When I was a sales representative, we all thought that remote work was the pasture that older sales reps went out to before they retired. Once established as a top performer, they would leave the office, and they would just stay a rep forever. Lone ranger sales guys/ girls that crushed sales numbers in their PJs somewhere far, far away. The connotation is that once you go remote, there was no way to grow.
The same thought process seems to be very real outside of sales. Most people think that once someone has chosen to go remote, they are a lone wolf, not a manager, or a “company man”. Maybe this was true in the past, but it certainly is not true now. In order to get the best talent, new hires need to know that growth is a possibility, even if they’re actually far away crushing sales in their PJs. Here’s how:
Outline a career path
Maybe you are actually looking for a lone ranger salesperson, but make sure to set that expectation. If management is a possibility at some point, you’ll want to outline that in the interview process.
Setting the right expectations during the interview process is crucial. Maybe your candidate doesn’t want to be a manager, they could be happy doing their exact job function forever. But maybe your candidate has leadership skills and wants to be a manager. Just make sure that you can match the nature of the opportunity with the candidates aspirations.
Build requirements for promotion
I’ve found that an actual document outlining a promotion structure works well. Hopefully all of your new hires wants to work hard, but if your employees have a transparent promotion structure, there will be no confusion and they’ll know that career progress is a reality.
For example, if you are a software company looking to hire a customer success rep/ account manager – you know that churn kills you. In order for that account manager to be promoted, outline an acceptable rate of churn on their accounts. If only 2% of their customers churn over 1 year, write a document explaining their promotion schedule (or demotion based on performance).
By doing this, your staff will be less focused on competing with their co-workers and more focused on the customer. Hopefully they want to be naturally helpful, but if their hard work is to be rewarded, your employees need to know.
Equity might not be a career growth opportunity in terms of job title, but you might tap into some serious motivators. For me, I need to be building something, if I know that my hard work is compounding based on my performance I’m a bit more likely to take that opportunity seriously. I usually feel more bought in when my employer trusts me enough to give me equity in the company. If people are literally invested in your company, they’re introduced to the concept of “taking ownership”.
Give them the right tools
Working remotely doesn’t often allow for in-person meetings between managers and employees. I worked at a company where I FaceTimed with my boss once per week, but I never actually met with him in person.
If you want your employees to be aspiring managers, you need to manage them well. Having the right software tools are essential to do so. I’ll do another post on software, but the basics include Project management tools (click for link to list), Communication tools (click for link to list), and a CRM (click for link to list).
The workplace is changing and remote workers have the same opportunities as in-office employees. With the right systems in place, internal growth at remote companies should be the same, if not faster than brick-and-mortar shops. Just remember to set the right expectations. Whether the job is in-person or at a remote friendly company, good employees with management potential usually find a way to become managers (even if it means working somewhere else).
If you have questions about these systems, just leave a comment below or reach out to me, I would love to discuss.