Remote Work At Working Solutions, Talent Mgmt
VIRTUAL TEAM MEMBERS - Talent Mgmt
Working Solutions Team
% of All Employees
Kristin Kanger, VP, Talent Management
What does your remote-friendly company do?
We provide business process outsourcing services to clients and their customers through our work anywhere workforce of home agents.
What does your virtual team do within the company?
Ensures we attract the best talent and retain it through meaningful and effective company programs and a positive culture.
Did you switch to remote or start out that way?
We have always had a remote model.
How important is remote work to your business model?
Critical – it is the foundation, the reason the company was created.
What do you consider the biggest benefits of a remote workforce?
More productive and focused employees, less overhead expense, and the ability to search for talent in a borderless recruiting pool.
What were the main reasons to integrate remote work into your workforce?
We have always worked remotely, to promote a healthy work/life balance and enable the best of the best to work with us from anywhere.
What traits do you look for in candidates for a remote job?
Prior remote work experience certainly helps, but it’s sometimes just the way a candidate describes what they’re looking for, or what they liked or disliked about a past experience that tips you off.
How do you conduct interviews for remote jobs?
We interview by phone and have started introducing video interviewing in some cases.
How do you convey your remote culture in the recruiting process?
We try to be as open and honest about the pros and cons of a remote workforce. We have each candidate speak with several team members who share their own advice and experiences.
What is your hiring process for remote workers?
We use the same general process, though our candidate pool is much larger, and interviews include much discussion around compatibility with working remotely.
Do you use third party testing or evaluation services when hiring remote workers?
We use a third party behavioral assessment and background checking service in our process.
Do you have remote communication protocols for your remote workers?
We do not. There has not been a need in our environment.
Do your remote team members meet in person?
Yes, we do, and the frequency varies between teams. Some meet quarterly, others annually. We try to bring the whole company together annually for a fun and energizing retreat and planning meeting.
What elements are key to successful working relationships with remote teams?
First, hire people who fit the model. Not everyone is cut out to work remotely. Next, be very clear with your expectations and provide the information and tools needed to be successful. Then trust your people to do what you’ve asked and instead of monitoring every action, use results to determine when course-correction is needed.
What is the hardest part about managing a remote workforce?
Learning how to effectively communicate remotely takes practice. How much to share, how often, who to include, and how to ensure the intended message is received. Knowing when to step in and when to let go is also a challenge. In my experience, people work better when they are armed with goals and the tools they need to achieve them, they know you have their back, and they are given the space to do what’s been asked of them.
What is your BYOD policy for remote workers?
We currently provide company equipment to our employees.
What were your biggest fears in managing remote workers?
I would say more fear a lack of productivity, lack of communication or engagement, even how to manage potential issues like workers comp claims. In almost 20 years of business, I can’t say we’ve never had an employee who didn’t work well remotely, but the instances are very few. Our team members value the benefits they receive working remotely, and are happier and more effective as a result.
How did you implement a remote work policy?
Can a remote-friendly company have a healthy culture?
Absolutely! Our teams tend to focus on communication because we do have so many remote members. We hold Town Halls quarterly so everyone hears the same information from our leaders. That information is then discussed in more depth within the teams to ensure understanding and encourage feedback. Technology is utilized to keep information readily available to everyone. Individual teams, and the company as a whole, come together annually to reinforce relationships, celebrate accomplishments, and plan for the future.
What advice would you give to a team considering to go remote?
Be selective up front. Take the time to know your candidates. Have them meet with several others who work remotely so they fully understand your culture and what it means to work remotely. Hire people you trust and manage by results.
What are the most effective tools for remote team communication?
We utilize email, web-and-tele-conferencing, chat, and of course, telephones. Group chats that can be archived for future reference are very effective in many cases.
What has changed about how your remote team operates?
As we’ve grown, we’ve incorporated technology more into our daily operations. With more people involved in each process, it’s important to continually increase efficiencies. We have more structured communication – from our performance management process, to quarterly “state of the union” type meetings – to ensure everyone is receiving the information they need.
What is your personal remote work environment?
My office is in an unused bedroom in my house. It has a big window in front and great light during the day. There is far too much equipment – 2 computers, printer, phone, headset, file cabinets, etc. – and a very large “nest” of power cords, but it’s very comfortable, quiet, and effective.
How do you personally manage work-life balance?
I maintain a “regular” work schedule as much as possible and go to my home office much like I would otherwise. My family knows not to disturb me if they come home while I’m working, but they also know I have the flexibility to adjust my schedule and be there for them when needed.
Do you have a favorite quote or bit of business wisdom?
Failure is not being wrong or making a mistake…it’s not doing what you set out to do.
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