Identifying Potential in Remote Employees

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Scott Tuning

Scott has been a faculty member in higher education for over 10 years. He holds an MBA in Management, an MA in counseling, and an M.Div. in Academic Biblical Studies.

When building a remote team, the remote manager has a significant responsibility with regard to the selection of team members who are most likely to succeed in this alternative environment. This lesson explores several practical steps to accomplish this.

The Virtual Office

Working from a remote location, sometimes called telecommuting, can be an attractive option for many organizations. The benefits of remote teams in the right situation are substantial. Remote employees often reduce an organization's costs related to things like office space, utilities, or parking. Additionally, in many situations, research shows that remote teams and their individual employees may be more productive compared to their on-site counterparts. Telecommuting can give employees a sense of control over their own environment, raise job satisfaction, and decrease turnover.

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  • 0:04 The Virtual Office
  • 0:39 Pre-Selection Considerations
  • 1:15 Demonstrated Skills
  • 2:12 Communication Skills
  • 3:44 Attitude
  • 4:17 Lesson Summary
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Telecommuting can be a great option for employees and employers.

Pre-Selection Considerations

Not all work can be done by a remote team, and membership on a remote team isn't for everyone. When an organization is considering the formation of an off-site work group, it must evaluate the work to be done and compare the results against the potential benefits of doing this work from a remote location. Once it has been determined that a remote team will be responsible for one aspect of the organization, the remote manager can begin looking for potential remote team members. As remote managers prepare to build their team, it's important that they understand how to identify workers for remote roles and how they will objectively measure the success of these individuals.

Demonstrated Skills

The first step in the process of identifying potential remote employees is to determine if the virtual office environment represents the best, most efficient way for an employee in the job role to accomplish what the organization needs. Employees who are new to their job, are not fiercely self-motivated, and are not highly productive may find membership on a remote team difficult.

The second step of the selection process should emphasize demonstrated success in previous work environments. In this context, demonstrated success means that potential team members have clearly demonstrated important characteristics in previous job roles. When it comes to demonstrated results, remote managers should look for characteristics like a sustained period of positive performance evaluations, behaviors that demonstrate high reliability, and an ability to be self-motivated. Remote managers should also ensure that they are relying on factual data regarding the employee's skills and background rather than merely an employee's statements about his or her abilities.

Communication Skills

In addition to demonstrated reliability and performance, remote employees must have a high level of communication skills across multiple channels or mediums. In this context, a remote manager is looking for communication skills such as the ability to communicate effectively by email, use audio and visual technologies for virtual collaboration, and work well with team members from diverse backgrounds and locations.

Supervising remote employees is simultaneously different and similar to the traditional role. One of the most important differences is in the specific nature of what work product the manager is influencing. Traditional managers in an on-campus environment observe their employees in action or as they are performing a process. Remote managers, on the other hand, tend to be very limited on process knowledge but are extremely results driven.

Remote employees must be able to demonstrate objective results.

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