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Coming out of this recession has been difficult for small businesses everywhere. While many companies have crumbled under the financial pressure, others turned to different options, such as outsourcing, to maintain regular business on a tight budget.
One way to outsource your work is to hire virtual employees. Often times outsourced positions are cheaper than in house, which makes it a worthwhile option while the recession lingers on. You can choose to hire someone yourself or work with a companysuch as those who provideHR outsourcing services. Regardless of your hiring process, make it worthwhile by utilizing these three best practices.
“… When managed correctly, virtual employees can be a great asset. Unfortunately, without effective management, keeping virtual employees productive can be a struggle.” – Hiring.Monster.com
When starting the relationship, it’s important to set expectations. As in any work environment, employees need to know what is expected of them and how you hope for them to do their job. Because there may not be an option to meet in person if a problem does arise, it’s critical that you lay the groundwork before starting.
Part of setting these expectations ismaking sure that the new virtual employees are on the same page as the rest of your in house team, Smallbusiness.Chron.com suggests, “The best practice for a virtual team is for the manager to establish procedural work rules and Internet etiquette rules that dictate how the group interacts.”
Some basic ground rules include:
- Goals: Goal setting ensures that your employees have something to work toward, which keeps them productive.
- Give them a point person: Whether it’s yourself or someone else, give your virtual employees a point of contact for questions, concerns, etc.
Keep Open Flow of Communication
When you can’t meet one a week, or even once a month, it’s critical that all possible lines of communication are open. This is integral in keeping the relationship as similar to an in-house employee-boss relationship as possible.
- Check email frequently: This can also be laid out in the ground rules. Set a frequency for when to check email: once an hour, three times a day, whatever is optimal.
- Video chat once a month: If you can’t have an in person meeting, consider chatting “in person” with video chat. This gives you a chance to speak face to face, which can be beneficial for the relationship.
- Have a phone meeting once a week: As your in-house teams would meet once a week, be sure to do the same with your virtual employees. You can consider phoning them in for department meetings, company meetings, or just one on one chats.
Utilize Detailed Reporting
The most important factor in virtual employee outsourcing is that the proper work is being done; thus, you want to get a reporting plan into place. This will be a place for your virtual employees to detail the work that they’re doing, allowing you to see that it’s being done. This also allows you to see whether or not they are on track with target goals and long term projects.
Hiring virtual employees can be a smart financial move for any business, especially those at risk of collapsing. The key to making it work, however, is maintaining these 3 best practices. If you can do that, you are sure to make the most of every penny saved.
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