfound freedoms, converting commute time into personal time while working from their favorite place on earth. Whether you are managing the team or contributing to the team effort remotely, there are things you can do to maximize the opportunity.

For managers, it’s all about putting the right structure in place for virtual success.

  1. Define expectations from the outset. Be crystal clear about what is expected of each virtual team member in terms of availability, hours contributed, and how their performance will be evaluated. It’s also important to share how they may receive coaching and support from you and others when it’s needed. Let the team know that your “virtual door” is always open when it comes to helping them succeed.
  1. Encourage engagement. You need to think beyond simply providing virtual project data repositories. Designate preferred team communication channels that foster connectivity, such as web cams, video conferencing and instant messaging. Demonstrate the value of these communication tools to the team by being a proactive participant. Stay in touch. And stay involved.
  1. Nurture camaraderie. It’s easy to develop a sense of isolation working in the virtual office space. Look for conscious ways to humanize your virtual office so that your team members look forward to connecting and sharing with their peers. Using your imagination here encourages team members to do the same. Having each team member post their picture in their online profile is a start. Connect on social networks like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to stimulate those “water cooler” discussions that spark connectivity, drive interaction and fuel a more vibrant and creative virtual workplace. Don’t be afraid to inject a little fun into the mix with a “bring your pet to work day” or other light-hearted, video-conference opportunities on designated days.
  1. Recognize contributions. Acknowledgement is critical. Recognizing contributions within the team helps keep virtual teams motivated and on task. Mixing it up is key. On occasion, make your acknowledgements public to reinforce great work behavior for the whole team.

For the virtual team member, structure is equally important.

  1. Establish boundaries. Virtual offices offer their share of flexibility and freedom. But they also can lend themselves to an atmosphere of 24/7 access to your talents… especially in organizations that extend across multiple time zones, or span the globe. It’s best to have ground rules in place going in, so neither side feels like they are being taken advantage of from an availability perspective.
  1. Engage personally. Making a conscious effort to engage other team members on a personal level can pay dividends. Well-rounded interaction leads to the free exchange of ideas and information that can advance your work… while enriching the personal satisfaction you get from your professional life.
  1. Engage professionally. Reach out to team members via video chat or instant messaging regularly to draw inspiration, insights and a shared sense of enthusiasm for the task at hand. It can stimulate thought processes, while helping to prevent a sense of isolation. It will make you more productive in the long run.
  1. Leverage flexibility. Don’t be afraid to offer up suggestions to the group and your team manager – especially when it comes to technology. For example, if you find certain apps helpful, there’s a good chance your team will, too. This crosspollination of ideas and technologies is precisely how flexible organizations are able to accelerate their growth beyond industry expectations.

While the virtual office may not be right for every organization or department, these tips can help form the foundation of a highly successful and rewarding virtual team – for managers as well as the virtual team members.

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Congratulations to the 2016 Recipients of The Intersect Group Scholarship!

Four deserving high school seniors were selected as recipients of The Intersect Group Scholarship. Each has been awarded $3,000 to use for college tuition next year. Established to make it easier for students to choose science, technology, engineering and math careers, our scholarship lends support to dependent children of our consultants, client and colleagues who plan to become IT or Finance and Accounting professionals.

Jada Wilson

Scholarship recipients were carefully selected by a third-party committee based on academic achievement, the quality and content of a written essay, and the student’s character as demonstrated by activities and volunteerism.

These talented students are passionate, dedicated to their community and driven to make the world a better place. Congratulations to all of our winners, and thank you to everyone who applied!

Caroline Norman

We are thrilled to announce our four scholarship recipients. We surprised each of the recipients by delivering the good news in person. Check out the videos to see their reactions!

Jada Wilson: Jada Wilson is a graduating senior at Arabia Mountain High School (Lithonia, Ga.) She plans to enroll in the Mechanical Engineering program at Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, Ga.)

Davis Riddett

Caroline Norman: Caroline Norman is a 2016 graduate of Mount Pisgah Christian Academy (Alpharetta, Ga.) This fall, she will attend Samford University (Birmingham, Ala.) to pursue a degree in Finance.

Davis Riddett: Davis Riddett graduated from Scholars Guild Academy (Loganville, Ga.) He plans to enroll in the Georgia Institute of Technology Industrial Engineering & Design program.

Kylie Morris

Kylie Morris:Kylie Morris is a graduate of Fellowship Christian High School (Roswell, Ga.) She plans to attend the University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa, Ala.)

