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The latest advice and best practices in hiring and careers.

Tips for Hiring and Managing a Virtual Workforce

virtual workforceVirtual workplaces were once considered ineffective, tough to manage and hard to set up for success. My how times have changed.

Today, virtual workforces are becoming the future of our employment landscape. Employers are implementing the popular work model in different ways. Some companies are giving employees the opportunity to split their time between remote and on-site work, while others are choosing to operate as an all-virtual, all-the-time team.

Whichever way it’s done, virtual workforces come with a long list of advantages:

  • A virtual workforce can save time and travel for employees.
  • It can lower an employer’s overhead costs – removing the expense of office space, furniture and utilities.
  • It allows for greater scalability based on needs for recruiting or downsizing.
  • Virtual teams can be built around the best talent – regardless of geographic location.
  • Employees have flexibility to better manage their personal and professional lives.

There are a few drawbacks to consider for a virtual workplace model. Organizations can become fragmented and lose cohesiveness, especially if employees have a lot of flexibility in their work hours. This can result in less teamwork and collaboration. From a technology standpoint, virtual workplaces can be challenging for some companies. The digital exchange of critical information and data among co-workers, clients and vendors can get complex.

If you’ve decided that a virtual workplace is a viable model for your organization, here are some tips to remember when recruiting and managing talent.

Consider hiring candidates with virtual workforce experience.
It’s critical that the talent you hire has the right set of skills for the position. You should also consider looking for candidates who already have experience working in a virtual environment. This can make the onboarding process go more smoothly and ensure the new hire easily transitions into his role.

Establish a strong communications plan.
Casual chats with colleagues in the hallway or a last-minute meeting in your manager’s office can’t happen in the virtual work world. Which is why it’s important to establish a good communications plan with your team. Have weekly meetings by phone or video conferencing that include all or most team members and ask managers to do regular check-ins with their direct reports. This will help maintain good working relationships within your organization.

Invest in a good project management system.
Robust project management and reporting tools are a must for virtual workforces. There are zillions on the market. Some of the more popular ones include Basecamp, Trello, Asana and Evernote. Other tools like Google Docs and Dropbox can be helpful for file sharing. Consider your best options based on price, user reviews and the level of customer support offered.

Meet in person when you can.
Even 100% virtual organizations need to get together occasionally to bond and interact face-to-face. If employees aren’t located too far apart, plan quarterly meetings in a central location. Or have an annual team-building retreat where the company culture can be celebrated, and strategies can be planned for the upcoming year.

If your organization has virtual positions you’re looking to fill, connect with A.R. Mazzotta. We have a vast network of active and passive job candidates and we’ll work with you to find the perfect match for your needs.