I recently talked about hiring independent contractors and remote workers for your business, and how if done properly it can really help you scale and grow your business while keeping a handle on your overhead costs.
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And as a business coach for over 25 years, I can attest to the power of having a remote team of contractors to help grow your business. There are however a few pitfalls that are worth mentioning and exploring. Particularly when it comes to integrating an independent contractor into your team and helping them feel like a part of the company culture.
As a remote worker or independent contractor it can be easy to feel like an outsider. There is no daily water cooler chat, no face time with management and no co-workers in the cubicle next to you. So, it becomes crucial that you, as the leader, make it a point to draw your remote team into the mainstream culture of the business.
That’s the only way they will really buy into your company’s culture, understand your company’s focus, and have real access to the information they need to do a great job. Consider holding webcam meetings with your team monthly, flying your team together at least twice a year, or even setting up informal “lunches” where your team connects in new ways for a 30-45 minute unstructured call to get to know each other.
You won’t get and keep great talent in today’s competitive world unless you help your team feel a part of something greater than themselves and to clearly see how they personally make a difference in your business. This is particularly true for remote and independent contractors who may have other clients that they work with on a daily basis. Take the time to connect with your team and make sure that they understand the importance of the work that they are doing and the role that they play within the company.
There is a certain level of autonomy that goes with remote contractors and for many that is one of the perks of the job. But it’s important to set up clear, simple and consistent ways to self-score their own performance on a regular basis. To keep doing great work they need to be able to track their results, see progress, and correct as they go. One of the key parts of making a virtual team work is to make sure every team member knows exactly the standards they must live up to and the results they are accountable for daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly.
What concrete results do you expect them to generate? What does great performance of their position actually look like? The clearer you can paint this picture the more likely you are to be satisfied with your remote team’s performance.The biggest mistake I see from our business coaching clients who use remote workers is they have a fuzzy or incomplete understanding of what their remote team are responsible to do. By focusing on clear success criteria you empower your remote team to understand what they are working to accomplish.
Helping a remote independent contractor feel like a valuable team member is an important task and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. If done correctly, you will see value and be able to scale and grow faster than you ever anticipated.
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