4 Tips for Managing a Growing Remote Workforce

Whether you’re a solopreneur, enterprise corporation, or somewhere in between, smart growth and a flexible workforce is the key to securing a solid future for your business. However, far too often, business owners and managers fail to adequately address and prepare for the various challenges that come with a growing business in post COVID-19 times. 

One of these challenges is effectively managing a growing remote workforce. As your business grows, it’s expected that your employee numbers will also increase simultaneously. However, as a manager, a steady increase in your remote workforce can often seem intimidating. It can also pose a number of uncertainties, especially when it comes to employee engagement, job proficiency, and manager-employee communication. 

If your remote workforce is experiencing a growth period of its own, be sure to read the four tips below for advice on proper management.

Be Strategic About Workforce Growth 

As your business grows, it might feel as though it’s to hire as many new employees as you can, as quickly as you can. However, in a business environment that is constantly evolving, you need to be smart about who you’re hiring and how they can help you achieve your business goals. This means putting careful thought and consideration into the (future) skills of your workforce: the employees you already have on board, the ones that need further development, and the ones you still need to hire as you’ll need them in the near future.

Workforce planning requires an extremely strategic approach. According to Oxford Economics, just 33% of companies have a strong vision for the workforce they want to build in the next three years, which means that the majority of today’s organizations aren’t creating a strategic, long-term plan for growing their workforce. In order to conduct successful workforce planning, be sure to not only engage your HR department, but the entire company as well. For example, finance and HR departments can work cohesively to determine a budget for new employees within a given department and what their starting salaries will be. Be sure to also consider your business’ goals. Where is the company headed in the short and long term? What are the set objectives, and what is needed in terms of human capital to achieve this? 

Embrace Cloud-Based Technologies

“As businesses grow and scale, the key dynamic that slows progress and, at the extreme, impairs a business, is the creeping effect of complexity,” says Arnab Mishra, President and COO of Transera. As more remote employees are added to the workforce, communication is often one of the first areas to become complex. The communication tools and platforms you once used may not be as effective as they used to be, especially if you’re overloading systems with new users. Consider all-in-one apps that include team messaging and project checklists.

For this reason, many organizations have begun to adopt cloud-based business applications. One of the cloud’s top benefits is its scalability, it allows your business to easily upscale or downscale your IT requirements when required. As the needs of your business expand, your workload grows, or your offerings differentiate, you can opt to add new applications to your cloud suite that simplify your business functions. Be sure to find a cloud-based solution with applications that easily connect and integrate. Offerings like Infor CloudSuite have a bundle of acquired solutions at various stages of cloud-readiness, which means they won’t operate as one cohesive unit.

Don’t Forget About Your Mobile Workforce 

Mobile employees can be difficult to keep up with as it is, especially when they’re constantly moving from one site to the next. When additional mobile employees are added into your workforce, employee management may become even more complex. It can be difficult to monitor the hours and working behaviors of all of your employees, especially when they’re scattered across disparate job sites and locations. 

By implementing a mobile timesheet application, like Timesheet Mobile, mobile workforce management can become a more organized and simplified process. With Geofence Autopunch built into a timesheet application, employees can be punched in and out of job sites as they enter and exit geofenced areas during their scheduled hours. Using a digital tool for accurate timesheets also provides detailed and accurate real-time reports for quick payroll processing and job labor costing. Better tracking of your mobile workforce is not only beneficial as a manager, but also to stakeholders in other departments. 

Create a Strong Employee Training Program 

With new employees starting at your organization on a consistent basis, and often at all different stages of onboarding, keeping everyone in lockstep can be a challenge. Make sure you have an employee handbook or training program in place to instill the company’s vision, goals, and culture in all your employees, regardless of start date. This not only communicates your organization’s values and competencies, but also ensures you retain the staff you’ve worked so hard to grow. As go2HR reports, 40% of employees who receive poor or very little on-the-job training will leave within their first year of employment.

In addition, be sure to communicate these things regularly, whether it’s on an internal social network, team-building programs, or even a newsletter that highlights company news and ideas. As Callum Sharp from purchase order software company Turbine suggests, “Tools like Slack can be really useful for achieving [good communication and continuous learning]. It’s social so it doesn’t feel like work, yet employees will be sharing (and accessing) useful and insightful material, which will increase knowledge and awareness on relevant topics.” 

Effectively growing your mobile workforce in these uncertain times is certainly no simple feat, but when approached strategically it can have a long term beneficial impact on your organization. Be sure to use the tips above to make the process simpler and more streamlined.

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