Choosing the Right Virtual Employee

Does your virtual employee have the V factor?

Does your virtual employee have the V factor?

Things change. People change.

No, I’m not breaking up with you, I’m suggesting that if you already have virtual (telecommuting, teleworking, etc.) employees and are facing challenges, or if you are considering making more of your operation virtual, the right person in your OFFICE may not be the right person AT HOME.

Let me explain.  The “A” players you have on your team now may need the contact, input and stimulation that only a brick-and-mortar location can provide. Many managers make the terrible mistake of assuming an “A” player will remain an “A” player under different circumstances.  When you are considering moving an employee into a virtual position or if you are hiring for a virtual position, look for the V Factors:

1) Self-solving:  Can he solve problems on his own or find a way to get the answer when the communication process may not be as crisp as in an office? Hear this: even if he seems like a problem solver in the office, he may not be when immediate resources or feedback are NOT available.

2) Self-confident: Does she have the guts and the intestinal fortitude to run to ground what she needs? Does she have the confidence and knowledge to make decisions when you are not around?

3) Self-motivated: He has to want to achieve on his own without needing prodding or informal visits. You’d be surprised how much info we gather at the water cooler, so don’t underestimate this.

4) Self-reliant: What if the resources aren’t available or not created yet?  What will the employee do then?  You can do your best to have roles and rules around the virtual employee, but there still has to be a streak of self-reliance so the projects continue on course.

5) Self-entertaining:  I know it’s not a word (so you can keep those comments), but it makes sense for my purpose. Think about how much time you spend at work visiting…chatting…going to lunch with colleagues.  There is a sense of isolation when one works at home that requires creativity and imagination.  I’m not talking about an imaginary friend, but I am talking about finding ways to break up the day to keep productivity high.

Does your potential virtual employee have the V factor?  Ask the right behavioral questions and find out.

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