Supporting Your Remote Employees’ Career Development
Remote employment and work-from-home options have become increasingly popular over the last few years, especially in certain fast-moving industries like information technology. However, the global response to COVID-19 is forcing a significant amount of the workforce to get serious about remote work for the first time.
That includes management, who must learn how to manage a remote team through long-term challenges like employee retention and professional development without the aid of in-person interactions. Many remote workers find it challenging to advance their careers simply because they’re less aware of their opportunities. Being offsite removes opportunities for casual observation, real-time feedback, and impromptu collaboration.
Whether you’re new to managing remote workers or you’re an experienced manager learning how to manage a remote team more effectively, here are a few tips to cultivate your team’s professional growth.
1) Share opportunities for growth and promotions
Effective career guidance starts as early as during the interview process. Especially when you’re interviewing talent for a remote position, it’s important to find out what his or her career goals are and provide information as to what career paths are available within the company.
Remember: many remote workers aren’t aware of any growth potential in remote positions. They might be planning to keep this job for a short period of time before moving on to something else. Being clear about possible promotions from the start could very well earn you an aspirational, high-potential, engaged employee who stays with the company for the long term.
2) Encourage digital face-to-face interactions
Getting scattered remote employees to work as a team is a crucial aspect of supporting their advancement. To facilitate an easier connection, make remote communication as personal as possible.
- Use software tools and apps to hold video conferences where the remote team can interact face to face.
- Have your employees add profile pictures to their email accounts and messaging apps for a more personal touch.
- Apart from presentations and formal reviews, take advantages of video conferencing for more casual uses as well. Digital happy hours or “lunch and learns” can help your team get more comfortable with online conversations and take the place of in-person water cooler talk.
3) Make regular remote check-ins
It’s also advisable to create a specific strategy for career guidance that you apply to all team members, whether they work remotely or onsite. Schedule regular check-ins with your people about how they’re progressing toward their career objectives; where they need more guidance; and what upcoming opportunities might interest them.
Remember to extend opportunities for learning and development. For example, if you’re planning to attend a trade conference or webinar, share the opportunity with the remote workers. It will be a good learning and networking experience that can simultaneously help strengthen your relationship.
4) Invest in remote training
Finally, make sure there are enough resources to support telecommuters’ professional development. With all of the online courses available nowadays, it’s relatively easy and affordable to provide training that both your remote team members can do at their own pace. Many of these courses come with certificates or professional credits, and offer the advantage of allowing your employees to pick and choose those classes that best meet their needs.
Managing remote employees and helping them advance their careers doesn’t have to be complicated and demanding. So long as you allocate the time to assess their progress with them, offer resources to expand their knowledge, and provide transparency about career paths within your organization, you’ll do an outstanding job of supporting their careers, no matter where in the world they’re located.
What’s next for remote managers?
Looking for help with hiring or staffing in the new world of remote work? Contact Kelly.
We understand today’s employment and workforce trends and we can help your business ditch the script and adapt to the new world of work with staffing, direct-hire, outsourcing and consulting solutions.