About 90% of small businesses plan to add new employees in 2018, largely due to a strong economy. And a growing small business hiring trend is reaching outside the local candidate pool to hire remote employees.
While many small business roles – such as personal trainers or home care aides, to name a few – require an employee’s physical presence, ever-evolving technology is powering accessibility to remote employees as the latest small business hiring trend. Email, file sharing, video conferencing and online collaboration tools are making remote work more accessible than it was in the past. And small business owners can benefit in many ways from remote employees – they have a larger possible talent pool to tap into for quality candidates and can grow their teams without needing workspace for every new employee hired.
How can your small business embrace the remote employee hiring trend without sacrificing productivity and profitability? We’ve pulled together some key tips below.
Invest in the Right Technology
If some of your employees don’t work at your office, store or other physical location, effective communication is more important than ever before. To regularly communicate with your remote employees, it’s critical to have effective technology in place. This includes the right computers and software for each of your team members to perform their roles to the best of their ability. Quality video conferencing technology is another tool you can use to ensure success with your remote team – team meetings and employee one-on-ones via video can help you communicate much more clearly than email or a phone call. For quick day-to-day communications, consider implementing a chat tool across your entire remote and on site team – such as Google Hangouts, Slack or HipChat. And when it comes to sharing documents, make sure it’s as easy for remote employees as your on site team – use Google Docs or another collaborative tool so remote employees can easily access documents and presentations.
Set Clear Expectations and Check in Regularly
When your small business hires remote employees, always look for candidates who are motivated and excel when working independently. Employees with these personalities can typically overcome the challenges of remote work and stay productive when they’re not surrounded by colleagues. And once you’ve hired remote staff, make sure set clear expectations for success and check in regularly. Let your employees know any success metrics you’ll track to measure their performance and set up a regular cadence of meetings to ensure they’re staying productive. These should include weekly a one-on-one with each employee and his or her manager, and weekly team meetings via video, so the team can catch up on any priorities while also getting to know one another better.
Ensure Remote Employees Feel Like Part of the Team
One mistake some businesses make when hiring remote employees is failing to integrate the virtual team into the company culture. At a minimum, your small business should make sure to bring the entire team together – including all remote employees – a few times a year. This can be early in the year to plan for the year ahead, or several other times throughout the year for planning and team activities. When remote employees are on site, encourage cross-team projects so your remote employees can get to know the rest of the company.
Other than bringing all employees together a few times a year, take steps throughout the year to make your remote employees feel like part of the team at all times. For example, if your business has all company meetings – such as lunch & learns or guest speakers – set up video conference technology in the meeting space so remote employees can join in.
Remote work is a small business hiring trend that will only continue to grow as technology advances, and these tips will help you set your remote team up for success. For more information on how to hire the best team at your small business, whether remote or on site, read our eBook, “The 9 Elements of a Well-Oiled Hiring Process.”