Our scholarship program SERVES… to help others succeed.
For over a decade, we’ve worked to provide opportunities for our talented consultants at great client companies. We know just how challenging the current talent shortage for IT and Finance and Accounting professionals is and we want to be part of the solution. Through The Intersect Group Scholarship program, our vision is to improve our community by making it easier for students to choose education as a priority in their lives.

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Know How You’ll Grow

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Before you take that new position, be sure you know how your new employer will help you develop professionally. Since a growing number of candidates, like you, fully expect to get training on the job, it’s important to find out up front what professional training the company offers and how they approach ongoing education… before you sign on the dotted line.

If the company has a serious commitment to professional development, your interviewer may bring up the topic as a perk of your employment. If they don’t, you should be prepared to broach the subject.

Keep it positive and demonstrate your desire to make a difference within the organization. Let them know that you see ongoing education and professional development as tools you want to take advantage of – both in order to further your career, and make the maximum contribution possible to the success of the business. Keep in mind that ongoing education can take many forms, so ask for specifics.

  1. Do they offer formalized training programs and development courses?
  2. If not, are they willing to pay for, or at least contribute to, the costs associated with external training?
  3. Do they offer online options that would enable you to pick and choose the specific courses that are most important to you and would allow you to learn them at your own pace?
  4. As part of the growth process, do they believe in routinely involving you in projects designed to stretch your skills and develop competencies?
  5. Are there mentors or associates who can help coach you and provide the direction needed to expand your skills and capabilities?

The answers to these questions can help determine whether the offer before you matches your long-term career objectives. You need to be realistic. However, your career development path can be every bit as important as initial pay scale and title when you consider your opportunities for advancement within the company, as well as the professional field of your choice.

Still looking for your dream job? We can help! Check out our latest job openings and join our Talent Network today!

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Carrots for the Mobile Workforce

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Today’s IT and F&A managers are faced with the challenge of engaging and motivating the fastest growing segment of the workforce – millennials. Born between 1982 and 2000, this generation has been raised in a smartphone culture. As a result, they are great multi-taskers and can assimilate information at a blistering pace. But they also have particular workplace needs and expectations that many employers and department managers are just starting to get used to.

And according to statistics, they already outnumber baby boomers in the workforce, and by 2020 they will be the single largest segment of the workforce. So the real question is, what can you do to help leverage this unique resource? Here’s a start.

  1. Unleash the power of purpose. Millennials want to know that what they’re doing matters. Use this motivator to your advantage. As they are on-boarded, clearly delineate their role within the organization and how they personally can contribute to your company’s success.
  1. Create ways to satisfy their thirst for advancement. Millennials crave promotions and professional development. If possible, add layers that enable promotions to be awarded sooner rather than later. Also, build in opportunities for on-the-job learning experience through projects that will stretch their personal and professional skill sets.
  1. Fuel their desire for feedback. Don’t wait for formal, annual reviews. Establish opportunities at the beginning and end of projects to outline expectations and provide feedback regarding what they’ve done well and how they could improve. This approach can net real results for your department over time and help keep valuable talent engaged, motivated and satisfied. When formal reviews do roll around, be sure to circle back to that sense of purpose. Tell them how they have helped the company fulfill its corporate vision. And, be sure to point out what steps they can take to help take the company to the next level.
  1. Look for creative ways to meet their expectation of ongoing education. Most millennials expect their employer to provide ongoing education, yet they aren’t wired for traditional course- or seminar-style training. If you have online resources that they can use to steadily access bite-size bits of knowledge, encourage them to access those resources. If you don’t, put their problem solving talents to use. Challenge your millennials to find resources that fit their needs. Give them opportunities to share what they find with their peers. Then, use what they uncover to build your own resource directory for future use.
  1. Reward performance with flexibility. Since millennials are eager to achieve and tend to be turned off by rigid corporate structure, increased workplace flexibility can be a powerful motivator – especially in the IT industry. Reward exceptional performance on a project with freedoms, such as flex hours or working from home.

Motivating millennials can be challenging. But putting these powerful carrots to use can help your department, and the millennials in it, achieve a newfound degree of success.

 

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TIG Selected as a 2016 Top Workplace by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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The Intersect Group (TIG) has been named a Top Workplace by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for the third yearThe annual award ranks the best companies to work for in the metro Atlanta region. More than 2,552 companies were nominated and the top 150 were compiled and recognized at an awards ceremony at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre on March 22.

