03/23/2020 Steve Lovell

Going remote: how to hire in 2020

The landscape of work is changing rapidly, especially given the large-scale response to the global coronavirus pandemic. Employees demand more flexible work arrangements, and employers are looking for innovative ways to attract and retain talent. One way to rise to this unique set of challenges is for employers to expand their workforce to offer more remote work opportunities. 

A remote workforce gives employers access to top talent (without being beholden to local markets), reduced operational costs, and improved productivity. Many employees love the flexibility, autonomy, and improved work-life balance that comes with remote working. So how do employers get in on this potentially win-win scenario? Whether it’s allowing remote work on certain days each week, opening up specific roles to remote working, or setting up a completely remote workforce, hiring for these positions requires a fresh approach. Fortunately, we have some helpful tips on how to attract, hire, train and retain remote employees.

Attract:

Attracting qualified candidates to remote positions can be a bit of a double-edged sword. On one hand, without the restrictions of geography, you have access to a larger pool of talent than ever. But on the other, that talent has a wider pool of jobs to choose from as well. However, with some savvy strategy, you can easily set your company apart from others offering remote opportunities.

First and foremost, you want to ensure your company has built a strong employer brand online. Make sure you’re showcasing the values that define your company culture. The more present these values are, the more likely you are to attract employees who share them. 

Once you’ve shown candidates why you work, it’s important to show them how you work. Remote employees are by nature autonomous, but it’s helpful to preemptively provide a framework for what the job entails and what their obligations will be. Be clear about the exact level of flexibility you offer. And make sure to bolster this information with testimonials from current employees. It’s easy for candidates to gauge how they will fit within the organization with the help of first-hand accounts from those already thriving there.

Recruit:

The recruiting process starts with your job listing, so it’s important to craft something that stands out. Clarity is the name of the game here – so make sure you have key words and phrases throughout. Starting with the title, make sure to use the word ‘remote’ so applicants know it’s a work from home opportunity. The term ‘work-from-home’ (WFH) can also appear in the title and job description, though ‘remote’ seems to be the more widely accepted option. Applicants looking for remote opportunities will often search using terms that include their desired position and remote signifiers – so an Account Manager’s search will look something like, “Account manager – remote.” Including relevant terms in your title and description make all the difference.

You can also use your job description as an opportunity to underscore the benefits of a remote position. If a candidate is on the fence about whether or not a work-from-home opportunity is right for them, a quick reminder of what’s in the ‘pros’ column could embolden them to take the leap. Flexibility is the obvious leader here, but there are plenty of other benefits that are equally appealing. The reduced stress, improved work-life balance and cost-savings that come with not commuting to an office every day are highly desirable for many applicants. Taking every opportunity to mention these benefits can make your posting even more compelling. 

Finding candidates for remote positions requires a different approach than traditional on-site positions. Without geography to narrow the field, finding the right person in a sea of candidates can be overwhelming. Luckily, LinkUp can help. We source uniquely qualified candidates through pay-per-click and our new advanced email marketing solution to help you find the right remote candidates for your business.

Hire:

When it comes to the hiring process, assessment tools that evaluate candidates’ skills are a good first step. Ideal remote employees will have better-than-average abilities when it comes to communication, collaboration and time-management. Using pre-employment tests that screen for the attributes can streamline hiring.  

With in-person interviews at a temporary standstill due to the global COVID-19 response, phone and video interviews will be your primary means to screen candidates. The good news is there are no shortage of tech solutions out there to help your organization assess skills and culture fit. With the right strategy and systems in place, you’ll still be able to get to know potential candidates and determine whether they will be a good match for the position and your company. 

Train: 

One of the most common stumbling blocks for employers hiring remote workers is training. Without the benefit of learning through direct observations and everyday interactions in the office, onboarding remote employees is uniquely challenging. Communication is the cornerstone of the process. Set expectations early for how you and your new employee will communicate and share information and work with the team. Check-in often to ensure these expectations are being met, and to address any ongoing challenges. 

Providing training content like webinars and other online resources can be extremely valuable in the onboarding process, as can facilitating regular connection opportunities between team members. While finding the right method for your organization may require a little extra creativity, a flexible, communicative approach to onboarding will get your new hire(s) up to speed quickly and effectively.

Retain:

Once you’ve onboarded your remote workforce, your next goal is ensuring they’re in it for the long haul. Without the help of traditional office perks like unlimited granola bars and sparkling water in the break room, you’ll have to work a bit harder to find the benefits that speak to these unique employees. 

In addition to competitive compensation packages, ample vacation time and generous health insurance policies are highly sought after. Remember, without the limitations of local markets, remote workers have a wide pool of employers to choose from – so these benefits must be competitive with others in your industry. Opportunities for professional development are also key. Showing your employees you are invested in their long-term career growth speaks volume. And you can further sweeten the pot with tailored perks like memberships to their local co-working spaces or coffee shops – anything that makes it easier and more comfortable for remote workers to do their jobs will benefit employers in the long run.

 

As the way we work continues to evolve, the way we think about hiring must follow-suit. Flexibility and nimble thinking on the part of employers will ensure companies are able to attract and retain the best and brightest talent, wherever they may be located.

 

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