Are you the one-person show behind a thriving virtual business? If so, you likely handle all of your company’s sales outreach, customer service inquiries, order fulfillment, social media marketing, budgeting … and the list goes on. Are you overwhelmed by all of the daily tasks you need to do to keep your enterprise running smoothly? Would you really like others to take some of your daily duties off your plate? If you are nodding your head in approval right now, then it’s time to hire your first remote employees.
Congratulations on reaching this major milestone in your entrepreneurial journey! You are probably so excited to start posting on job search websites to find excellent remote employees. However, it is pertinent to be very careful when hiring your first team members — the last thing you want to do is onboard someone who turns out to be a bad fit and causes major disruptions. In my own experience of hiring remote team members for my company, the MaidThis cleaning business franchise, I have come up with these tried-and-true tips:
Hire for a value fit, not a particular skill set
As the leader of your business, you get to choose what kind of culture you want your company to have. For example, you can determine that your business places great value on teamwork, innovation, eco-friendliness, top-tier customer service, etc. You can also prioritize a fun and engaging company culture that values creative ideas and exploring new possibilities, or a culture that is more traditional and values adherence to protocols and set systems.
That said, it would be in your best interest to hire team members who also share the values that are so important to your business. It is better to hire for a value fit rather than for a particular skill set, like data entry or content writing, as anyone can learn skills over time with practice. On the other hand, values are intrinsic and already ingrained in the person. If you hire someone just because they have a particular skill, but they don’t share the values that help direct every major decision in your business, it can cause rifts and hurt your company’s culture later down the road.
For example, MaidThis places immense importance on four core values: 1. Keep It Positive (we work hard and keep a positive attitude no matter what); 2. Deliver on Promises (we do what we say we will); 3. Own It (we treat every responsibility as if it’s our own); and 4. Kaizen: Constantly Improve (we see every issue as a growth opportunity). If we hired someone who doesn’t share these same values, then it could disrupt our culture and lower the morale of the rest of our team members. Hiring employees who aren’t a culture fit can also lead to high turnover.
Ensure they have the technology needed to succeed
A remote business is heavily dependent on a fast and reliable Internet connection and cloud-based collaboration software — a faulty Internet connection or malfunctioning software can greatly interrupt workflow and the business’s overall progression. Therefore, you will need to double-check that the team members you hire have the technological capabilities needed to excel in their role. This is especially true if you’re looking to hire global team members, as we often take for granted the reliable power we have in the United States. The situation can be very different in other countries. So double-check that your potential employee will always have a strong Internet source and power backup solutions each workday.
If you find an incredible applicant, but they lack a reliable Internet connection in their homes, see how you can work with them to come up with a solution. For example, do they live by a coworking space where you can buy a monthly membership for them to work? Or, maybe you can purchase a Wi-Fi hot spot device for them so they can work to the best of their ability. Do they need a new laptop because theirs is very outdated and slow? If they would make the perfect team member, consider helping them get what they need to excel in their role.
Test their ability to follow instructions
You definitely don’t want to hire someone who can’t follow instructions, as they could end up doing projects wrong and hurting your business’s overall workflow. Therefore, test all of the applicants’ ability to adhere to instructions before you decide to interview them. You can do this via the job description: Ask applicants to write a secret word or phrase in their cover letter — for example, in MaidThis’ job descriptions, we tell potential applicants to write “pineapple in pizza is weird” in their cover letter or we will not consider them. This is a simple yet effective way to determine who can easily follow instructions.
On top of this, including this easy task in the job description will help you filter through applicants who really want to work at your company from those who are just applying to any and every job opening available. You will know that the applicants who followed the instruction actually read the whole job description and are making the effort to help them secure an interview at your business.
In-depth training is key
When you finally find the perfect applicant(s) for your business, take the time to thoroughly train them in their position. This means you may need to hold their hand on all tasks and projects for the first 2-4 weeks and meet with them a lot via video chat. Make sure they also have access to a cloud-based hub that includes the various email templates they need, manuals, instructional videos, and other essentials so they won’t have to always ask you for them. On top of this, give your new employees an outline on what week-by-week success looks like for their position. This can include weekly marketing outreach goals, sales KPIs, a specific number of client leads, etc.
To wrap it all up
It is so awesome that your remote business has grown to the point where you now need to hire team members to help you. Ensure that this process is nothing short of successful by hiring for a value fit rather than a skill set, making sure the best applicants have the technology needed to excel in their roles, and by testing their ability to follow instructions. In addition, take the time to thoroughly train your new employees in their positions. Following these tips will help you find the best new remote team members for your enterprise.