Here’s a business coaching question that comes up regularly. Many of your SME clients are looking to better leverage the “human cloud”–the pool of extremely talented subcontractors you can find online, from anywhere in the world, at a very reasonable price through services like Upwork.
The human cloud comes in handy when your clients need specialized services, such as digital marketing expertise, but don’t have the demand for a full-time position. Clients might also want to turn to the human cloud when they’re ready to hire administrative help. At the Coaches’ Coach, we’ve used virtual assistants for years to manage most of the day-to-day administrative tasks of running our business, such as processing payroll and creating weekly KPI reports.
How can you help clients successfully leverage the human cloud so that their contractors are integrated quickly, effectively, and successfully into their business practices?
Here are three principles to share with your business coaching clients.
Principle #1: Inspire
Most workers want to be a part of an enterprise that matters. Research suggests that the millennial generation, specifically, has a preference for social enterprises. Teach your clients the importance of the “triple bottom line“–a concern for making a profit while also caring for the needs of employees and the environment.
Your clients’ cloud workers are asking these questions: How is this company changing the world in a meaningful way? How are people’s lives improving because of what I’m doing? How are we caring for the environment in the choices we make?
To meet this challenge, encourage your clients to practice a very simple principle: INSPIRE. Here’s an easy way to do it. End each team meeting with an inspiring story, quote, or reflection that elaborates the social mission of the company. As the team disperses on a high note, triple bottom line aspirations will become deeply ingrained in the company culture.
Principle #2: Integrate
Bringing on new team members is challenging under the best of circumstances, but onboarding cloud workers requires an exceptional ability to INTEGRATE.
Here’s how to get it done:
Help clients create an environment that makes it socially and emotionally safe to take risks–and even make mistakes. Treat new cloud workers like bonafide team members. Invest the time to explain the vision, mission, and values of the company. Educate them on the annual and quarterly goals of the enterprise, and include them in team meetings. Encourage your clients to consider sharing their strategic and financial KPIs with cloud workers so the workers can see how they fit into the big picture.
Principle #3: Improve
Everyone wants to perform well and grow professionally. The opportunity to IMPROVE skills has always been one of the most desired traits by job seekers. Cloud workers are no different. Teach your clients to coach and invest in the development of their external experts.
Here’s a recent example. I onboarded a freelance writer to contribute to our content development efforts. In our first one-hour orientation meeting, I taught her how to source open-license photos online, rather than buying them from image warehouses such as Getty. She was delighted by this discovery, and I was thrilled to share this knowledge. I improved her career as a cloud worker by teaching her a money-saving technique. While I’m certainly not her only customer, and I’m probably not even the one who pays her the most, I do want to be on the top of the pile in her heart and mind. How can I do that? By helping her improve, even as she helps our business achieve its mission.
Help your clients develop the skills required to lead a globally distributed workforce by teaching them to inspire their cloud workforce to join a mission that’s worth their best effort; fully integrate them with the rest of the team so that they sense how critical they are to your clients’ success; and seize each interaction as an opportunity to improve their lives and careers.
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