When you’re not “at work” with your employees (because they are, for example, home health aides or home care aides working remotely), you may find yourself a bit stressed wondering how you will monitor, motivate and communicate with them. This is very common, given the nature of the industry.
However, even with the proliferation of smartphones, wireless tablets and other collaborative tools, many managers find managing remote teams extremely challenging.
It does not need to be. In many ways, managing a remote team of medical professionals is similar to managing an on-site team. Both situations require respect, communication and follow-up.
1) Set expectations. As you bring new team members on, be sure to establish how you want your company to excel, what your company’s vision is and – perhaps most importantly – what your expectations are of your team members. The more specific and clear you are about all of these, the better.
2) Work “in the trenches” yourself, at least occasionally. If you’re in the trenches doing the work you’re not just perceived as someone who is managing people and processes. If you are not able to spend time face-to-face with your employees, try to make yourself available (via phone or some other visual communication device) at least once a week to brainstorm or solve problems.
3) Make yourself available beyond normal business hours. When you have staff that is spread out across different time zones, you need to be available calling you during their business hours. Beyond the guidance or answers you can provide, your availability shows support, which helps strengthen your relationships with everyone. That said, establish reasonable guidelines about when to call.
4) Be sure to do what you say you will do. If you promise to visit a team member on Wednesday at 3pm at a client’s home, you’d better have a very good reason if you can’t make it. If you promise your workers iPads for job use, you’d better deliver. Doing so creates and builds trust – a critical component when it comes to successfully managing remote employees.
5) Hire right in the first place. -If at all possible, find benchmark studies that show what types of personalities succeed most often in the types of “remote” positions your firm offers. Then find people with those types of personalities.
6) Learn to “let go.” If you’re a micro-manager, your employees will come to resent you for it. Hire well and let the people you’ve hired do their jobs.
Do you have successful “remote” teams? If so, what tips could you offer others to help them hire and manage remotely?
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