Managing employees and teams from afar may seem daunting; it doesn’t have to be.
Although we’ll admit that it is a different approach than many managers are used to, technology makes it easier than ever. It allows us to get more out of every initiative we take.
This goes without saying that having reasonable remote management procedures is no longer a temporary measure but well anchored as the new business reality.
And while managing remote teams may feel like a new concept for many SMBs, it is a well-established practice in rapid-growth companies. Luckily, this means that the best practices are already out there and battle-tested!
Let's take this opportunity to improve our management methods and facilitate this transition to provide a better working environment for our employees, managers, and your organization's best interest.
With the right technology and support, these changes are quick to implement at a low cost and represent a high return on investment potential within the first 6 to 12 months.
The icing on the cake is that Canadian companies have your success at heart and have created the solutions you need!
In this article, to make your life easier, we list the 9 best Canadian tools to manage remote employees and teams.
Discover a combination of technological solutions that will cover your core business needs while offering the best quality/price ratio!
1. Human Resources Management
One of the cornerstones of good business practice is centralizing your employees’ information. You shouldn't have to do extensive research to find out:
- What are the contact details of your employees
- What positions do they hold in the organization
- What are their salaries and benefits
- How many vacation days did they use
Of course, this is not exclusive to remote teams and employees but this information becomes even more valuable when you don't have easy access to your employees.
Standardizing and centralizing information allows your HR team to be more efficient and all work from the same, most up-to-date data at all times. This is where different solutions like FolksHR or HRWize become must-have solutions for your business to scale.
These human resources information systems (HRIS) simplify everything related to employee records, payroll management, benefits and group insurance, amongst other things.
Managing a single employee requires multiple administrative microtasks. This is why each optimization in an HR process has the potential to have an exponential productivity gain.
In addition, the majority of an employee's administrative burden is concentrated in the first 90 days of work. In the context of labour shortage, high turnover and employee retention issues, you will quickly recoup your investment!
2. Work Schedule Management
Work-family (and even work-life) balance continues to grow in popularity. It is essential to offer flexible hours to your employees to keep them mobilized and happy at work.
Therefore, managing availability is a growing challenge that comes with a heavy workload for many companies.
No more headaches when evaluating if there is enough space in the office for everyone or enough employees available to cover all of your work shifts!
These solutions facilitate the management of your employees' schedules on-site, remotely and even in a hybrid formula. When combined with an HRIS, this tool becomes a valuable asset for the effective management and allocation of your resources!
3. Employee Engagement and Mobilization
One of the most prominent concerns managers have when managing remote teams is the loss of human contact. For many, distance negatively impacts their ability to measure the level of commitment and engagement of remote employees.
These systems send your employees pre-selected questions covering a range of different topics. In less than 10 seconds, your employees can communicate what they like or dislike, what motivates or worries them, what they want or need to thrive, etc.
The significant upside for managers and business leaders is that these tools, just like the previously mentioned ones, remain 100% relevant even if your employees all return to work down the road.
Keeping our resources motivated and happy is a long-term goal, so you have to act today to master these new processes as fast as possible.
4. Onboarding, Training and Skills Development Management
One of the main vectors of sustainable business growth is the standardization of processes and the continuous skills development of those who execute them.
The need to train our employees is undeniable. It was, is and always will be a business fundamental. Remote teams are not different and need to be supported to thrive.
Therefore, working with remote employees pushes us to create onboarding flows and training programs that can be leveraged and offered to our employees, no matter where they are. Providing virtual access to training content and nurturing a growth-mindset culture encourages better documentation of organizational knowledge.
By leveraging your learning management system, you will be able to:
- Collect and document all the internal expertise within your company
- Reduce the risk of historical knowledge loss following the key employees’ departures
- Drastically reduce the administrative workload related to the management of continuing education
- Optimize every dollar spent in onboarding and training to do more with less
In addition to increasing your employees' self-confidence in what they do, you are investing in developing key skills for your organization.
If you are serious about streamlining your training programs, your company can make major productivity and financial gains in under 6 months. It is considered one of the easiest “quick wins” a business can make as it benefits all HR, Operations and Accounting departments.
Again, the time invested in such a project remains 100% relevant if your employees return to the office. Once your training programs are converted online, the theoretical learning components can be done on Workleap LMS, allowing more time for managers to follow up and support their team with added value.
Zoom is not the solution to all communication problems. There, it is said.
Now that this is out of the way, let's look at tools that can sustainably reduce communication time, distractions and stress in your business.
The optimization of communications goes through 2 fronts:
- Identification of the optimal communication methods according to their context
- Sound management of the various communication entry points.
Berrycast is an asynchronous communication tool that allows you to reduce the number of unnecessary meetings significantly.
You can more easily communicate complex information and highlight subtleties that might otherwise be lost in an email by quickly creating video messages.
It is a simple yet powerful tool that simplifies content creation, whether in internal communication or for external purposes such as training or customer support.
Another Canadian solution of interest for your communication challenges is called Missive. This solution allows you to bring together your emails, live messaging, SMS and other entry points under a single interface.
When remote employees all have to work together on standard files and threads, Missive makes sure nothing is lost in translation.
Therefore, it is easier to share and collectively collaborate on external communications, increase the accountability of contributors, centralize information, and improve collaboration between employees.
It's up to you now!
Remote working will continue, well beyond the current pandemic. You might as well get used to the idea and learn as soon as possible how to leverage technology to manage remote teams better.
Technology can only improve your practices and help you grow faster. The operational gains you can make with these 9 tools are significant, and all bring value even if your team comes back to the office down the road.
We are blessed to have great tech companies in Canada that can save you time and money, do not hesitate to encourage them and let them help you in these times of change!