One of the biggest struggles for start-up founders and early-stage entrepreneurs is finding and managing a remote workforce.
Building a company from scratch, working to your maximum potential through long hours, and staying motivated in such an early phase can be tough.
When you add the difficulties of having no control over things like when employees choose to go on vacation or how punctual they are when they arrive at work in the morning, it’s not surprising that managing a remote team can seem extremely difficult.
Luckily there are some easy tips that will help you get into a good rhythm with your team members. Here’s a list of the top six tips to achieve success:
1. Hire A Good IT Service To Help You
There are loads of great professional services such as tct.com.au that will enable you to communicate with your workers, including software trackers, messaging apps, and resources for team collaboration.
Using tools like these will eliminate single points of failure in your business and ensure you stay in full control of your employees.
2. Set Clear Goals And Expectations From Day One
Many founders fail to realize how important it is to have everyone on the same page. Many companies are under-prepared for their early hires, taking on new employees without having clear goals set out for them or being unable to pinpoint why that person is joining the company in the first place.
This causes big issues later down the line especially when you consider that most people perform at their best when they know what good performance looks like.
As a start-up founder, if you haven’t set out your company’s vision and values from day one, now is the time! Make sure everyone understands what you’re trying to achieve with your business, where it’s heading, and why their role matters towards this goal
3. Reward Good Work
Once everyone is on the same page, you can start to motivate and reward your employees.
People are much more likely to put in all their effort when they know there’ll be a beneficial outcome from doing so. It’s easier to stay motivated if you know that all your hard work today will pay off in tangible ways tomorrow.
Employees will largely base their performance on what they know you value in your company, and if they feel like certain tasks and behaviour don’t get the recognition it deserves, they’ll start to slack off.
Reward good work by either internal publishing praise for employees via email or sending out thank-you gifts such as food vouchers.
4. Keep Lines Of Communication Open
Many startup founders work long hours and struggle to manage their time. This means that it’s easy for them to feel like they’re neglecting the remote workforce, especially when there aren’t enough hours in the day to respond to all emails and keep in regular contact.
This is one of the biggest problems you’ll face when managing a remote workforce. It’s easy for people to think that their hard work isn’t valued or that they’re not important when in reality, the opposite might be true!
The solution? Meet with your employees every week (if possible), so you can talk about what’s coming up, answer their questions, offer suggestions to them on how they can improve, and reward good behaviour.
5. Manage Expectations Around Work Hours And Emails
Working remotely means that everyone has their own schedule but it’s your responsibility as the employer to make sure this doesn’t cause any problems within the company.
For example, if one of your remote workers isn’t answering emails outside standard business hours (with good reason!), then you need to let them carry on doing so! Otherwise, they might feel overwhelmed if they feel like they always have to reply instantly for fear of letting down their teammates.
At the same time, they need to understand that their teammates aren’t always sitting at their desks waiting for them, so it might take longer than they’re used to before someone gets back to them.
You’ll need to have a frank discussion with your employees about how you expect work to be handled. Setting out expectations around emails is important (you can make this part of your company culture!), but keep an open mind too – maybe some of the things you find frustrating will seem like positives from a team member perspective!
6. Keep Human Resources (HR) And Management Processes Simple
If your start-up hasn’t grown beyond 5-10 people yet, then don’t worry about having an official set of processes or policies in place for new hires and remote workers. You can always revise and update your HR policies as you grow.
Just sit down with the new person individually, and go through everything that will be expected of them (and how they can meet those requirements). If you’re hiring remotely, you could even do this over Skype or Google Hangouts to save everyone’s time and effort.
Running a start-up is hard. There’s no way around that, and it’s all too easy to find yourself getting bogged down in the minutia of everyday life but always remember that your remote workers are still part of your team, and you’re all working towards the same goal.
Keep this list in mind when onboarding new employees and spend time every week getting to know your team better and you’ll be amazed at what you can learn!