This is a guest post from Carolyn Krokus. Carolyn is a contributor for 365 Business Tips and can be found enhancing blogs by writing lively and relevant content. She is a professional digital marketer, which has helped with branding and implementing new strategies.
A multitude of benefits come to mind when preparing to hire remote employees: working with people around the world, not having to commute in the morning, finding a balance between work and travel, and not having to pay for office or facilities, and the list goes on.
Even with all the benefits for both managers and employees, all people involved with the hiring process have to hold themselves accountable.
This article will help explain how managers can be better about holding remote employees to higher standards with their work, while also still being self-disciplined.
Here are some tips for attracting, hiring, and supporting remote workers.
Build an impactful employer brand online
Many applicants who are looking for a remote position are first exposed to prospective companies when researching employment online. Companies should enable themselves to attract top talent by making their first impression a great one.
It is advised for companies to have their webmasters put in a substantial amount of time to help build up online presence and visibility.
If companies want a great reputation for hiring remote employees, they need to be cognitive of how they are being perceived online, while also being conscientious of their reviews. In doing so, applicants can reassure themselves they are applying for a well-respected job.
This can include updating your “About” or “Careers” sections with information specifically designed for remote workers. When describing your company be sure to:
- Describe your way of working. Describe what the job entails and what employees’ obligations will be. Explain the level of flexibility you offer, paid and unpaid vacations, setting hours, etc.
- Include employee testimonials. Ask your current remote employees to tell their story, what made them choose a remote job and why they stay at your company.
- Showcase in-person meetings. Share photos from company events or retreats using photos or videos. Face-to-face contact is important and builds a feeling of community and lets remote employees know that they are valued and not forgotten.
- Present the values that define your culture. Every company wants to hire and work with people who share the same values. Be open about what you’re looking for in employees and what kind of qualities are most important to your team.
Be clear about what is expected of the job
All managers should be particular with what they ask potential employees during the interview process. These types of questions are crucial when beginning to build trust between managers and remote workers. Managers should be prepared to notice any red flags during phone interviews when screening potential employees.
For most in-house positions, managers can ask potential employees to demonstrate their skills and abilities through mini assignments during the in-person interview. However, online tests or assignments can help put remote workers’ skills to the test. It is very common for hiring managers to ask their applicants to provide a portfolio of their past work experience.
Managers should utilize an on-boarding checklist to ensure their hiring process is streamlined and each applicant has the proper resources that they need. Don’t be afraid to ask the applicants to expand on certain company core values. A question as simple as this can help weed out the weaker applicants from the stronger ones.
It is imperative to set up multiple phone or video call interviews with various managers. For managers who are hiring remote employees for the first time, should feel it is necessary to invite the candidate to visit the main office for a week or two. It will bring more comfort knowing both parties are able to put a face to the voice or email when beginning to work with one another.
Create expectations from the very beginning, for both the employee and employer, so that remote employees know what is required of them. As for work completed daily, it is encouraged for managers to mandate what is an expected workload on a given day.
For example, many remote employees work from home due to family obligations. Be clear about how many hours you expect them to work as a minimum per week. Managers should also be interested enough to ask the applicants what their environment will look like. Managers should also ask about all applicants’ time management, task management skills, and how they plan to handle or avoid distractions.
Ask for feedback to enhance future application cycles
Employers should always look to improve their hiring processes. Use an anonymous survey to get feedback from new employees. Find out what would have helped them with the on-boarding process, what worked well, etc. This can help improve your hiring process in the future.
Take the time to train your managers
Managing remote employees requires a different set of skills from managers who are used to working primarily with on-site employees. Training managers on how to work with remote employees is essential to helping them and the virtual company become successful.
Managers that have never managed remote workers will have to learn to hone in on their communication skills. Newly trained managers should show strong characteristics of being able to articulate duties and tasks. These tasks and duties should then turn into clear action points to help summarize what responsibilities need to be completed. Managers need to also be conscientious of how they might be coming across only through writing when delegating out tasks.
Jacob Dayan from Community Tax says that “Giving your managers the freedom to implement their own ideas for their specific team will inevitably create healthy competition between teams and managers. Competition gets a bad rap in some circles but when used correctly it can be an excellent motivator and even drive innovation.”
Quality over quantity when it comes to communication with remote workers
Regardless of whether people are working from home or in the office, no one likes being harassed over communication channels. There should always be an open line of communication, but side chatter should be limited to what is essential for work to ensure focus is maintained.
When providing feedback on areas that need improvement, make it easier on everyone by making the criticism constructive. That way you can give your remote worker the communication tools to be successful in the future. In exchange, employees will feel as though managers are interested in their employees succeeding.
No news is not always good news for some people. As a remote employee, it is easy to feel forgotten and unappreciated. It is crucial for managers to find a balance between the quality and quantity of communication they have with their remote employees. As a manager, be sure to let your remote employee know when they have done a good job. Take the time to be specific about what they did well. This can be as simple as sending a direct message or an email.
It is also important to decide when it is appropriate to meet face-to-face with a remote employee. For small questions or clarifications direct messaging or email is ideal, but for very complicated or sensitive topics, quality face-to-face communication helps build more substantial targeted solutions.
Communication is a two-way street. As a manager, let remote workers know when management is open to communication. Before new hires start the job, be sure to provide how accessible management will be during working hours. Especially at the beginning when they might have lots of questions.
Have fun with your remote workers
With virtual employees miles apart from one another, it is easy for some remote workers to feel undervalued and forgotten. A company outing can be a great way for remote workers to get to know the rest of the team. If there is a central office, schedule a company picnic or lunch. If there are many remote workers, try to organize a company retreat.
Going to conventions and planning company trips gives the employees something to look forward to either as a reward, for good performance, or simply the opportunity to meet and discuss projects in greater detail. Team building and creating connections are especially important even when working remotely.
Also, be sure to celebrate when goals are met and recognize someone when they did a good job! Some good ideas for perks for remote workers are: company discounts or gift cards to local businesses, noise-canceling headphones, covering courses on skills related to the job, etc.
Working remotely can give employees and companies a variety of freedom and mobility, but it also comes with its own set of challenges. Flexible hours and working environments can offer distractions, and not being in the office can make communication difficult.
However, if the company has set expectations and guidelines for communication and business processes, these difficulties can be overcome!