Recruitment

Recruitment: Best practices for retaining remotely located staff

Beef Central, 26/07/2013

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 IT cannot always be easy to manage remote teams and offices, however sometimes it’s the only choice.

Management teams should consider firstly the whether the candidate is suitable for the remote role and more importantly needs to be trained on how to manage a remote workforce, and the tools and technologies that need to be implemented.

For remote employees it can be more difficult to work together on group projects to accomplish their roles efficiently when they aren’t just down the hall from each other.  If employees are added from different states or countries, administrative burdens also need to be taken into account as well.

There are some great advantages in employing remote staff. Some employees enjoy the opportunity for great flexibility in how they manage their work and lives. For example; parents are able to spend more time with their children, and self-starters enjoy a greater sense of control over their work schedule without the common interruptions of the workplace. Staff retention and absenteeism are usually reduced as there is a greater sense responsibility to be at work and get the tasks completed.  For companies, it opens up a wider range of job applicants and potentially reduces office costs. It also can aid in employee retention of top performers.

Here are some tips to ensure your remote employees always feel at home:

Establish early personal connections and team activities during the onboarding process.

Travel to the new remote employee’s location or bring the new employee into the main office to have a face-to-face manager introduction and a day showing them the ropes. This helps to create trust and inspiration for quality performance. Make sure they are equipped with the necessary tools such as Training Manuals, Contact Lists as a start.

Measure “New Hire Health” frequently.

Organisations can minimise early attrition by asking new remote employees how they are doing. Administer new hire surveys or make a personal visit to their office location 30 to 75 days into the new job to learn if remote employees are receiving enough interaction; getting the appropriate training; and feeling like they are fitting into the company culture. New hire surveys or meetings can also ask questions about the remote work environment to ensure employees have the right setups for success.

Establish continuous communication.

Research shows that remote employees want and need more frequent dialogue than onsite employees. In many organisations, geographically distant employees feel as if they are frequently left “out of the loop,” which can lead to disengagement and employee turnover. Continuous communication through multiple channels, such as telephone calls, emails, instant messenger and video conferencing helps remote employees feel aligned with the rest of the team.

Provide mentoring opportunities.

A mentoring program can help foster a sense of inclusiveness, enhance skill development and offset the loss of the informal training that often occurs between employees working in the same office.

Offer incentive programs to remote workers.

Incentives work to motivate remote employees and allow them to earn accolades for a job well done. If possible give remote employees individual challenges or incentive programs. Friendly competitions or contests such as Footy Tipping Comp can aid in team bonding, as long as the information and rules are available and reasonable for all involved employees.

Make sure the company’s culture is experienced.

Remote employees should be included in all corporate events and communications, as well. If you have a weekly sales meeting; phone or video call them in so they are a part of the discussion and outcomes. Encourage remote employees to contribute, that way they are adding value to the whole team.

 

AWX director Cameron Dart said a solid company culture with core values and a clear mission that illustrates a challenging nature of the business and professional development opportunities will help attract and retain the employees with the right fit.

“It’s important bring the company together so everyone is across the business objectives. Our troops gather together twice a year, once at our strategy day where we discuss business improvements and strategy for next year and also before Christmas as a celebration of the hard work and wins throughout the year,” Mr Dart said.

“At AWX our expertise is solving short and long term staffing requirements in rural and regional locations throughout Australia and retaining that investment within the community.”

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