“The Top Workplace award is special to us because it’s based solely on the feedback of our colleagues,” says Rebecca Rogers Tijerino, CEO, The Intersect Group. “It says a lot about the culture we’ve established, where our colleagues are inspired to succeed by serving; it’s this passion that drives our growth and helps TIG attract talented professionals who want to excel and have a great time in the process.”

The Top Workplace list is based on the results of an anonymous employee feedback survey administered by WorkplaceDynamics, LLC, a leading research firm that specializes in organizational health and workplace improvement. The survey measures several aspects of workplace satisfaction and culture, including Alignment, Execution and Connection.

Our colleagues recognized TIG for our high-quality onboarding and training process, open door policy, and work environment in which everyone has the opportunity to share ideas. Not to mention the many workplace perks – from unlimited time off; to monthly All Star Winners recognition and an annual Legends Trip for top performers; to activities such as Pampering Day, a Dessert Cook Off and our not-to-be-missed company holiday party to wrap up the year.

But being named a Top Workplace isn’t just about the perks – it’s much deeper than that. 

“To be a Top Workplace, organizations must meet our strict standards for organizational health. And who better to ask about work life than the people who live the culture every day—the employees,” says Doug Claffey, CEO, WorkplaceDynamics “Time and time again, our research has proven that what’s most important to them is a strong belief in where the organization is headed, how it’s going to get there, and the feeling that everyone is in it together.” Claffey adds, “Without this sense of connection, an organization doesn’t have a shot at being named a Top Workplace.”

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution published the complete list of 2016 Top Workplaces on March 27. See the winners and learn more about the selection process.

 

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Excel Training Gives Candidates a Leg Up in the Job Market

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In today’s tech-oriented economy, it’s no surprise that employers are increasingly looking for candidates with advanced computer skills, especially in core programs like Microsoft Excel. A strong knowledge of Excel is particularly important (if not critical) for anyone looking to build a career in Finance & Accounting or IT.

Microsoft Excel is one of the most widely used business software programs on the market today. It has many applications, from simple data entry to complex problem solving and reporting, that are used to make important business decisions.

To help meet this increasing demand, The Intersect Group recently began offering Excel Pivot Tables and V-lookups training for our candidates via workshop-style classes. Our training sessions focus on helping participants build advanced Excel skills that they can immediately apply in the workplace.

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“As business becomes more and more fast-paced and data-centric, candidates need to be prepared to work smarter,” says Hannah Ralston, F&A Executive Recruiter for The Intersect Group. “Data analytics and advanced knowledge of Excel, combined with strong communication skills, will continue to be in high demand. Whether you’re job-hunting or simply looking to grow in your career, our training sessions are designed to help candidates stand out from the competition and achieve success.”

After several successful training sessions in Atlanta, we are excited to expand future sessions to candidates in both Charlotte and Dallas.

Interested in attending an upcoming training session? Contact us for details!

(Sessions are open to all TIG candidates)

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Celebrating 10 Years of The Intersect Group

2016 marks an important year for The Intersect Group. From serving clients and candidates for 10 years; to growing our Dallas team and establishing a new region in Charlotte; to being selected once again as one of the Nation’s Best and Brightest Companies to Work For®we certainly have a lot to celebrate.

Over the years we’ve continued to evolve, expanding our team and breadth of services – none of which would be possible without our valued client partners, and our outstanding team of colleagues and candidates. As we celebrate our 10th Anniversary, we’d like to take a moment to reflect on a few of our happiest moments…

10 Year

Milestones from TIG’s 10 Years

  • 2006 – Started as an IT staffing firm, then added Finance & Accounting
  • 2007 – Moved into our current Atlanta headquarters location
  • 2008 – Achieved record year by placing 140 consultants at client companies
  • 2009 – Ranked #2 in GA’s Fastest Growing Small Mid-Market Companies
  • 2010 – Named to the prestigious INC. 500 List by INC. Magazine
  • 2011 – Opened Dallas office
  • 2012 – Honored with Good Neighbor Award for supporting SafeHouse Outreach
  • 2013 – Selected as one of the Nation’s Best and Brightest Companies to Work For®
  • 2014 – Kicked off­ National Recruiting Center
  • 2015 – Developed Scholarship Program to support the 4Cs (our Clients, Colleagues, Consultants and Community)
  • 2016 – Acquired Charlotte & Dallas offices of technology staffing firm 3Ci

Do you have a favorite TIG memory? We’d love to hear it! Share in comments, Twitter or Facebook with #10yearsofTIG.

Here’s to the next 10 years!

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Congratulations to the AIMA Brittney Fox Watts Scholarship Recipients!

