Selection of Good Employees in a Virtual Company

The growth and development of a company depend largely on its employees. If you want to build a company 100% virtual then you will need employees who are responsible and dedicated to work remotely. To hire expert virtual employees you need to know the criteria of a good remote employee, pros as well as cons he will face while working, professional development training and necessary supervision, and steps required to set and manage client’s expectation from a distance. 

Criteria of A Good Remote Employee:
Hiring a person to work remotely is lot like hiring for a physical office. But there are some additional aspects you should consider as well. A good candidate for your virtual company will have the following characteristics:

  1. Committed to the Work:
    Physical or virtual, being committed to the job is extremely important. The applicant is someone whose qualification and interest match the job description. Working from home gives some ‘flexibility’, but there is still the expectation of work to be done.
  2. Have Specific Work Routine & Place:
    A fixed amount of distraction-free time is critical. As a result, it is important that some structure is planned for the work. It does not need to be coinciding with traditional office hours, but personal work routine is necessary. A home office is another requirement for working from home. This needs to be a specific location with the appropriate tools and equipment which is only used for work. This is a work environment where people and other responsibilities do not affect the work. The kitchen table with a laptop, for example, is not a long term successful approach.

  3. Computer Skill and Technical Knowledge:
    Working remotely requires a certain amount of computer knowledge. The employee doesn’t necessarily need an expert but they have to have a base line skill set to allow them to actively troubleshoot issues that will come up, and work with support personnel if the issue is beypne their expertise. Productivity requires equipment and tools that work, used by employees who have the skills to be effective. If there is a problem, it is reasonable to expect the employee to be able to pro-actively resolve the issue via verbal instructions.

  4. Good References:
    Before hiring, review past work history, ask questions on skills of the employee, and also check references. Based on the lack of physical supervison, the opportunity to monitor the work is limited. As a result, references are important to get an idea what other employers have to say about this particular employee. Some of the questions to ask include work habits, approach to deadlines, how organized the employee is, etc.

  5. Good Communication:
    Communication is important with any employee, but it is going to make or break the relationship with a remote worker. During the interview process, good communication is not only a way to explain their talent but also it helps build confidence that the employee will be able to do the work and fit in the organization. The confidence to ask to help when stuck, the ability to clearly communicate about the projects, and the tact to work with many different types of people will all be important.

​​Pros and Cons of Having Employees to Work Remotely:
Working remotely has its pluses:

  1. The business won’t need office space, equipment, utilities, furniture, etc. for this employee
  2. Working remotely will save time and cost for the employee
  3. Employees are less likely to be late to work, or take long lunches
  4. If anyone gets sick, specially during flu season, germs will not spread from him to others and it prevents everyone to get sick

But we should consider the cons as well:

  1. You won’t be able to monitor the work as easily
  2. There is reduced control over the work that is done
  3. You need to deal remotely with computer issues
  4. Communication is critical and time needs to be devoted to improve it
  5. Less control over the time waster objects like, web search, phone calls etc.

Training and Supervision Programs for Employees:
Skill training is vital for every employee, and especially so for the virtual ones. Before arranging appropriate training programs you need to determine first whether this should be  done remotely or should it be done in person with the employees. Both can be done depending on the topic. Initial skill training programs on general skills are necessary for new employees. Advance skill development training programs can be arranged for existing employees. But these trainings should be assigned based on the existing skills as well as interest of the employees.

Besides skill development, professional development training is also necessary. Employees should be trained for maintaining good communication, asking questions without hesitation, maintaining professional relationship with clients, handling crisis, communicate with co-worker for external help, etc.

Supervision has significant effects on the productivity and responsiveness of employees. Because they work remotely, the necessity of proper management and supervision is even higher than with traditional employees. Regular staff meetings with a selected team head, creating the environment of a team atmosphere, keep everyone focused on the same goals, creating task lists and keep them up-to-date, proper notification procedures, and even planning in-person staff meetings occasionally – all these steps of supervision and training increase the efficiency and employee satisfaction within the virtual company.

How Can Employees Set and Manage Expectations of Clients?
Your employees should know the benchmarking of reasonable work. You can test what is reasonable with your own experience and by comparing with others. Training employees and then having a discussion to ensure they have a clear idea about the objectives and goals will help to manage the productivity.

Words of Encouragement
We have had a 100% remote workforce for more than 15 years. Over the years there have been many improvements in the technology to support this approach. There can be challenges which require swift action, but overall, we have found it to be a wonderful experience for both the employees and the company. With a little patience and flexibility, you too can reap the benefits of this approach.

Questions and Clarifications
Feel free to send us your questions and comments. Best way to do this is to post a comment under each blog post. That way others who have the same question can also benefit from the discussion.

2 years ago by in QuickBooks Tips and Tricks | You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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