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Hiring and onboarding is a fascinating process during this time of social distancing. Doing everything remotely can be a tough situation, especially for business managers and owners who have always done things a certain way, meaning, in-person. It's hard to teach an old boss new tricks, but now's the time to do it.
With less face-to-face interactions in general with employees, managers are having trust issues, not just in whether their workers are actually "working" from home; but also trusting in their own ability to manage from afar. According to Harvard Business, 40% of the managers surveyed expressed "low self-confidence in their ability to manage workers remotely."
So what can be done at each step of the way to alleviate this worry?
Remote Hiring for Self-Motivated Employees
More than ever before, now is an important time to hire self-motivated employees. With social distancing in place, workers will have to self-manage more often, even when working in the same store. Also, there is a level of personal responsibility to keep safe (even during off hours) and be adaptable on the job.
Here is where intelligent screening of applicants is key. Have their previous jobs or positions been in situations where supervision was low? If they still excelled, then that's an indication of self-motivation. Can they give an example of accomplishments that resulted from self-motivation? Do they want to climb the ladder and learn more skills?
Asking applicants to upload a 30-second video of themselves answering a question you pose can quickly weed out unmotivated candidates in two ways: one, is if they give bad answers of course, but two, the really unmotivated one won't even bother to upload a video at all.
Remote Onboarding for Self-Motivated Employees
Once your new hire starts working, training is crucial to set them up for remote-working success. The key is instead of giving them step-by-step instructions on how to do XYZ, provide them with clear performance objectives that show a successful end result. The goal is important, not so much the path, for remote management. Different employees will work differently. But if the performance objective are clear, self-motivated ones will get there by asking the right questions and trying things out. As you onboard them with training videos, make sure to stress that it's about the objectives more than anything else.
Establishing this concept at the start of the working relationship is important for both the worker and the manager. The worker should quickly realize that it's up to them to do their job; that the manager will be there for guidance when asked, but won't hand-hold. Either they will thrive in this relationship, or quickly wash-out. The manager also benefits as trust is conveyed from the start of the relationship.
Remote Working for Self-Motivated Employees
According to the HBR article linked above: "...[remote workers] reporting high levels of monitoring, 49% were often or always anxious when carrying out their job." Oof. Remote managers are often checking in too often and micro-managing their remote workers.
The goal is to have hired and onboarded self-motivated employees so the level of management can be kept low. As we all know, hire the right people for the right job, and now the jobs call for remote work and self-motivation.
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Robert Woo is a freelance content creator for various companies from startup to enterprise-level. When not writing SEO-friendly articles, he writes and performs comedy, plays guitar, and champions the Oxford comma.