Many companies today are expanding their applicant pool by hiring candidates to work remotely. It’s a great way to hire hard-to-find employees with specific technical skills that do not wish to move. It’s also a great way to keep current employees that are moving. The challenge is, many times work-from-home employees need better interaction skills and work discipline to ensure a high level of work product and seamless interactions. Bosses tend to be skeptical about trusting the independent employee to get the work done and stay in communication with team members in the office.
Here are 6 keys to Lessen the Skepticism
Conduct Normal Due Diligence. When hiring a new remote person, conduct full due diligence (e.g., background checks, references and employment verification). For both the new hire and the moving employee, don’t forget to talk with current and previous bosses, co-workers, customers and vendors to ensure satisfactory interactions and work quality. For new hires, use a qualified core value assessment to ascertain someone’s level of integrity and reliability to ensure things will get done in a timely manner.
Use a Job Fit Assessment. Use a qualified assessment to clarify if the person fits the primary job duties and is capable of working alone remotely. The biggest expense that is often unrealized when taking a high-producing employee and moving them, is that the structure that supported their success will dramatically change! For example, does the person have the tech skills required to be productive? Can the sales person close a sale by themselves? Are they willing and capable to build a new network in their new community? These are only some of the critical issues to address upfront!
Ability to Work Independently. Company expectations that the employee show up and get the work done is easier to manage in an office setting. The built-in support system to readily handle customer inquiries and concerns is easier when the person is in the cubicle next door. Often overlooked, family expectations for pet, child and elder care often falls on the stay-at-home person. Talk to them upfront about the work expectations: specific work hours, interactions with others without distractions, and the ability to accomplish the work in a timely manner.
Designated Space and Confidentiality. Have them setup a separate workspace from the main living areas of their home. The computer and equipment should be for work use only and is supplied by the company! And more importantly, remember to talk about confidentiality. Confidentiality can be easily compromised when items are left out in the open, computers are not Wi-Fi protected, and computer screens can be easily seen by others.
Keep Them in the Loop. The reality is, coworkers may resent someone working from home and forget to keep them up-to-speed. Because they are not where the action is occurring, politically they will miss out on the subtle changes and expectations. As their boss, stay in direct communication and require attendance at team meetings (via video call or their physical presence). Also, weekly one-on-one conference calls can help ensure work flow, sharing of important communication and awareness of additional training that may be required.
On-site meetings. Require attendance at on-site quarterly or bi-annual meetings. This will encourage coworkers to meet one another and develop better working relationships. It’s a great opportunity for additional team training that can be harder to achieve relying solely on e-learning.
Managing people remotely as a boss requires sharpening your listening skills and developing an ability to manage results differently. Attracting and keeping top level talent makes it well worth your time!
©Jeannette Seibly, 2016
Jeannette Seibly has been a business advisor and executive coach for over 23 years; and along the way, guided the creation of three millionaires. She is laser sharp at identifying the leverage points that will take a business and its team to the next level of performance and success. Check out her website: http://SeibCo.com or contact Jeannette for a free, confidential conversation at http://SeibCo.com/contact.