No-show jobs, a job where you’re on someone’s payroll but never do any work, have a bad reputation for obvious reasons. Sopranos anyone?

At the worst, they suggest political or corporate corruption. At best they suggest a lack of attention to detail by HRs and HCMs who should be providing oversight.

No-show jobs are at least as old as the Roman empire. Most often they were about the money, sometimes they were a grab for status. According to Wikipedia, “in 17th and 18th century British naval history, the practice of ship time was a form of a no-show job, in which the (usually young) son of a wealthy individual was registered on a ship’s records, but did not go to sea or perform any duties, to gain seniority and standing within the navy, in which preference was based principally upon time served.”

Surprisingly though, no-show employees could be the key to your company’s growth. Many antiquarian-minded companies still adhere to industrial revolution attendance policies of clocking in and out on site. But most knowledge workers do not need to show up on time on a factory floor to produce widgets on an assembly line. Since (and in some cases because of) 9/11, world business has become decentralized.

As Thomas L. Friedman described in The World Is Flat, many job functions are no longer location-specific. One of the top policy changes that workers continually ask for is the ability to work remotely. As more companies compete for top talent, remote working means more HRs and HCMs are responsible for managing virtual teams.

You are not alone. The Workforce 2020 survey claimed that 83 percent of executives plan to increase use of consultants or intermittent employees over the next three years. According to Entrepreneur, in order to make a virtual team rollout successful, HRs and HCMs need to:

1. Define work systems.

Different people have different ways of going about tasks. By setting standards and defining repeatable work systems, the team generally has fewer questions and gets a feeling for how long certain tasks should take. These work systems need to be both standardized to allow for maximum effectiveness and tailored to allow the necessary freedom to complete the task to the best of one’s ability.

2. Have clear and detailed deliverables.

Simply telling people to do something is not an effective way to manage teams. Micro-managing isn’t either, which is why some managers avoid giving instructions with too many details.

It is better to provide more detailed descriptions of the tasks with examples of what the final result should look like. Then give the team the freedom to execute it with less instruction and fewer potential misunderstandings.

3. Make sure work hours overlap.

Regardless of what time zones your team members are in, you should have at least three to four hours a day where most of the team is online at the same time. Even if some of the team members are unlikely to need each other, being online at the same time brings the team closer together and is the quickest problem-solving solution.

4. Establish a meritocratic system.

Meritocracy stimulates people to work harder and better. Make sure to set up reward systems to keep your team motivated and better pinpoint the team members who can take on more responsibility.

The web is full of tips for managers on how to effectively manage virtual teams. For managers, Harvard Business Review has a great article on Making Virtual Teams Work: Ten Basic Principles. Most of these articles center around suggestions such as using video conferencing software such as Skype or Google Hangouts. Getting facetime with your virtual team will help you be a better manager, HR, or HCM.

Biz30 offers 21 Essential Strategies for Managing Virtual Teams, which includes these tips for HR and HCMs:

Hiring:

Test new employees with short-term work before hiring them full time

You don’t need to hire someone full time right off the bat. You can get a taste of working with someone by hiring them for a small project, and then, if you’re happy, move them on to full time. However, if you intend to keep them, It’s important that you do move them to full time work because if you have someone on part time or temporary, their attention will be divided. It’s also quite possible they will no longer be available when you need them. Full time people are relying on your company for their livelihood and are more likely to stick with you.

Pay virtual team members well

There are a lot of people who want to work virtually. Many professionals are willing to take a pay cut for the opportunity to work from home. While it’s true that you can find lower-cost team members virtually, if you pay them well, you’ll ensure that your team works hard and sticks with you for the long term.

Look for people who are the right fit for virtual work

Take a look at their environment at home. Do they have a quiet place to work? Are they constantly distracted by children? Are they living by themselves and unmotivated to get out and spend time with friends? Both distractions and isolation can be issues, and it’s important to make sure that your team is happy and productive while working from home.

Create a standard on-boarding process for educating new employees about your company

If you’re hiring employees remotely, they are not going to get the same “learning by watching over the shoulder” that can happen in an office. So when you hire someone, make sure that they have a training program (videos can work well) that educates them about your company and the way that you do things. Do as much as you can to get them adjusted to your company and to learn how to perform in their role.

RISE OF THE ROBOTS

With teleconferencing and a variety of telepresence technologies you could find yourself with remote coworkers who are robots. Wired magazine writer Emily Dreyfuss gives tips on MY LIFE AS A ROBOT. (Watch this video on The Scene.)

The hard part about managing absentee employees is monitoring their performance and calculating their pay. This is where Payday HCM’s Time & Labor Management excels.

Payday HCM’s best-in-class products easily and accurately streamline your time labor management.

Scheduling

  • Time savers, such as texting to a group of employees that a shift is available, or that a shift fits their talents, save you money and frustration. We customize our program for your specific needs.
  • Seamless scheduling of multiple people and locations.
  • Eliminate the need to remember all your employees’ unique scheduling needs. Ensure that the right employee is on the job.
  • Streamline the scheduling process to improve your employees’ job satisfaction.

There are many features to simplify how you do business. For ease of time management data collection we offer the following:

  • Telephone – Follow customizable voice prompts, and use touch tones or voice recognition to report time. Remote and mobile workers’ locations are tracked.
  • Web Entry – Use the Internet to collect labor data from anywhere. It can also be used in conjunction with data collection terminals.
  • Mobile Options – Collect time data through GPS and mobile apps.
  • Biometric Terminals – Increase security, eliminate fraud and reduce overall costs using hand or finger recognition.

Still not convinced that no-show employees will work for you? Here is a great story out of baseball about a San Diego Padres pitcher with a no-show job that has been going on for 20 years and everyone is happy about it. Click on the video below to find out Why This Ex-Pitcher With a Brain Injury Will Be Padre For Life

Kristin Munson

Kristin Munson

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