Working with virtual employees, teams and even suppliers can be highly rewarding. This requires that management be open and transparent with these employees about goals and the activities you want them to undertake, and then provide a forum to discuss and provide feedback.
Virtual employees need to be self-driven, have good work discipline, and have good communication and reporting skills. These employees are self-motivated, like to challenge themselves and who need little to no supervision.
Understanding an employee's personal work ethic, personality and skills assists in ensuring that the potential employee is not only the right fit for an assigned job role, but also possesses the focus and soft skills necessary to succeed as a remote employee. Careful hiring practices up front lessen the risk of dealing with troublesome employees later.
Managing mobile workers
Managing remote employees is especially challenging for a number of reasons from time zone differences to language barriers and even local holidays and festivals. Some tips that organizations can follow in order to avoid some common blunders:
- Time zone differences can be particularly challenging when working with multiple remote team members. If you can't accommodate all schedules, be flexible and rotate meeting times to reduce the impact on any single remote employee or team.
- Those who are not native English speakers or do not understand our social and business culture may apply a different meaning to what is said, expected, or done. Ensure that you have a mutual understanding.
- Local customs, traditions and mores may have inherently different ways of approaching problem solving or teamwork. It's easy to lose rapport and trust with virtual team members if you unknowingly break cultural mores. Stay focused professionally,
- Local holidays, events, festivals and the like can impact project schedules as well as working relationships with other employees, customers or suppliers. Incorporate accommodations for those holidays at the project planning stage.
Understand regional cultures within the U.S.
Within the U.S. there are five distinct geographical regions - West, Southwest, Midwest, Southeast and Northeast - each with its own set of values, demographics and approaches to conducting business. A common mistake in managing or working with virtual teams is overlooking the importance of regional cultural differences on professional relationships, both internally and externally.
Whenever possible, his company tries to hire someone locally who understands how business is conducted in that region.
Create a good reporting process
Reporting and communication are the most essential elements of a successful mobile work force relationship. Ensure that you're speaking the same "language" when communicating with remote team members, regardless of their job role. Make use of available tools, such as file sharing services, cloud processing, and video conferencing to ensure communications are received and understood. Establish guidelines for best practices when it comes to managing communication with remote employees.
IT Resource Hiring Kit - Must have tool to be successful in hiring and retaining virtual employees
- Latest IT Salary Survey - The salary survey draws on data collected throughout the year via extensive Internet-based survey instruments and completed survey forms from businesses throughout the United States and Canada. The survey data reflects IT salaries in 78 major cities in the United States as well as 23 cities in Canada. Summary data is provided in both the PDF document and a separate Excel Spreadsheet.
- Salary Survey Job Descriptions (PDF) The job descriptions are provided as a 206 page indexed PDF document for all of the positions surveyed. The PDF file can be viewed and printed.
- Interview and Hiring Guide (WORD and PDF) Includes two electronic forms: Background Check Authorization and Interview Questionnaire.
- IT Hiring Kit - Silver Edition
- Internet and IT Job Descriptions (Word and eReader) The plus 288 Job Descriptions have been extracted from Janco's Internet IT and Position Descriptions HandiGuide™. Each job description has a copyright date of . - Includes the 72 positions surveyed (WORD).
- IT Hiring Kit - Silver Edition
- Internet and IT Positions Description HandiGuide™(PDF) The Internet and IT Position Descriptions HandiGuide™ over 800 pages; which includes sample organization charts, a job progression matrix, and all of the job descriptions. The book also addresses Fair Labor Standards and the ADA. Also included are tools to help you expand, evaluate and define your enterprise's unique additional required. Those tools include:
- Job Evaluation Questionnaire
- Position Description Questionnaire
- Job Progression Matrix (Job Family Classifications)
- Candidate Interview Control Log