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How to hire the best remote managers for your business

Businesses have forever changed. Although not every business will continue to work remotely 24/7/365, there’s a good chance many companies will be looking at remote workers for some time. Because of this, you need to ensure you’ve hired managers who are up for the task of keeping everything running smoothly. Since managing remote workers isn’t the same as those who work in-house, you’re going to need to hire managers with the perfect blend of the right skills.

Where do you start? What skills are you looking for in a manager to work in the new world order? Those are very appropriate questions you should be asking. Fortunately, those skills aren’t all that hard to come by, so long as you know what you’re looking for. And it doesn’t matter if these managers cover end-users, database admins, or developers who work with Java, any type of JavaScript framework, .NET, Python, or if you’re hiring from an offshore or nearshore third party firm: if you find a manager will the following skills, they’ll be a great fit for your company.

Let’s take a look at how to hire the best remote managers for your business.

Someone willing to toss out the rules

Here’s the thing, the majority of rules for managers were written for “normal” circumstances. With such a large percentage working remotely, many of those rules don’t apply. If you hire management who are absolute in their adherence to rulebooks, you’ll find employees will struggle under the weight of such rigidity. 

One thing your managers need to keep in mind is remote workers work more efficiently (and are happiest) when they can play by their own rules (within reason). Because of that, the managers you hire must be able to allow those remote a bit of leeway with the rules. That doesn’t mean a free-for-all, but rather a more lax approach to that rulebook management has spent so much time creating.

Someone who understands the importance of communication

You’ve probably made sure to already hire managers who communicate well. But with remote workers, that communication needs to be amplified and extended. Not only do those who manage remote workers need to have open lines of communication, but they also need to be able to communicate in different ways, using different types of technology, and even employ different modes of communication with different workers. 

For example, your company might have remote workers who have infants at home. Those managers might need to use text-based communications, over voice or video forms, so as not to disturb a sleeping baby. It might be a bit confusing (or even overwhelming) at first, but eventually, those managers will acclimate to using multiple forms of communication. 

Someone obsessive about details

One of the problems your newly hired managers will face is having to deploy different management skills for different types of workers (those working in-house and remote). This means your managers are going to need to be very detail-oriented. They’ll have to keep track of many details for every type of employee—from location, hours available, preferred communication methods, software used, and what employees are working with what teams.

Those managers need to be able to keep all of this in mind, all the while keeping the “big picture” in mind. What information is required to keep everything moving forward smoothly? If you hire a manager who isn’t keen on tracking so much information, you might wind up with problems on your hands.

Someone capable of going the distance

This might sound cliché, but your new managers need to be able to go the distance. Working with different types of employees, in different locations, with diverse needs can be confusing and exhausting. And the addition of remote employees will add layers of red tape and other hurdles to constantly jump. 

You need managers who can pull off such feats without getting exhausted before the day is over. This might also require hiring managers with a creative streak, who can improvise when necessary to help them make it to the finish line.

Someone familiar with technology

If you hire Luddites for managers, you’re setting yourself up for failure. That new manager might come with an impressive resume and pedigree, but if they can’t use and/or adapt to new technologies, they’ll struggle to manage remote workers.

You need to look for managers who are adept with Slack, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and any in-house technology your software engineers can create. Don’t be fooled into thinking anyone can get up to speed quickly. If you hire a manager who’s incapable of picking up software with ease, you’ll wind up with an ineffective manager in the face of remote workers.

Someone who is incredibly organized

Organization is a much-needed skill for managers. But when managing remote workers, that organization must reach a whole new level. We’re talking spreadsheets, data, meetings, reports, and keeping track of considerable details for every worker. Not every manager is up to this task.

And, sure, a prospective manager might appear quite organized in an interview, but can they’ll pull off the added levels required when managing employees scattered across the city or even the country? Make sure you test such skills in the interview, otherwise you’ll find yourself back in the interview room, looking for a manager who has the required organizational skills.

Someone always available

Okay, we don’t mean you need to find someone who’s going to dedicate every second of every day to manage your staff. But you need to hire managers that will always be available for all of your staff. This might mean you must hire managers to take care of in-house staff and managers to work with remote staff.

Why? You might have remote workers who put in their 8 hours a day but do so at different times. Some of those staff members might work from 9-Noon and then 3-8. If that’s the case, you need managers who are available during those times, even if it means split shifts.

Whatever the case, your remote workers need to feel confident they’ll have management available for them when they are on the clock.

Conclusion

As you look to hire managers for the new corporate world order, make sure to think about flexibility, organization, stamina, communication, and availability. If you hire managers with these traits in mind, they shouldn’t have any problem working with remote staff.

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