6 Must-Have Qualities for Upskilling Remote Talent 

If you’re here, I’m guessing you already know that finding and keeping great talent has become a bit of a headache, right? But here’s a thought: what if the talent you need is already in your team, just waiting to be upskilled?  

In my journey with WorkBetterNow, I’ve discovered that focusing on the strengths of your current remote professionals can really pay off. Upskilling is a smart move for small and mid-size business (SMB) owners that enhances employee engagement and retention, making it a solid investment in your company’s future. But before you can upskill, you need to make sure the remote professional possesses the qualities that make them capable of meeting your needs.  

Why This Matters 

Let’s start with why upskilling is valuable to you as an SMB owner. By focusing on developing the talents within your existing team, you can address skill gaps, improve employee engagement, and foster loyalty. This approach is particularly relevant for companies leveraging remote professionals, as it helps maintain a high standard of work and encourages long-term growth.  

The Benefits of Upskilling 

Upskilling has so many benefits beyond filling skill gaps. It can significantly boost employee morale and engagement. According to the Future of Recruitment LinkedIn report, employers are increasingly concerned about filling skills gaps, especially in areas like AI. By offering workers upskilling opportunities, employers can fill critical skills gaps and boost retention. 

“The talent pool for AI skills is very small,” says Erin Scruggs, VP, head of global talent acquisition at LinkedIn. “So we have to work closely with our leaders on this build versus buy strategy and how we can get internal talent to pivot, learn new skills and become AI experts, versus only going after a handful of people who have the right skills in the external market.” 

Take, for example, this success story from WorkBetterNow. Daniel Todd, CEO of Influence Mobile, initially hired a WBN remote professional to handle travel arrangements, but quickly realized the broader potential. This led to hiring seven full-time WBN remote professionals who managed administrative tasks, customer service, and upskill some of them to help improve their client retention metrics. The impact was substantial: Influence Mobile achieved a 100% retention rate in their new high-spend client program within six months, significantly boosting revenue potential. Moreover, a virtual assistant for the VP of Engineering increased his productivity by 40%, allowing him to focus on team management and retention.  

Key Qualities to Look for in Remote Professionals 

To successfully upskill, your remote professionals need to possess certain key qualities. Per the Future of Recruitment LinkedIn report, 73% of recruiting professionals say hiring based on skills is priority.  

“We have to help leaders expand the way they think about talent. Yes, education is valued. But there is no longer a ‘best’ or ‘ideal’ candidate based on pedigree. Brilliance is everywhere and it’s about tapping into knowledge, skills, and potential,” says Angela Benjamin, General Manager of Equity Outreach Strategies at Delta Air Lines. 

These attributes not only make them effective in their roles but also provide a strong foundation for further development through targeted training. By honing in on these key attributes, companies can more effectively tackle talent shortages by enhancing the skills of their current workforce instead of just depending on new hires. 

1. Adaptability

The business world is constantly changing, and your team needs to be able to pivot quickly. Remote professionals who are adaptable can handle shifts in project scope, technology, and even team structure without missing a beat. 

2. Communication Skills

Clear and effective communication is crucial for remote teams. Without face-to-face interaction, misunderstandings can easily occur, leading to project delays and decreased productivity. Professionals must be proficient in articulating their thoughts and understanding others, ensuring seamless collaboration across the team.

3. Technical Proficiency

While having a solid grasp of the necessary technical skills is important, the willingness and ability to learn new technologies and tools are equally valuable. Upskilling can enhance these capabilities, making your team more versatile and prepared for future challenges.

4. Proactive Attitude

We look for individuals who show a history of taking initiative. The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, so we seek professionals with a track record of winning and proactive problem-solving. Some things to consider: 

  • What have they done on their own for continuous improvement? 
  • Do they possess the soft qualities and traits that will allow them to succeed? 
  • Are they eager to learn and grow within your organization? 

One of my WBN team members, who was my longest-serving executive assistant, consistently demonstrated a hunger for learning and a desire to grow with the company. She expressed interest in taking on more responsibilities, and the timing was perfect. We transitioned her from her administrative role to focus on HR and operations. This new role involve handling sensitive HR materials, and to support her development, we sent her to UCLA for certification as an HR specialist. Additionally, we facilitated her visa so she could visit the US, enhancing her integration with the team. Her dedication and eagerness to learn have been truly remarkable.”

- Bernadette Capulong – Founder - BC Design House

5. Cultural Fit

A great remote professional must align with your company’s values and culture. This alignment ensures smoother collaboration and a more cohesive team environment. At WorkBetterNow, we specifically hire from Latin America (LATAM) because of the cultural traits we consistently find in this region—dedication, enthusiasm, and a strong work ethic.  

Additionally, LATAM professionals typically share similar time zones with North America and possess excellent English skills, making communication simple and ensuring they fit well with your existing team. This regional focus allows us to provide you with remote professionals who not only meet your technical needs but also integrate effortlessly into your company culture. 

6. Genuine Passion

Seek out individuals who are genuinely passionate about something, whether it’s their work or a personal project. Passionate employees are naturally inclined to go above and beyond. They are not just clocking in and out; they care deeply about the outcomes of their efforts. This emotional investment means they are more likely to persevere through challenges and seek continuous improvement, whether in mastering new skills or refining existing processes. 

By focusing on these qualities, companies can better address talent shortages by developing the skills of their existing workforce rather than solely relying on new hires. This approach not only fills immediate skill gaps but also fosters a culture of continuous improvement and dedication. 

Transform Your Business with Upskilling 

Consider how implementing upskilling strategies could transform your organization. By focusing on these key qualities, you can enhance the skills of your existing workforce, improve employee engagement, and fill crucial skills gaps.  

Sound good? Contact us at WorkBetterNow for expert guidance on selecting and training remote professionals who can integrate and grow with your team.  

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