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How to retain your best talent in a remote environment

Male virtual assistant with glasses and a pleasant smile is working remotely in a coffee shop.

Justin Waldrop

August 2, 2022

While some organizations are asking employees to return to the office post-pandemic, many are embracing hybrid and remote work options. Overall, remote work can be a win-win for both employees and organizations.

From a team member perspective, remote work offers many benefits and opportunities, including time and money saved on commuting, better work-life balance and an increased ability to focus while away from the noise, walk-by traffic, and distractions of a busy office.

For both full-time and fractional workers, the feeling of having control over working location and conditions can be empowering, boosting both satisfaction and productivity. It can also be a factor when choosing which job(s) to take, and keep. For example, the ability to work from anywhere is one of the main reasons many of our virtual assistants (VAs) chose their VA career path.

From an employer’s perspective, the anticipated benefits of ongoing remote work include:

  • productivity improvements
  • increased employee availability
  • improved retention
  • enhanced ability to attract candidates
  • wider talent pools

Al of the above will be critical in the age of the “Great Resignation.”

Employees still want to develop their careers while working remotely

It’s crucial to ensure that learning and development opportunities remain available to remote teams. By leveraging new technologies for communication and collaboration, employees can challenge themselves to learn new ways of doing things. They can also be deliberate about sharing amongst team members.

Regularly scheduled meetings and check-ins help to make sure everyone continues moving in the same direction. Leaders need to stay on top of how their team members are doing and be sure to address any issues that arise.

As a team, Virtual Gurus has spent a lot of time and resources building the infrastructure to support a successful remote work model for our VAs and clients, and we offer a hybrid work model to our head office team as well. We believe that setting clear expectations, building a foundation of trust, and developing a few standard operating procedures are the basis for a successful remote work arrangement.

How leadership can support remote career development

Leadership can help teams connect with others in the sector and encourage sharing newfound knowledge, community resources, and educational opportunities. They can help team members who are actively engaged in learning and development to source and participate in remote learning.

Leadership should spend time learning about their teams — what they’re good at, areas they’re interested in developing, and any gaps or roadblocks to achieving success. Leaders need to understand how to engage their teams.

Cross-functional learning is highly recommended. It helps team members understand what life looks like for colleagues in other business areas, which is important when face-to-face interactions are infrequent For example, encourage marketing team members to listen to sales calls, giving them exposure to prospective customers. This will help them understand why customers buy from you and craft more relevant marketing messages.

Virtual Gurus’  Director of People & Culture, Marci, suggests focusing on learning and development to ensure remote team members have opportunities to expand their knowledge, even though they’re not getting as much face time with leaders and mentors.

“We recognize and appreciate remote work’s immense value for our team members and VG. I encourage all employers to dive into how remote work can benefit their teams and business outcomes,” says Marci. “Remote workers often realize increased flexibility and work-life balance, while employers who support this model are more attractive to prospective and current team members. Incorporating remote work into the traditional work arrangement can reduce expenses on both sides.”

Remote career development and talent retention

Taking an approach to cross-functional learning, regular communication, team meetings, touchpoints and reliance on tech tools allows your teams to stay connected and collaborative while maintaining high productivity and efficiency.

Your workplace culture, support for continuous learning, and the importance of fostering a positive employee experience are critical as an organization to attract and retain the best remote talent. Organizations must consider the benefits and opportunities of remote work and figure out how to integrate them into their organizational structures and business models.

For more tips on this topic, take a look at our other blog posts on remote work.

Justin Waldrop

Justin is the Brand & Communications Manager at Virtual Gurus.

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