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A 7-Point Checklist for Remote-Employee Success in 2020

By December 6, 2019 3 min read

Forbes contributor Diane Mulcahy recently interviewed Krystal Hicks on the topic of “why companies don’t trust their employees.” (Krystal Hicks is the founder of JOBTALK – a resource for career-curious professionals throughout every phase of their journey.)

When I read Krystal’s observations in this article/interview, it occurred to me that they were so good, they could easily serve as a Checklist for 2020 Remote-Employee Success.

So I decided to organize them into that list! Here are some highlights from the interview, along with my added seven checklist points (in bold headers.)

1. Do You Trust your People?

Diane Mulcahy asked Krystal why so many companies are slow to implement remote or flexible work policies. Krystal’s response? “It’s trust. There’s no trust. And the mistrust stems from leadership.”

To quote Krystal further,

“Companies that are attracting incredible talent demonstrate that they trust their employees. They provide people with a choice about where to work, and the tools, like video conferencing, to make sure that they’re successful… Trust is the new currency, and the best talent wants to work for a company that trusts them.” 

2. Do You Measure Productivity Effectively? 

Krystal told a story about a client of hers who was concerned that remote workers wouldn’t work as hard if they were unsupervised. Her response to this fear is excellent:

“The real question for companies and leaders considering remote work policies is: How do you measure productivity when employees are at their desks in front of you? And if you do not measure them in the office, then it’s difficult to assume that people are going to be less productive at home. Companies need to figure out how they can implement metrics to measure productivity for everyone, no matter where they are working.”

3. Do You Have The Right People Managing Your Remote Teams?

“The Achilles heel of most organizations is promoting the wrong people into people management roles,” Krystal said.

“I think we have this epidemic of people who were great producers who received promotions into management, and they are terrible managers. There was an assumption made that because they were a great performer, that they would be a great people manager. And I think those are two starkly different things. And I’ve seen it be such a devastating move at so many of the clients that I’ve worked with because bad managers will chase out great employees.”

4. Have You Shifted from Blockbuster to Netflix?

 Diane Mulcahy asked Krystal what she means when she uses the term Managerial Darwinism. Krystal explained that what she’s saying is “adapting or dying. It is the understanding that there is Blockbuster and there is Netflix – you have a choice about which one you’ll be.”

5. Do You Accept That You Have Less Power/Control Over Employees Than You Used To?

 “Employers have less power because they no longer have the same level of control over their employees. Most importantly, they don’t own the financial future of their employees anymore. More employees have side gigs and no longer rely on their employers for 100% of their income. They’re earning money outside their full-time job, and that changes the power dynamic.”

6. Do You Hold Retention Interviews?

According to Krystal,

“I’ve heard of a lot of people say that they do exit interviews, but I believe there is such good information in retention interviews, where you talk to people that have been at the company for 3, 5, and 10 years and learn: What has kept them? Companies have amazing employees that they are not leveraging as a source of information.”

7. Do You Budget for Consultants? 

Krystal has observed that companies are thinking about consultants differently.

“They’ve either already had success working with a consultant, or they hear about other companies that have had a good experience, or they’re watching their high-performing employees leave to become independent consultants. Companies are realizing and recognizing that consultants are a reliable source of talent.

I’m also now seeing companies start to budget for consultants, which is a significant shift, and a strong indicator of demand, because when a company has a budget, they’re going to spend it.”

One more quote from Krystal Hicks helps conclude our checklist:

“The stakes are high for companies to figure out remote work because employees are really demanding it.”

Aaron Wagner
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