As more and more people work remotely, the role of the hiring manager is evolving in complex ways. The Remote Leadership Institute reports that 70 percent of managers at Fortune 100 companies have at least one remote team member.
Even so, many managers are hesitant to hire remotely. They can’t help but conjure the image of employees sitting in front of the TV eating Fritos. This perception was challenged in 2017 by a two-year Stanford University study that concluded that the productivity of remote workers is significantly higher than that of their office counterparts. The same study concluded that they are also more satisfied.
Businesses are in transition. How do you manage people you have never even seen face-to-face? How do you create opportunities for your remote team to learn? Find out how businesses are staying in touch with today’s HR needs.
Some Jobs Can’t be Done Remotely
Manufacturing, distribution, and high-level fundraising are among the jobs that can’t be done remotely. This is the first thing that employers must bear in mind. Remote hires can save your company a lot of money on rent and optimize productivity in situations where the employees commute regularly, but it is simply not always possible.
Consistency is key. You as the manager must apply rules and procedures to everyone on the remote team equally. Building a level playing field makes it easier for the whole team. Keep in mind that if a rule is consistently being broken it could be that the rule itself needs to change.
Listen to Your Teammates
Managers must own the responsibility of making sure procedures and expectations are in place. However, this does not meant they are the only ones creating these procedures and expectations. Remember that your teammates are the real experts in what it takes to get the job done. They are the ones who know what has to get done and in what order. They will also have insight on where the process can get bogged down.
Publicly Post Learning Material
Sometimes the biggest slowdown for a company process is a lack of briefing or preparatory material. These cases can result in delays where your coworkers have to find out information on their own that you or somebody from a different department already had access to. Having a Slack channel rich in links for resources, leadership development, and personal development strategies can incentivize everyone on the team in the company’s everyday affairs. This will contribute to overall success.
Slack Working Agreement
This valuable little document is a page or form where everybody on the remote team agrees on times and procedures to help each other. Questions that this form should answer include:
- What are mutually agreeable turn-around times?
- What times of the day will people be available?
- Who is available to help with specific tasks?
Teams should have a special meeting to decide which of these points are important. This page will smooth interactions among team members and encourage everybody to be invested in their working environment.
Be Open Unless the Situation is Confidential
If one employee is being treated differently from everybody else, it is important that everybody understands the reasons. If the reasons are confidential, the team should at least be made aware that there is a special project or personal situation underway. If openness is neglected, the rest of the team won’t know what they are working with. This is particularly problematic when you consider that the employee receiving preferential treatment may be involved in something that must be spoken about objectively and planned around by everyone else.
Celebrate Victories. Name High Performers
If a team member has a victory, the whole team has won. This is a good reason to start a program that rewards teams who perform well. That will incentivize everybody to work better and fuel workplace motivation. One thing managers can do is award gift cards to the highest performing employees every month. According to NYT bestseller, The Five Love Languages, by Gary Chapman, many people are motivated by a deep desire to be recognized publicly.
Allow Experts To Lead Temporarily
In situations where high technical skill is required for a project or task, it can help team cohesion and long-term communication if managers allow technical experts to lead the remote team. The important thing is not that everyone who is offered responsibility accepts it, but that managers demonstrate trust in their employees. It also allows the expert to maximize his time by delegating.
Managing a remote team requires the same old things as managing an in-person team, but through different tactics. You must still develop trust, but, for example, extra steps must be taken to make these efforts as public as possible.