Remote control

Sometime ago, there was a seemingly silly question that “If we can control TV, washing machine, roller door, etc. by a remote, can we do the same to a business?”

This question was answered by Jathan W. Janove in his article named Learn How to Manage by Remote Control in SHRM, 2004. The main points of the article are as follows.

Due to spatial and time obstacles, problems in business will come. The simplest example is when a company has many branches scattering in different areas. And here difficult problems are unavoidable.

For instance, managers at some branches have to suffer the fact that their employees being unsatisfied with their jobs as they think the remote factories will be sold sooner or later, and therefore are absent quite often. At other places, sales people decide on discounts and credits for their own customers. Also, managers may have trouble when recruiting the wrong employees, etc.

There are six solutions suggested to overcome the problems if companies have to “control by a remote”:

1. Developing a frequent communication channel
There must be a phone conversation with each branch at the end of each week. The weekly reports also play an important part.

2. Frequent site visiting
Even in the branches without any problems, managers must come to take part in meaningful events such as praising employees, opening a new office, etc. This is also a chance to meet directly and talk to customers.

3. Periodical examination
There must be a policy of frequent and consistent examination of the branches

4. Modern technology application
It is important to use web conferencing, video conferencing and company’s intranet.

5 Diversified trainings
The company’s intranet must be used effectively to frequently send documents of expertise training. This should be done at the same time with traditional trainings in courses. This training must be considered an investment by the business. Therefore, the training programs must be abundant with different contents and there must be the evaluation of the employees’ awareness as well as the assessment at the end of the course to record the employees’ progress.

6. Special attention to recruitment
Remote decision must be made to recruitment task. The branch manage must report on recruitment periodically to the head office. This shows the presence of the company in the remote branches.

In the six methods above, the fourth one has been widely used by foreign businesses. However, there is a lack of combination with other five methods, making “remote control” is only technical and has not put into full play the whole “six methods”. The author emphasized on synchronizing all six methods without any imbalance to any method.

Obviously, the “remote control” of a business is not as simple as controlling a TV or washing machine as it concerns the human factor. All methods target at increasing the presence of the mother company at different branches, as much as possible. Then advanced technology and techniques prove all effects and functions, greatly assisting business managers in the information age.

Provided by Le & Associates. –


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