8 Ways to Get Managing Telecommuters Right

Chris Young
September 23, 2008 — 1,907 views  
Become a Bronze Member for monthly eNewsletter, articles, and white papers.

In the world of never-ending, rapid change and increasing competitive pressures, the "old days" of having team members report to a physical office are over!  The benefits of telecommuting can be amazing.  To name just a couple of benefits of telecommuting, your employee team members may experience a better quality of life living where they wish to as well as reduced overhead expenses.  In exchange, organizations now have access to talent that would otherwise have not been available.  Telecommuting has the potential to be strong win-win situation - but only if done correctly.

Managing employees under normal circumstances is a challenge.  Telecommuting offers a whole new “level” of opportunity and challenge for managers and HR professionals alike.

It goes without saying that in order to enjoy the benefits telecommuting can bring, it is critically important to get managing telecommuters right.  The Following are eight key ways to doing so…

Make Sure the Job Fits Telecommuting – Can the job be a telecommuting position?  Some positions are just not very suitable for telecommuting.  For example – senior-level executive positions are much more difficult to telecommute without incredibly strong support and communication.  Make Sure the Employee Fits the Job – It never ceases to amaze me to see an employee who has no business working in the field they are working in.  Unless the employee fits the job, the job will not be done well – if at all.  If you are not using an objective personality profile instrument to objectively understand your candidates, you are missing an important opportunity to improve your team.  Set Expectations -  What are the key accountabilities for the job?  In other words, what are 4-5 key activities or tasks that must be completed to do the job well?  Make sure your telecommuting employee team member is aware of those accountabilities and has the ability to live up to them.  A key way to set expectations is to create a case study of an ideal day of a telecommuting employee team member in the position.Fast Feedback Loops Through Score-Carding - What gets inspected gets respected.  Create daily score-cards listing the key accountabilities and provide feedback regarding performance for those accountabilities.  Share with the employee team member the two to three things they are doing well and two to three areas of potential improvement.  Remember – inspect what you want respected.Employee Coaching Plan – Create a Coaching Plan to Improve Employee Performance.  Every employee team member has the potential for improvement.  It is the job of management and the employee team member to identify those “growth opportunities” and create a Coaching Plan to help them improve their performance.  Remember – what gets measured gets improved.  Measure and improve constantly.  Accountability Systems – Through a Coaching Plan you can create commitments for the employee team member to strive to accomplish.  Without a Coaching Plan and without accountability, your employee team member will not improve their performance.  We have been reviewing coaching software and will publish a blog in the near future on this topic.  Technology – Provide your employee team members with the best technology possible.  Not only should their office have ergonomics considerations met in terms of chair and desk arrangement but even more importantly – connectivity, office equipment, and software is of critical importance.  Of particular importance is the need for tracking software of some type – preferably through your phone system to track how much time a team member is spending on the telephone.  This is especially important for sales people.Communicate - Communicate – Communicate – One of the biggest challenges we often find with telecommuters is they feel like they are left out of meetings and the daily goings on in the office.  Mitigate this potential concern by involving them actively.  Set up a proactive involvement plan where they are brought into the physical office at regular intervals and are communicated with at regular intervals - I suggest daily. 

Telecommuting can work but to do so requires hiring the right employee team members, strategic thinking, personal accountability, and communication. 

Now go maximize possibility!

Chris Young, Founder - The Rainmaker Group

Website: http://www.therainmakergroupinc.com

Blog: http://www.maximizepossibility.com

Copyright Chris Young, 2008

Chris Young

Website

The Rainmaker Group is a human talent maximization company specializing in helping organization maximize their bottom lines by improving employee retention, hiring the best talent possible, and strategic talent management and coaching services. From the Fortune 50 corporation to the small medical office, The Rainmaker Group guarantees lasting organizational change via a unique blend of energy, insight, and science to maximize talent, transform organizational culture, and provide strategic intervention.