COVID-19 turned the traditional way of working on its head. HR professionals faced unprecedented challenges in workplace safety, shifting to remote work while continuing business operations, refining recruiting practices for a virtual world, training managers on managing an unseen workforce, tailoring policies to handle sick and possibly sick employees and ensuring the physical and mental wellbeing of staff. It created a working world the likes of which we’ve never seen and hope never to see again. However, the pandemic also taught us valuable lessons about the way in which we work, where we can best work and how to find great employees literally sight unseen. We now realize talent is everywhere in a remote or hybrid work model. Remote job postings on LinkedIn increased more than five times during the pandemic. One recent study found that 46% of remote employees surveyed have plans to move to a new location in 2021, because they can now work remotely. Employees no longer have to leave their home to further their career which will have a profound impact on the talent landscape. The best, forward-thinking companies understand this trend and have refined their recruiting practices accordingly to tap into previously undiscovered talent. Here are some post-COVID recruiting trends that can help you do the same.
Employ Virtual Recruiting Technologies
We’ve all seen how a hybrid work model takes the best of both in-person and remote work environments to create a more sustainable and attractive work arrangement going forward. Along the same vein, a hiring process that combines in-person and virtual processes will become the norm. The silver lining of virtual recruiting during 2020 was streamlined recruiting processes including virtual job fairs, interviews, assessments and onboarding. With the added benefit of now being able to conduct some recruiting and onboarding processes in-person, companies will enjoy the benefit of a hybrid recruiting process.
Among the many benefits to this hybrid recruiting process are cost and time savings. Consider the time and expense associated with traditional job fairs. To host a job fair table, an organization must buy a sponsorship, pay employees to staff it (including travel, meals and hotels), print and provide marketing materials and pay employees to review and screen the resumes obtained. On the other hand, costs associated with virtual job fairs are minimal. In most cases the only cost involved is the fee to participate. Time savings are also great. Virtual job fairs only require an employee to click through the setup and review real time data submitted by interested parties, and, in some cases, engage with candidates directly during the virtual event. Virtual job fairs are more environmentally friendly requiring drastically less paper and waste. Rather than having to shuffle through paper applications, resumes and other documents, recruiters have access to the same information electronically.
Most expect job interviews to largely continue to be conducted virtually, even for companies returning to the office. The logistics of setting up in-person interviews is harrowing and a tremendous time-drain for recruiters, candidates and interviewees. Cancelled and rescheduled interviews can put all involved over the edge. Recruiters and hiring managers can conduct more interviews virtually in less time than traditional in-person interviews. All stakeholders, no matter their location, can participate in the same interview. When a virtual interview is over, participants can simply move on to their next task. There is no waiting or travel time. The flexibility afforded by virtual interviews allows participation for those not able to easily travel opening up previously untapped geographical areas, enabling more diverse talent recruiting initiatives. Virtual interviews may also be recorded in case a hiring manager is unsure about something said or isn’t available to participate for whatever reason.
For some positions, however, such as those requiring strong social skills or senior leadership positions, an in-person interview may be best. Nothing beats in-person interviews when picking up on social cues and interpersonal skills. For these positions, virtual interviews may still be used for first or even second round interviews with the finalists being interviewed in person.
Focus on Attracting Remote Candidates
Remote and hybrid work models have demonstrated work can be performed successfully from just about anywhere which greatly expands the talent pool for employers. If you are just recruiting employees with the ability to work in-person at your office and excluding candidates with an interest in a more flexible work arrangement, you are missing out on many qualified candidates. Attracting candidates outside your geographical region requires aligning your brand message with the unique needs of virtual talent. Here are some actionable strategies you can employ to reach and attract the best talent anywhere in the world.
