It goes without saying that the remote workforce trend and so-called “telecommuting” is becoming more and more popular every day. Some employers are already disappointed about it, others are doubting it can work well for their businesses and only a few utilize telecommuting opportunities at its full capacity. One of the reasons for this is that its much easier to find good employee-oriented tips and advice on “how to find a good freelance job”, than suggestions on “how to make your remote employees work more effectively”. Even some of the top MBA programs lack the remote workforce management practices theory.
Here, at Soshace we as web developer recruiters are comfortable to say that we know much more than even some fortune 500 brands about the remote workforce best practices at every stage of the workflow (hiring, testing, mentoring and assessment of the remote employees), because it’s our core business line and we hire app developers, web developers, software developers for the top European and American brands on a daily basis. More than that, nearly 80% of our own team members (software programmers) working effectively from their home offices all over the world too.
Due to this fact, we decided to fill the information gap and share with you our secrets and lifehacks on how to make the remote work in your company more effective and get the most of the remote workforce trend in 2019.
Hiring remote specialists (especially web developers, IT staff, customer service representatives, marketing specialists) can:
- save your company money (f.x., hiring a highly professional Russian programmer with a very good knowledge of English costs 5 times less than an American one).
- give your company an opportunity to grow because you can invest saved budgets into other areas of your business.
- allow to attract top talents worldwide, because the most talented and qualified people may live in unexpected places.
- get you highly engaged and motivated team members (scientific researches show that the remote workers log more hours and are more engaged, than the office employees).
- can reduce sick absences, as remote specialists can work from home without infecting others when they are having minor symptoms or return to work quicker, than office employees.
- increase the overall productivity.
Although the above mentioned advantages of the remote workforce trend sound really good, employers should remember that not every good office-employee can work efficiently on a remote basis. This poses the question.
How to utilize the remote workforce trend in your business and how to make the remote work more effective?
1.Finding and building the right team
Of course the first and probably one of the most important part of building an efficient remote team is finding the right people.
Qualified, with good experience in your sphere of business, motivated and engaged to work on a remote basis, people close to your way of thinking, disciplined and having belief in your project.
Your role as a manager here is not only in building good working business processes but also in inspiring your team to accomplish identified goals and reach higher heights.
Finding the right people (freelancers and remote workers) is the most time-consuming and crucial part of building a remote team. Find a programmer is especially complicated.
In order to find the reliable people for your project you would need:
- to publish a vacancy on the job aggregator website;
- make an analysis of the inquiries and score thousands of CVs;
- prepare technical assignments and tests for your applicants;
- review the assignments (1 assignment review may take 1 -2 hours and if you send them to 10-15 candidates you may imagine how much time you would need to allocate on that part of work);
- make final interview;
- negotiate terms of work and agreement;
- and then hope that all will go smoothly in future.
It also has to be mentioned that if you are hiring a customer service specialist you may try to test, review and evaluate correctly his/her assignment and probably you will find a good candidate.
It may seem to be easy to hire a freelancer, but if you are hiring a remote web developer, a coder or a software engineer and you don’t have technical skills in web development, to find a good web developer would be an impossible mission for you. How to solve this problem?
Soshace team is here to help you and save your money on finding, testing and hiring freelance programmer for your project.
2. Create guidebooks and procedures. Check in – check out + virtual time tracking tools
Another important issue of building a good remote team is the management approach. How to manage and control the remote team members? And here again we have a very good answer for you as long as we at Soshace use all the latest in technology remote workforce management tools and techniques and helped our clients to implement them also.
We recommend you to create and prepare guidebooks, handbooks and procedures for your remote employees, as if they were working in the office.
If your business already has the office team members and you don’t plan to make your business totally remote, then update your current guidebooks and procedures for your office employees with additional information for your remote specialists.
To control hours of work and employees productivity we recommend to use one of time tracking tools and services ( f.x. Hubstaff). The same service can be used for tracking time spent by the programmer, if you would decide to hire one for your project on a remote basis.
3. Create management hierarchy and implement KPI system
Mechanism of delegation and management hierarchy is important in any sphere of business, both for remote and office employees. If your company already grew large enough, you may need to start creating hierarchy and departments. It will be good both for mentoring and productivity management.
Each remote specialist should have his mentor/manager and for sure if you are having at least 10-20 remote specialists or even more (fortune 500 companies hire thousands of remote specialists annually) you would need to allocate a manager for them to control their short-term goals, daily activities, projects, productivity and results. Of course for monitoring and assessing their long-term performance it is important to prepare and implement a KPI system also.
4. Remote employees training
Before new remote employees start to work on your project we recommend you to make an induction training for them, especially if they are new to the sphere of your business. In order to organize it well we recommend you to prepare technical guidebooks and video lectures for them. It`s very important to answer all the upcoming questions which may arise during the remote specialist educational process and give him/her a quick feedback. Of course, you should also prepare a virtual test and assess the level of their knowledge in the new sphere after they complete your educational course. Their managers should make sure the remote specialists are making their “homework” and thoroughly document all the training process. To conduct a software training it is nice to use screen capture tools. Training means a lot because only after it the remote specialists start to understand the goals, mission and the technical aspects of your business, they stop to treat you as a client and start to feel as a real part of your team.
5. Virtual workspace and infrastructure (modern technology)
Remote employees are recommended to store all their documents in your corporate virtual database and your responsibility here is to create and maintain the overall corporate IT infrastructure in a decent way.
To make sure that your workers are using all the company resources properly you need to provide them access to both internal and external applications, make sure that the client communicates securely with the server (via secure HTTP or through VPN) or if you are using cloud-based directory services create a cloud database and provide them access to it. New technologies allow you to grant and withdraw user rights to applications and databases instantly.
Regarding, cloud solutions, there are different types of them (cloud computing business solutions and cloud deployment solutions), but we will talk about them in our next articles.
6.Make communication conscious (video chats, departments) and:
- Build a culture of adding remote people in skype and introducing them to other team members;
- Make time to talk to them about projects at different stages of their work;
- Use video as much as you can;
- Try to balance time zone inconvenience, if you are having remote specialists in different countries;
- Organize face to face team buildings and meetings at least once a year;
In order to generate more valuable ideas for your business and build stronger relationships with your remote team members we recommend to make regular online brainstorming meetings. This may help your company to create a creative and inspirational atmosphere in your team and increase your overall productivity.
8.Establish performance measurement for your remote employees and choose the correct metrics/KPIs based on:
- Quality of completed tasks.
- Overall customer satisfaction level.
- Ability of meeting deadlines.
- Results of work and projects.
- Feedback from colleague and team members.
- Objectives and Goals reach.
9.Offer opportunities to make remote employees grow and develop.
To build an effective remote team and to retain your top remote talents you should always remember about offering them opportunities to grow and develop professionally.
Here at Soshace, we are offering our remote specialists free English courses and free CPD courses with the best university tutors.
At the same time we never stop to monitor and reassess our corporate culture values.
10.Don’t forget to appreciate your best employees (appraisals on a quarter basis + KPI checks)
To motivate your remote team members and increase their level of engagement we recommend you to implement a KPI appraisal system on a quarter basis and a quarter bonus system accordingly.
Of course financial part of any business means a lot but don’t forget to appreciate your best employees with the kind words, probably extra annual leave days, acknowledgement of their hard work in department meetings, and so on.
Make your remote work more effective – Hire your first remote professional today!