The Intersect Group was proud to present one of this year’s awards to Matthew TIG_AIMA_Check presentationGolino, senior at Georgia Tech. Matthew and the other scholarship recipients were announced at Celebrate ATL, an event hosted by the Atlanta Interactive Marketing Association (AIMA) on Wednesday, Jan. 27.

Matthew graduates in May from Georgia Tech with a B.S. degree in Computer Engineering, and has already accepted a full-time job at General Motors Innovation Center (Roswell, GA), which he will start in August 2016.

As a company, we’re big advocates of being lifelong learners. That’s why we’re excited to support organizations such as AIMA, which honor outstanding students in our community and help to promote the education and retention of individuals in STEM fields.

The AIMA Educational Foundation Brittney Fox Watts Memorial Scholarship honors the life and memory of Atlanta interactive marketer Brittney Fox Watts by assisting colleges, universities and interactive organizations through enrichment of their internship programs.

To learn more about AIMA, visit www.atlantaima.org.

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The Intersect Group Launches New STEM Scholarship

For a decade, The Intersect Group has worked to provide opportunities for our talented consultants at great client companies. We know just how challenging the current talent shortage for IT and Finance and Accounting  professionals is and we want to be part of the solution.

That’s why we established The Intersect Group Scholarship. Our viTIG-Scholarshipsion is to improve our community by making it easier for students to choose education as a priority in their lives.

“In line with our core values and commitment to serving, we wanted to establish a new and meaningful tradition to show appreciation and support to our clients, candidates, colleagues and community,” says Rebecca Rogers Tijerino, CEO, The Intersect Group.“This new scholarship program is built on the idea that in order to realize the full potential of top talent, one must first be given the opportunity to succeed. Our hope is that this new program will give talented students in our community the support they need to succeed with a degree that’s meaningful to them.”

Through our scholarship program, we are excited to lend support to dependent children of our consultants, clients, and colleagues, who plan to become IT or Finance and Accounting professionals by seeking a degree in a related field. This year, we’ve set aside $12,000 to be used for four $3,000 scholarships.

The new scholarship program is one of many examples of The Intersect Group’s investment in continuous learning and STEM education. We also support programs like MentorNet, and organizations such as the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) and the Atlanta Interactive Marketing Association (AIMA), which promote the education and retention of individuals in STEM work and offer scholarship opportunities for those interested in these fields.

From now until March 31, 2016, eligible students can apply for a scholarship online. The four 2016 recipients will be announced in May.

Click here for more details.

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TIG Completes Acquisition of 3Ci Charlotte and Dallas Offices

Welcome new colleagues, consultants and clients!

We are thrilled to welcome the 3Ci Charlotte and Dallas offices to The Intersect Group (TIG) family. On January 13, TIG completed the acquisition of two offices of the technology staffing firm 3Ci, Charlotte and Dallas. With established locations in Atlanta and Dallas, TIG’s growing workforce serves clients nationwide and the acquisition will increase the company’s Dallas market presence and establish a new region in Charlotte. In addition, the acquisition expands our overall national bench strength and talent pool.

Founded in 1978, 3Ci offers almost 40 years of technology staffing expertise with four locations in the southern US. The sale of its Charlotte and Dallas offices will allow 3Ci to apply renewed focus on its geographic core in Atlanta and Birmingham.

“We are excited to share expanded service offerings with the clients and employees of 3Ci in Dallas and Charlotte in the areas of consulting, finance and accounting” said Rebecca Rogers Tijerino, CEO, The Intersect Group. “Our commitment to advancement and success by serving provides an exciting opportunity for the colleagues and consultants of 3Ci to experience the benefits of high growth and investment in technology, training and development.”

“Our Charlotte and Dallas offices are blessed with multiple enterprise level clients that 3Ci has been serving for years,” said 3Ci President Rob MacLane. “3Ci has a strong track record of service and delivery of IT staffing services within those accounts. The Intersect Group’s finance/accounting and consulting offerings will provide additional service offerings to this long-term clientele.”

Named as one of the fastest growing privately held companies in the country, The Intersect Group has an established track record of exceptional growth. In addition, the company has been selected over and over again as one of the Nation’s Best and Brightest Companies to Work For®. We are committed to maintaining that tradition as we grow.

This acquisition leverages our strength in IT staffing and will provide value through the extension of consulting and finance and accounting staffing services to existing 3Ci clients. Along with our focus on continuous business and process improvements, the expansion positions The Intersect Group for ongoing growth.

Here’s to a fantastic start to 2016!

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