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How To Build Relationships With Remote Workers
Launching a business is no easy feat. It takes a lot more than just paying for a domain name to make a business work. Plus, when you hire people, the pressure mounts. You have to make sure these people get paid, remain happy, and stay at the company.
While it might sound like a task you'll fail at; there's good news: most employers get it wrong at first. There are hope and plenty of room to grow. However, if you'd like to get started on the right foot, work on developing strong relationships with your team members.
When you hire remote employees, the same rules apply. As you hire remote employees, consider the following tips.
1. Video conference calls
Face-to-face communication is still essential for a remote employee. Even if you can't be in the same room, you can have face-to-face conversations through video conferencing tools.
There are plenty to choose from when you bring a new person onto the team; it's essential to make sure they have a smartphone for conference calls or video conferencing apps on their computer. Most computers have cameras installed already.
Whether you choose to do the video conference calls once a week or twice a month, make sure that option happens consistently. While the regular conference calls are appropriate for other times throughout the workweek, the video option allows people to feel a stronger sense of connection and togetherness.
2. Team partnerships
Mentorship is so important. When you're bringing your first new hire, you automatically become their mentor. However, once they learn the ropes, you'll want to prepare them to become the next new hire's mentor.
As a business owner, it is very challenging to be accessible to every single employee at any given moment. That's why it's wise to develop mentor-mentee relationships within the team. If it's an issue that neither person can solve, they can then bring it to you.
This will initiate stronger relationships within the staff because they'll regularly partner with each other to solve problems and complete tasks. It will also promote stronger relationships with you and your staff because you won't feel the burden of being needed at every second, as that can become toxic and stressful for one person.
3. Team-inclusive technology
Since remote employees will always rely on their computers to get their work done, protection and security are essential. Your employees need to understand that any mishandled data can lead to severe consequences both for the company and the employee.
Just because they're working from outside the office doesn't mean your remote team members shouldn't impose the same level of security as your in-house employees.
Provide your staff with the right knowledge and tools so that both of you stay on the safe side. Within the company culture, make PC and data security a high priority.
Working remotely also means that your employee is on their own if something goes bust. Use tech services that allow employees to maintain their PCs and their security.
Use web-based platforms to track different tasks within specific projects. As the task gets completed, documentation within the platform needs to reflect that. When everything gets tracked with a timestamp, it encourages accountability and transparency.
When an employee works remotely, you never know how their workflow will work. You don't want to hire someone who stays home and doesn't do the work. When you have each employee checking in within a platform, it increases the chances of completed work.
4. Hiring process
Make sure the hiring process is complete with the right questions. The hiring process is where the relationship starts.
By asking the right questions and communicating the company's culture, you'll be able to see whether the person will fit in or not.
Focus on developing a reliable system within your hiring team. When multiple people can vet a potential new hire, you all can talk about your opinions, perspectives, and observations.
A robust vetting process with the right questions will eliminate anyone who isn't the right fit for the company.
If a person gets through the hiring process but ends up being someone who's not right for the company, don't prolong the firing process. It's better to be resilient in finding the right person versus being awkward and inefficient at work.
When an employee knows what is expected of them, this leaves little room for misinterpretations and misunderstandings. This is another reason why mentor-mentee relationships are great because the mentee can always ask for clarification from their mentor.
Build systems that document the expectations of the employees as well. In many cases, it's best to make sure there's a lot of hand-holding at the beginning.
As you're on-boarding a new employee from a remote perspective, they have no context outside of their computer. Be mindful of that so you don't get frustrated when they ask questions that might seem simple to you.
Always reiterate essential expectations, and respect the employee's need for clarification. When an employee understands that they have room to grow and flourish, this instils a strong sense of confidence for them to bring their skillset to the table.
While young entrepreneurs might get frustrated with parts of the process, it's okay to lean in and learn. Being a boss isn't just about getting money or bragging rights. It's about helping and serving others. Authentic leadership is about service.
In addition to serving clients, it's about helping the employees. With a humble mindset that is willing to provide the best work experience for their employees, a young entrepreneur can thrive.
The biggest keys are self-awareness and patience. If you have a day where you get frustrated, be mindful of what your triggers are. Don't take them out on the employees if you want to develop healthy relationships.
Know yourself enough to understand when you need a moment to yourself. Also, remember to be patient. Rome wasn't built in a day. Your company won't be made in a day either. Yet, when you commit to the process, you and your remote team can create a masterpiece.
About the author
Joe Peters is a Baltimore-based freelance writer and an ultimate techie. When he is not working his magic as a marketing consultant, this incurable tech junkie devours the news on the latest gadgets and binge-watches his favourite TV shows. Follow him on @bmorepeters
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