Hiring, onboarding, and managing remote employees

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By The Fetcher Team

Hiring, onboarding, and managing remote employees

10 mins read

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The Benefits of Remote Hiring

While many companies were trending towards remote workforces before COVID-19, the pandemic has certainly accelerated this process! As of June, 42% of workers were working from home, compared to just 7% before COVID-19. As quarantine restrictions begin to lift, some companies are reopening offices, while others are continuing their work from home policies for the foreseeable future. What does this ‘new normal’ mean for hiring and onboarding?

It is necessary to check your hiring process to ensure it’s optimized for remote candidates. From recruiting to onboarding, every step of the hiring process needs special consideration when everything happens online. But don’t panic! While it’s necessary to make some changes, your hiring practices won’t need a complete overhaul. With the simple best practices we’ve outlined below, you’ll be ready to go in no time.

The good news is, recruiting for a remote workforce has a lot of benefits! From a wider talent pool to major cost savings, talent acquisition professionals can really flourish right now. The world (or your time zone) is your oyster! Hiring remote employees means you no longer need to restrict your search to your organization’s city limits. You can source top talent from anywhere, as long as they’re able to work compatible hours to their team. Additionally, broadening the geographic locations of your candidates will also establish a more diverse talent pool, which has its own set of benefits.

Moreover, working from home saves employees money and provides them more time with family (amongst other perks), leading to the ability to attract and retain superior talent. Consider that in 2019, 95% of U.S. knowledge workers desired to work remotely and 74% would quit their job if offered the chance to work remotely.

Hiring remote workforces comes with huge cost savings for the company, too. In real estate costs alone, you’ll save up to $10,000 per remote employee per year. Though your company headquarters might be in NYC or San Francisco, you won’t have to pay big city salaries for employees living in places with lower costs of living. Additionally, 37% of tech professionals said that they would take a 10% pay cut if given the option to work remotely. And, since you’ll retain more remote staff, you’ll spend less money replacing talent, too. A task that can cost roughly 33% of the employee’s annual salary, and be a regular headache for you.

We could keep going as there are so many other upsides to a remote workforce (employee health, increased productivity, better for the environment, etc.) but, you get the idea! So how do you go about hiring a remote workforce for the first time? While not entirely different from hiring for an in-person position, hiring for a remote position takes special consideration. We’ve outlined tips on how to enhance each step of the hiring process to find the best remote employees.

Remote Sourcing

As with in-person hiring, sourcing and outreach cannot feel generic and mechanical. Don’t forget to keep things personal.

Provide a human touch

With all candidate interactions, making it feel personal, and 1:1 is especially crucial while we’re navigating this heavily digitized time.

Source at scale

Your pool of candidates is now larger given your new geographic opportunities, so you’ll have more candidates in your funnel. It’s possible to automate sourcing and outreach while keeping things personal with tools like Fetcher, which allows you to easily customize and individualize automated outreach.

Remote Recruiting

Since most recruiting already happens online, you may think your strategy is fine as is. However, there are slight adjustments that need to be made to attract the right candidates. Additionally, you’re also likely to be working remotely and need to consider how this will impact your recruitment process, too.

Perfect your job posts

A descriptive job post is your chance to highlight your company’s benefits and culture. Since your prospects may not be local, they might not be as familiar with your company’s reputation.

Expand your search parameters

You’ll no longer have to limit your search to individuals in your geographic area. Determine which time-zones are compatible with the hiring team and source within those zones. Remember that there may also be candidates who are willing to adjust their working hours for the right job.

Mobilize your process

Make sure your career site looks and functions properly on mobile phones. In 2019, American adults spent an average of 3.5 hours a day on their phone. Use this to your advantage by ensuring candidates can apply mobily.

Take note of how long prospects take to reply to emails and how well they communicate in writing Candidates that will become stellar remote employees should respond to outreach in a timely manner and they must have strong written communication skills. Clear written communication is vital to the success of a remote team, as lack of face-to-face interaction can lead to misunderstandings and confusion.

Create a unified system to keep your data centralized and accessible

Chances are, your team is also remote and organization is key to keep everyone on the same page. Decide on which communications tools and which data storing platforms your team will utilize. Fetcher has a built in team dashboard to keep everyone on your team aligned.

Schedule team check-ins, allowing your recruitment team to share updates and hold each other accountable.

Incorporating the above guiding principles into your remote recruiting strategy will help connect you to the right candidates.

