How to Hire and Manage Remote Team Members
With the advancement of technology and recently, the outbreak of the pandemic, companies, and organizations are adopting flexible work styles. The most popular is remote work. The past few years have witnessed the creation of job roles like freelancer, copywriter, content creator, social media manager, and countless others. Employers have gone with the flow and many businesses today are fashioned in a way that does not necessarily require all or no employee to come into a physical office. When employers work remotely, they carry out their roles and responsibilities from a distance, a venue different from the office environment, probably their homes. Sounds cool, right? Everyone has dreamed of working from the comfort of their home at some time. With software apps like Zoom, GoogleMeet, Slack, or any other app that enables them to carry out their work virtually, employers can stay connected with their employees and even hold board meetings as if they were in a physical meeting room.
As an employer though, you might be faced with the problem of managing your employees from a distance. You could also worry about recruiting and hiring employees when your business is remote.
How to Hire Remote Employees
- Know What Type of Talent You’re Looking For: Even though you are hiring remotely, you have to be as careful as when you are doing in-person recruitment. You may even need to be more thorough because you do not have the time to train employees or correct mistakes. Therefore be specific with your requirements. What kind of skills does your business require? Do you need someone proficient in the use of a specific app or website? Do you need someone living in a particular location? You need to consider questions like these to help you narrow down your search. After that, you can proceed to the next step.
- Search in the Right Places: Social media is ever ready to assist you on this one. When you already know what you are looking for, go on apps like LinkedIn or websites that list remote work opportunities to advertise your opening. You can also source for freelancers on apps like Fiverr and UpWork where their profile and recommendations will help you decide if they are the best fit got you.
- Conduct a Virtual Interview: Yes, even when you have gone through a candidate’s social media profile and CV, it is still necessary to conduct an interview. An interview, though virtual, is an opportunity to hear firsthand from your would-be employee about their skillset both hard and soft, their experience especially with working remotely, their proficiency level in using software tools and which tool they prefer, their skills, remuneration, work hours, and their preferred work style It is also the right them to gauge the level of a candidate’s interest in your industry. This helps you decide if they are committed to the same cause as you. When conducting a virtual interview, do everything you would have done if the interviewee was sitting right across from you. Prepare your questions. Check your device and internet. Be on time and ensure that there are no distractions.
- Have an Onboarding Session: When you are convinced that you have made a good hire and they accept your offer, do not just ask them to start work. As with a physical office, you need to welcome them and walk them through the work process in your organization. This includes scheduling an online meeting where you can introduce them to the team and sending them an onboarding template that will help them understand your company and what the work pattern is supposed to look like. You also need to see the quality of their work. A tip that has worked for some remote employees is asking to see a work sample before assigning a task to a recruit.
So you’ve hired remote employees and now your team is made up of people working from probably different cities or even continents. How do you get the team to cooperate and work together? How do you manage the team and ensure that everybody’s effort merges seamlessly? Without your employees seeing you, how do you guarantee that they are going to their tasks on time? Find your answers in this next section.
How to Manage Remote Employees
- Establish Clear Expectations for Each Individual: From the get-go, tell each employee what is required of him. For instance, if you are working with a team of writers, how many articles is Mr. X supposed to submit in a month? A day? A week? How many articles is the editor required to proofread? What’s the deadline? Are there any repercussions for failing to meet up? Do you expect daily or weekly check-ins? Let every employee know the requirements of their role. Be explicit with what you expect. When all employees know what is required of them, it’s like having a guideline that makes the work arranged.
- Write Down General Policies: We mentioned earlier that providing remote employees with an onboarding template is an important part of the hiring process that helps them know what to do. That invariably makes managing your employees easy. After you must have told each employee what is expected of him as an individual, there are general rules that apply to everybody that each employee should know. Documenting those policies makes it simpler to remember and gives you and them the right to act on those plans. Document vital things like time for meetings. That way, everyone knows that it’s the norm to join the Zoom meeting by 4 pm every Friday.
- Communicate: Do not leave your employers hanging. Reply promptly to messages and emails. Answer questions they have. Check-in regularly. Schedule meetings. This does not mean that you have to turn into the annoying micromanaging boss that everyone hates. However, do not stay away from supervising your employees even for a day. It could just be a chat or an SMS to know how a particular project is going. If you stay away for long without communicating then you might come back to find that nothing much has been accomplished.
- Make Effort to Bond With Every Employee and Make them Feel Included: It might be difficult to bond as a team and create connections when you can’t meet your employees in person. To foster a sense of camaraderie and belonging between all colleagues, year everyone the same. Give everyone a fair chance to contribute and make suggestions during meetings. Your employees, remote or in-house make up your company. Include them when making crucial decisions. Listen to each employee attentively and hear their feedback and complaints. Introduce new employees to old ones and remote employees to in-house employees to show that they are all on the same team. Get to know more than just an employee’s name. A friendly chat with an employee asking about their well-being or their weekend does not break any rules. If you have in-house employees, give remote employees the same benefits and privileges they have, like lunch breaks. Ensure that your employees are satisfied as this will increase their productivity. When your team is united, then you’ll find it easier to manage.
- Utilize Technology: Technologies are your eyes and ears. Employ all necessary tools and app features like screen sharing and time tracking. For instance, there’s a feature on GoogleDocs that lets you see when and how someone is working on a document and even comment on things you think should be changed.
- Avoid Micromanaging: Don’t overdo the managing. Give employees enough space to work in the style that works best for them. Trust them enough to be independent and handle tasks on their own. Ask for updates, briefings, or progress reports when necessary not every hour. Breathing down an employee’s neck can cause stress and your plans of pushing him to productivity will backfire.
Hiring employees that work from home has its benefits. They don’t have to complain about a commute and on your part as an employer, you save money on office space and other expenses you incur with an in-house employee. Remote employees are also talented because they are skilled and have the technical know-how to comfortably work on projects from their comfort zone. However, if you find out that a remote employee is being unproductive or slacking off, take necessary measures to address the issue. Overall, the advantages of remote hiring outweigh the disadvantages as we saw from the recent pandemic outbreak.