The Secret to Hiring Amazing Remote Managers

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Gallup research shows that 82% of the time organizations fail to choose candidates with the right talent for management positions. When it comes to hiring a remote manager, finding the right person becomes even more complex.

A Harvard Business Review survey of more than 1,200 remote workers and managers from around the world found that 40% of the remote managers had doubts about their ability to effectively manage a remote team.

Roughly the same percentage believed that remote employees would perform worse than those who worked in an office under direct supervision. And around the same number were dubious about whether remote workers could stay motivated long-term.

However, the study intimated that these three groups had significant overlap: Managers who are unsure of their own abilities to manage remote workers also felt that remote workers would be unmotivated and/or perform poorly.

How can your organization find and hire amazing remote managers who are confident not only in their own ability to lead but their worker’s ability to self-manage their own time and maintain productivity without being continually monitored?

Confidence in remote management skills skews older

In an era where bias in recruiting overlooks more mature workers, the HBR study revealed a startling fact: managers over thirty working in professional roles were much more likely to have confidence in their skills translating to managing a remote team. While one out of four managers under the age of 30 were unsure of their abilities, less than half as many over the age of 30 had similar doubts.

Reporting from SHRM notes that older hires often have had time to develop the soft skills needed for people management, and that being over 40 doesn’t mean “not digitally savvy.” 

Removing bias in hiring means leaning into recruiting solutions that help anonymize resumes and applications not just to provide a level playing field for race and gender, but age as well.

Confidence in remote employees’ abilities skews female

Another nugget of gold from the HBR study revealed that women believed more strongly in the ability of remote employees to get the job done. More than a third of male managers reported that they had a recent lack of confidence in their remote employee’s skills. less than half as many female managers held the same attitude.

Forbes notes that on the Fortune 500 list, only 5% of CEOs are women. In contrast, among fully remote businesses in the US, nearly 30% of CEOs are women. Women tend to value work-life balance highly, and this trickles down to their employees, with female leaders more likely to offer flexible work schedules and telecommuting options.

Good management skews top-down

Managers who struggled with handling the challenges or remote team management also reported that their own bosses tended to be micromanagers. Before hiring a remote manager, take a look at your own management style. Will you be able to let go of the reins and give your manager the autonomy they need to do their job? In doing so, you’ll be setting a prime example for your remote managers. 

By providing flexibility for how they do their own job, you can make it possible for them to pass that attitude down the line. Ask candidates for your remote manager position how comfortable they feel about trusting employees to do a good job.

Productivity skews output, not input

McKinsey notes that some of the most successful companies (including Netflix) found their teams work best when their productivity is measured not by the number of hours they put into their work, but by the outcomes of their work.

Productivity goes up for remote workers when they aren’t being micromanaged, pressured to install tracking software on their computers, or forced into multiple meetings every day. Ask prospective managers what their management style is like. If they are more about monitoring than measuring, look further afield for your new hire.

How Censia can help you make the right remote manager hire

Censia’s Talent Intelligence uses an ethical AI. This allows you to combat bias in hiring that can deprive you of a great remote manager with the soft skills required to nurture and empower remote employees.  

Anonymous mode removes bias indicators like gender, race, sexual orientation and age, which can prevent older or female applicants from being weeded out of your candidate pool. 

Diversity indicators allow you to filter by gender or veteran status, further helping you identify people who could be perfect for your remote manager opening.

By leveraging these tools, you can more accurately identify high-value candidates with the experience and ability to become amazing remote managers.

Further Reading

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Censia's Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

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About the author

Jennifer Thomé
By Jennifer Thomé
Jennifer is a content marketing specialist who loves breaking down complex topics, creating enticing content, and getting transformative knowledge into the right hands.