How to Hire Good Mobile Workers

Hiring mobile workers presents a new set of challenges that managers must overcome in order to effectively make use of this relatively new trend in the marketplace.  Not every individual makes a good mobile worker—even if they’re star employees otherwise, mobile work may bring them to their knees.

As Terrence L. Gargiulo, MMHS, an international speaker, author, and media consultant put it:  “positional power exerts less influence with mobile workers.  Without the daily four walls of an organization, remote workers are unlikely to perform their jobs in prescribed ways.”

“Managers need strong influence skills.  Since influence skills are relational in nature it takes time to cultivate the trust and interpersonal connections associated with them.”

In order to build the best possible workforce for your company, you need to find employees that respond well to the freedoms awarded and unique management style necessitated by mobile or remote work.

For instance, in the home health care arena, you need to ensure not only that employees know what to do should an emergency arise, but that they have the wherewithal to act rather than waiting for a manager or supervisor to respond to a call for help.

Similarly, you don’t want one of your repair technicians to be on the line with internal tech support the whole time they’re servicing a client’s refrigeration system—they should know enough on their own to resolve the issue.  The following are seven personality traits that make individuals good candidates for mobile and remote work.

Self-Starters

You don’t want to hire an individual that needs prodding from management in order to get in gear.  You want to find self-starters that can not only maintain momentum once they’re given a task, but can stay productive when they’ve finished all that’s been set before them.

The ability to get things done and move onto the next project is essential for decreasing overall costs, increasing efficiency, and keeping your business running at top speed.

Goal Oriented

Managers can’t effectively follow the step-by-step actions of remote workers.  They can only measure effectiveness via plotting which goals are reached and which aren’t.  Therefore, when you’re hiring a mobile worker, you want someone who is goal-oriented as well.  This is one case in which it doesn’t really matter how a thing gets done, as long as it does.

Of course, you don’t want an employee who cuts corners or endangers your company, themselves, or your customers in any way (financially, personally, or otherwise). They must feel comfortable operating as the situation dictates.

Responds to Guidance Rather than Leadership

Both of the previous traits are likely found in candidates that respond well to guidance, rather than leadership.  When a good mobile worker knows what needs to get done, they find ways to do it.  Not only that, but they hear what their boss is saying and apply that to their work.

A bad mobile worker, on the other hand, generally needs leadership in order to get things right.  They need someone (the boss or maybe just a senior associate) available to give direction even for simple tasks.

Honesty

Honesty should be a top quality among every employee but when an individual is operating outside the immediate observation of supervisors, honesty becomes doubly important.  Not only do remote workers have to deal with procedural and ethical issues on their own, you need to have an accurate picture of what’s going on at the jobsite.

Fibbing about the reason for missing a deadline is one thing, but lying about a total breakdown in operations or communications is another.

Gives Feedback Freely

Employee feedback is extremely important when you’re managing mobile workers.  You don’t know what issues they come across unless they speak up and if they’re hiding something (either intentionally or simply because they didn’t think it was worth bothering you about), you may be in for a shock when something major goes wrong.

Feedback should be encouraged and should result in genuine responses.  If your employees are telling you something isn’t working, you should be looking for ways to fix it.

Tech Savvy

Mobile technology is one of the main ways in which remote workers stay in touch with their supervisors, their fellow team members, and the company as a whole.  You don’t want to stick someone in the embarrassing situation of having all the right skills, yet being unable to do the job because they can’t keep up with the software or hardware you’re using.

Thankfully, most people can quickly and easily learn the most basic functions of any piece of equipment or application.  However, if you have employees who are constantly struggling, you may want to consider remedial training or removing them from the position altogether.

Time Sensitivity

You want somebody on your team with good time management skills.  In-house employees are often regimented by the clock, but mobile and remote workers are able, to some extent, to work at their own pace.  That means you have to rely on them to work as efficiently as possible.

You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where an employee is always struggling to get things done at the last minute because they spent far too much time on the preliminary stages of a project.

Keeping good mobile workers is often as hard as finding them.  These types of individuals often value freedom, empowerment, and advancement above raises and they want to work in an environment in which their contributions are valued.

Making sure that value is communicated and that employees stay engaged with the company’s core values and their fellow teammates is an essential part of managing remote workers.  That often means you’ll have to relax some of the rules and restrictions that apply to your in-house workers.

For example, mandating strict lunch breaks is essential for keeping things running smoothly in-house (especially where customer coverage is concerned), but remote workers can often squeeze lunch in between locations, appointments, or scheduled service calls.

Essentially, keeping a good mobile worker is as much about adapting your management style as it is about investing in your employees.  Pull it off, and you’ll have an unstoppable workforce.

How to Hire Good Mobile Workers