Remote Interviewing

While your interviewing technique might not need a complete overhaul, there are some adjustments to take into consideration when interviewing remotely. Even though prospects won’t be coming into the office, the candidate experience is still paramount. Candidates are 38% more likely to accept a job offer if they are satisfied with their experience. Here are our top suggestions to nail your next remote interview:

Check your tech

Your candidate’s, and your own, time is valuable. Mitigate the risk of technical difficulties by familiarizing yourself with whichever video conferencing tool you’re using. Test your computer camera, microphone, and WiFi connection to ensure you’re ready to go prior to the interview.

Plan and script interview questions beforehand

Video interviews are inherently a bit difficult. Avoid awkward pauses and make sure they’re as seamless as possible by planning ahead.

Awkward and/or boring interviews reflect negatively on company culture. This is your candidate’s true first impression of your organization, make sure it’s a good one!

Make sure your background and attire are professional

You’ve likely gotten a bit comfortable with your colleagues when it comes to appearances on video calls (sweatsuits are still “suits,” right?). Remember you’re trying to impress the candidate as much as they are trying to impress you.

Ask the right questions

Behavioral questions that give you insight into the candidate’s self-direction and organizational skills are more important when hiring remote employees since they’ll often be working alone.

Consider giving candidates mini take-home projects and tests

This allows you to get a better sense of the candidates’ skills, work, and communication style. If a project is going to take more than a couple of hours, pay the candidate. This shows you value their time and effort.

Keep candidates informed

Make sure you clue candidates in on what next steps will be, even if it’s just a timeframe of when they’ll be hearing back from you. Everyone is going through a lot right now and infusing your hiring process with as much empathy as possible will leave candidates with a positive view of you and your firm even if they aren’t hired.

Remote Onboarding & Training

Onboarding new employees is definitely easier when everyone is in the same place. In the office, new recruits can pop by their manager’s office with questions, and quickly get to know their peers in break rooms or over lunch. So, how do you onboard so that remote employees know what they are doing and feel like they belong?

Completely schedule a new hire’s first two weeks

Avoid that, “wait, what am I supposed to be doing now?” feeling. Their calendar should be packed with orientations, training, and virtual socials.

Consider training focused specifically on working remotely

Despite its perks, working from home comes with its own set of challenges. As this could be your new recruit’s first remote position, make sure they know the importance of staying organized and designating a workspace to minimize distractions.

Address the mental health issues that are inherent to remote work

Work with your new hire to establish working hours and avoid burnout. It’s much harder to end your workday when your office and home are one in the same. Encourage them to take breaks, get outdoors often, and socialize to ward off isolation.

To help with this, facilitate 1:1 meetings and group meetings so new employees get facetime with their peers. Remember your new hire won’t have the chance to strike up a conversation in the elevator with their coworkers. The social aspect of remote workplaces needs to be planned.

Welcome your new hire via email or video conference

First-day jitters still exist for remote hires! Starting a new job is scary and overwhelming. Don’t forget to send a welcome email or set up a welcome video conference to make your new employee feel at home.

Incorporate the above tips to ease any discomfort and seamlessly transition a new employee into your team.

Remote Managing

As a TA professional, you’ll often find yourself working with hiring managers that aren’t as well versed in the nuances of hiring remote employees as you are. This is an opportunity to showcase your leadership and expertise by advising colleagues on how to navigate the process of managing a remote team. When bringing on a remote team member, remember to:

Communicate even more than you would in person

With little to no facetime, you must be proactive in keeping communication clear and thorough so new employees don’t feel isolated or confused.

Plan and tend to company culture

A lack of facetime impacts company culture. Remember that culture needs to be planned and tended to. Social interactions need to be scheduled as they won’t be happening organically.

Lead with empathy

Maybe your company plans to stay fully remote, or maybe you’re still figuring it out. Either way, we’re still in a pandemic and everyone is under extra stress. Your new recruit could be starting their new job while trying to parent or even teach little ones.

Recommend remote employee stipends

Whether for at-home offices or virtual exercise programs, stipends are a great way to showcase care for an employee’s mental and physical health.

With all of its benefits, and with the current state of the world, remote work isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. From initial outreach and interviewing to onboarding and managing, TA professionals need to make minor, but crucial, alterations in order to enhance remote candidate and employee experience. Switching to a completely remote workforce is a big shift, especially under the uncertain circumstances we find ourselves in today. However, as the last seven months have proven, we are resilient and will adapt as needed to keep pushing forward. Pivoting your hiring strategy doesn’t need to be painful. Implement the above advice and revamp your hiring process for remote optimization.

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