Original Post by Jennifer Parris
Ask any employer and he will tell you that the key to a successful company is a happy, unified, and productive workforce. After all, when employees are unhappy and disengaged from their jobs, the company on the whole can suffer. That’s why it’s crucial to look for the signs that will let you know your virtual team will be a success. As you build your remote workforce, here are five ways to ensure your remote workers will succeed—and be happy—working for your company.
Hire people with the right skills.
One of the first steps to ensuring your remote workers will succeed starts right at the very beginning during the hiring process. Job seekers who know about your company (and are excited to work for you!) are a good step in the right direction. While it’s not always a requirement, hiring someone who has listed previous work-from-home experience on his resume and cover letter can be crucial, since working remotely isn’t always for everyone. The job candidate should also have some tech skills (i.e., using programs and videoconferencing tools, instant messaging, etc.) so he can troubleshoot any possible issue that may arise.
Set clear goals.
Once you’ve hired the right candidate, it’s imperative to let your employee know what is expected of him. Sans a traditional office, it becomes all the more important for an employee to understand not only the ins and outs of his job, but what you as an employer want him to do. Setting clear goals can be done after the hiring process as your employee settles into his virtual role, and can be achieved via phone calls, a detailed job description, and good communication. Which leads to…
Open the lines of communication.
Naturally, as your employee begins working, he is bound to come across issues and have questions. But if he feels that he should already have the answers—or worse, feels cut off from the company—his productivity is sure to plummet. Make sure your employee knows that you have a remote open-door policy in which he can come to you with any questions at any time. Together, you can decide which way makes sense for him to post his q’s (for example, maybe most matters can be cleared up via IM, and for more prickly problems, jumping on the phone is a better option). It’s up to you, though, to ensure your employee feels he can reach out with any issues.
As a remote employer, it’s easy to get caught up with your own job responsibilities. You should keep note of how your remote workers are doing as well though. Did his work start out stellar but start to become subpar? Are deadlines being missed? Is your employee not taking advantage of the company’s online hangouts in order to engage socially with his virtual colleagues? Do a review of how he’s doing, and make a note where there is room for applause—or improvement.
Schedule regular check-ins.
Sure, you’ve set up some proven metrics in order to make sure your employee is hitting all of his deadlines. But how is he really doing? This is why you should schedule frequent check-ins with your employee. Find out if he’s happy in his role with the company, or if he’s grown bored with his job duties. Perhaps he has some other skills (such as marketing or social media, for example) that are not part of his job description but that he would like to incorporate into his current position. By talking to your remote employee, you can find out not only his strengths and weaknesses, but how to help him—and your company—succeed.
Ensuring that your remote workers will succeed is a never-ending process. But by staying on top of your team, you can create a virtual work environment where everyone feels productive, valued, and most importantly, happy.