5 Key Steps to Hiring, Onboarding & Managing Remote Workers

Nathen Hirsch - Hiring Remote Workers

For busy entrepreneurs, time is their most valuable asset, and time spent doing work that could be done by others is time not spent on top-level management and growth. Remote workers can be essential assets to a growing company, allowing founders to delegate administrative tasks, customer service, creative work like copywriting, and more, freeing up time for higher-level business concerns.

Successfully hiring and managing remote workers can be key to scaling your company; your workforce is the tool that allows you to grow.

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10X Factory member and freelancer marketplace Freeeup.com co-founder and CEO Nathan Hirsch has years of experience with hiring, onboarding, and managing remote workers, experience that he leveraged into his own business. Freeeup.com is a hiring resource that vets remote workers of all skill levels, providing businesses access to the top 1% of their applicants. Nathan shared his experiences and his top 5 top tips for hiring remote workers in a 10X Factory Masterclass.

10X Factory Masterclasses, led by subject matter experts, are just one benefit of being a member of the 10X Factory mastermind group.

Top 5 Steps to Hiring, Onboarding, and Managing Remote Workers:

1. Make a list of everything you do to run your business.

Get away from your computer and phone, concentrate, and make a list of every task you do to keep your business running. Get granular - time spent on this list is an investment in valuable time saved in the long run. Once you have a solid list, arrange the tasks from easiest to hardest. Figure out how much time you spend on each task, then assign a dollar value. Once you've completed this step, you should have a clear idea of the tasks you can hire out, how much you're willing to spend on each one, and how much time you'll free up by hiring remote workers.

2. Identify your perfect hire for each task.

You've identified the roles that need to be filled; now figure out who would be the perfect fit for each role. Does the role require weekend or graveyard shift work? Do you need your remote workers to have a solid command of English? Are you looking for an entry-level hire you can train or do you need someone with experience? What's your price point for each task? Don't leave any loose ends - the more concrete a picture you have of the perfect hire, the better equipped you'll be during the hiring and onboarding process.

To further hone this list, figure out what you don't do well. Sit down and list your deficiencies. Be brutally honest - if you have a business partner or partners, create an open forum in which you tell each other what you're bad at. This exercise will further clarify the tasks for which you need to hire remote workers. If, for example, you're terrible at bookkeeping, and you spend hour after frustrating hour trying to balance your accounts, it's pretty clear that your time could be better spent elsewhere.

Hire a bookkeeper and free up your time to focus on tasks that only you can do.

Hiring Remote Workers
Why hire remote workers?
  • Greater flexibility in work hours.
  • Lowers expenses - you don't have to rent and maintain an office.
  • Much larger talent pool than local area.
  • Easier to hire for project-based work.
  • Not subject to local median wage.

3. Don't hire for skill only.

Skill is important, of course, but there are many other equally (if not more) important considerations when hiring remote workers; attitude, personality, honesty, and passion are critical attributes to consider. Skills can be taught and honed over time, whereas attributes either exist or they don't. If you hire someone as a virtual assistant based solely on their impeccable organizational skills, then find out that they only grudgingly do the work and are unable to adapt to feedback, you've wasted valuable time and effort.

When you hire remote workers, hire for attitude, the willingness to learn and grow with you, the passion to do the job well. Those personality traits will serve you well in the long run.

4. Set clear expectations.

According to Nathan, this is the most important step, and is one that many people don't pay enough attention to. Be clear about what you're looking for in a remote worker, and what it's like to work for you. Do you absolutely need someone who has a solid command of English? Do you give and expect to get honest and direct feedback, feedback that could be interpreted by some as abrasive? Make sure your new or prospective remote hires know. Do you have any pet peeves? Don't keep those a secret.

It's important to set your expectations high, and to make sure you've properly communicated them. The best way to do this is via a written new hire guide. Clearly lay out what you expect, and make sure your prospective hires understand, and you'll avoid wasted time and painful situations down the line.

5. Create and maintain a healthy feedback loop.

In his years of experience with hiring, onboarding, and managing remote workers, this step is Nathan's personal favorite, the one that provides the most long-term benefit. Being open to employee feedback and ensuring you hire employees that are open to your feedback is key to any successful work environment, and is especially important in remote work where you don't get the nonverbal cues you can pick up on in an office setting. Make sure employees know what channel to use to contact you, and vice versa.

Nathan recommends a comprehensive Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) document that clearly spells out what you expect in a remote employee and what it's like to work for you and for your company. Make sure the employees have reviewed it and understand the stipulations (Nathan tests his prospective hires). Managing remote workers can be challenging, but having that understanding in place makes for a far better and longer-lasting working relationship.


What about the risks involved in hiring remote workers?

There are risks involved in hiring any new employee - they're often provided passwords, sometimes they have access to customer information, and they represent you and your business. However, you can mitigate risk by following the aforementioned steps to hiring remote workers. Once they've gone through the process they're carefully vetted and present far less of a risk.

Learn how to grow your workforce with our top 5 steps to hiring remote workers.

What's the best country to hire remote workers from?

You can find great remote workers anywhere - nationality plays no role in great talent or what constitutes a good employee. That said, the Philippines seems to have an edge when it comes to hirability. English is a mandatory subject in their public school system, and the workforce is accustomed to working on Eastern time. Also, depending on the attributes required, the pay scale is lower than in the United States, so you can hire solid employees for less money.

Learn more about how to find the best employees with our top 5 steps to hiring, onboarding, & managing remote workers.

When is the right time to hire remote employees?

There's only one way to really scale your business, and that's by hiring. Nathan suggests that you consider the numbers and how quickly and aggressively you want to grow. If you want to quickly scale, you may want to invest 40% to 60% of your profits in hiring. A more conservative approach would be to allocate 10% to 30%, and 25% to 30% is standard.

The solo $5 million per year entrepreneur is exceedingly rare. If you want to grow, you have to hire.

Learn how to hire the right employees with our top 5 tips for hiring remote workers.