Managing, Hiring, And Leading Your Remote Workforce

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As the course of industries moves forward, so do the companies under them. Advancement comes with challenges, however, and the biggest challenge they are facing is the decentralization of the workforce. Managers now find themselves leading teams working from different locations, as well as working remotely. Communication comes to a setback, as there is less face time between team members and leaders. This also makes the hiring process just as challenging.

This trend is continuously growing around the world, and many companies function with remote workers and freelancers, who find enjoyment in the benefit of being in a location that’s accessible, close to their home, and away from the traffic. According to research, around 63% of companies today are comprised of remote workers. Upwork, a freelancing website, released a study called Future Workforce Report, which studies the hiring behavioral trend of over a thousand U.S. managers.

As companies continue to embrace hiring remote employees, work-from-home policies also continue to evolve. Around 45% of hiring managers revealed that their respective companies have changed their policies in the past five years, with 60% of them saying they have become more inclusive and lenient. Moreover, 52% of hiring managers said that their companies believe that hiring has become easier upon improving work-from-home policies.

Despite the challenges, there are plenty of benefits that come with building a remote workforce, which includes increased productivity, offering flexibility as a perk, lower overhead costs, and a wider talent pool without a location as a basis.

The Process of Screening and Hiring Remote Workers:

An important factor to consider when screening candidates is to look at their qualities. You have to make sure that the remote job perfectly matches with the right candidate, which in turn, will help you manage a dispersed work team successfully.

Leadership IQ in 2017 came up with a creative online test called “Is Your Personality Suited To Working Remotely In The Office” which asks respondents to answer ten questions that will indicate whether or not they’re suitable to working remotely or in the office. Leadership IQ revealed that over 14,000 people participated, and the test gathered data that recommends two specific situations, which reveal candidate characteristics during the screening process:

  • Kindly tell me about a time you had to make an important decision without the help of a supervisor or boss.” A successful remote employee is independent, and it is vital that you know that they’re more than capable of making important decisions by themselves. Giving this situation as an assessment will show that, as well as the exact situations they consider, an important decision.
  • “Tell me about a time you got challenging feedback from a boss. How did you handle it?” A successful remote employee also knows how to take critical feedback, without the boss trying to sugarcoat anything.

Managing a Dispersed Workforce:

As HR leaders, you must know how the company should adapt to a growing remote workforce team. Employees not present during the same work hours in the office, as well as not having them on-site, makes communication difficult, particularly in the aspects of team and relationship building.

The Harvard Business Review conducted a study in 2017, which comprised of 1,153 employees. 52% of those employees work from home at times, and when they choose to, they feel like their colleagues don’t treat them equally. Remote employees report of mistreatment by colleagues, as they are left out of office bonds and relationships. They also worry about coworkers saying things behind their back, lobbying against them, making changes to projects without informing them, and failing to see their needs as priorities, too. Based on these, the Harvard Business Review recommends these practices to better the circumstances for remote employees:

Constant check-ins:

46% of the respondents said that the most effective managers have built the habit of checking in frequently and regularly with their remote employees. The check-ins vary – from daily, to twice a week, to monthly- but these are always consistent and oftentimes entail face-to-face meetings.

Talking via face-to-face or over the phone:

The respondents said that successful managers insisted on face time with remote employees. They either visit remote employees or schedule mandatory office days, which can be once a week, a month, every quarter, or every year. This time is often used for team building, although that still depends on the employee’s location. If personal meetings are not possible, video conferencing or phone calls will be just as effective, as long interaction is made possible where they see each other’s faces or hear voices.

Emphasis on communication:

Respondents of the study emphasized the significance of frequent communication between managers, colleagues, and remote employees. The study reveals that the most successful managers listen well, inquire about the workload, as well as the employee’s progress without micromanaging. This situation allows little error with communication.

Open communication about expectations:

The research also found that managers who explicitly express their expectations to both remote and on-site employees find that they have happier teams, all of which are capable of meeting those expectations. Here, all employees are well-informed and updated with projects, deadlines, roles, and any changes.

Always consider availability:

Successful managers make sure to always be available during the remote employees’ working hours, no matter the time zone. They go beyond limits to maintain an open-door policy that works for both kinds of employees, remote and on-site. They make this possible through different platforms of technology.

Become tech-savvy:

As the world continues to advance, so does other industries such as communication. Essay writing, which is part of written communication, has now become accessible through writing services such as The same goes for oral communication, with emails and social chatting, made convenient now more than ever. That being said, the best of managers don’t just rely on phone calls and email; they’re familiar with different types of technologies. These could be Skype, Viber, IM, Adobe Connect, Slack, among others. As managers, they tailor the type and style of communication according to each employee.

Remember to make relationships a priority:

More than encouraging maximum productivity, good managers go out of their way to understand the importance of building bonds with employees. They utilize check-in time not just to talk about work, but ask about their personal life, hobbies, and family. Team meetings have the aspect of “water cooler” conversation, where the entire team is given the chance to strengthen bonds and create personal connections.

More than anything, understanding that hiring and employing a diverse workforce is the new norm. Shifting and adapting to this is extremely critical to the survival of your company. With this, working on inclusivity and fairness towards remote employees should remain a top priority. Processing of candidates must also be done diligently, and these experiences should remain as productive and seamless as possible. According to further research by, remote work has grown to 115% over the past decade. This is what the industry is heading into, and the need to improve the system is vital now more than ever.

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