Employers must first communicate “remote” to candidates at every stage of the recruiting process beginning with its online presence. Employers should have a dedicated web page on its website highlighting their remote-friendly culture with links to remote open positions. A particularly powerful tool is to provide real-life stories from current remote employees sharing their journey with the company and how the company has provided the necessary resources to support their remote work. Stories shouldn’t be limited to parents choosing remote work to help balance work and family demands. Everyone has a life outside the office so stories should represent a wide range of employees and their experiences. Include the single, remote PT employee who also works as a personal trainer in the afternoons, the employee dedicated to animal welfare with two rescued dogs at home and the employee caring for an aging parent who lives in his home. Potential candidates want to see a company engaging in forward-thinking, employee-friendly practices like supporting flexible work arrangements. What better way to showcase this than having an employee share his or her story over the company’s social media channels. Potential candidates may see themselves in these stories, making the company appealing to them.
Potential remote candidates want to know the remote culture is real which starts from the top down in an organization. Corporate leadership must implement policies and processes that demonstrate a genuine commitment to remote employees. Where possible, policies and procedures for remote and onsite employees should mirror each other. Benefits and perks should be the same as well. If onsite employees have access to a gym membership, remote employees should receive the same. Onsite employees usually have access to snacks, soft drinks and coffee. Remote employees may be given the option to receive monthly snack boxes or gift cards to a local coffee shop. The point is, all employees should feel welcomed, part of the team and connected whether onsite or working from a remote location.
Focus on Diversity and Inclusion
One of the lesser-discussed benefits of remote work is its effect on diversity hiring. More traditional recruiting strategies are limited to a particular geographical area for ease of commute and to avoid relocation expenses. Unfortunately, when the local talent pool isn’t very diverse, it creates a barrier for recruiters wanting to attract and hire underrepresented candidates. Remote work options can help to break down these barriers, allowing talent acquisition to cast a wider net. When not limited to a particular geographical area, companies can reach underrepresented talent in other locations, anywhere in the world. This diversity in hiring creates a workforce with different backgrounds, talents and experiences leading to a more robust and creative staff. If a recruiter knows that its company has historically struggled to find underrepresented candidates locally, the recruiter can identify areas in which that talent is plentiful and reach out to those candidates. This extends to many underrepresented groups including LGBTQ employees and those with disabilities.
Historically, LGBTQ employees have had to face daily struggles in the physical workplace not faced for their coworkers. A 2018 Human Rights Campaign report found one in five LGBTQ employees have had coworkers tell them or imply that they should dress in a more feminine or masculine manner (compared to one in 24 non-LGBTQ employees). Others feel pressure to hide their sexual orientation and/or gender identity from coworkers. Working remotely can alleviate many of these issues allowing LGBTQ employees the freedom to focus on their work product and not on how others perceive them or judge them by their looks or dress.
Disabled adults account for roughly one in four people in the U.S. For the 61 million adults with a disability, the workplace presents numerous physical challenges. Some may not be able to commute to an office, and others have difficulty navigating the workspace. For some, coworkers only see their disability making disabled adults feel different and excluded from valuable interpersonal working relationships. Remote work opens up a wide range of possibilities for those with disabilities and allows employers to tap into their talent pool where once it may not have been possible. Remote work also solves the sometimes complicated and costly issue of providing workplace accommodations for the disabled since most disabled adults already have the accommodations needed to navigate and work in their homes.
Your Recruiting Strategy Begins with Smart HR
The post-COVID business world is gearing up and heating up, and companies are already competing with each other to find and hire the best talent around the world. Traditional recruiting strategies will not cut in in this new environment. Employees’ expectations have changed, and the best companies will use remote working arrangements as one recruiting tool to appeal to employees and get them in the virtual door. Smart HR has been working with its clients to adapt their recruiting strategies to keep them on trend with the new marketplace. Smart HR can also help train managers to deal with unprecedented challenges of supervising a remote workforce such as conducting all-inclusive meetings with employees in different geographical locations and providing appropriate and timely feedback virtually. Smart HR recognizes one size does not fit all and prides itself on devising and implementing client-specific strategies. Call today.