Since the onset of COVID-19, studies have shown that most employees would prefer a job that offers the flexibility to work remotely. According to LinkedIn’s Workforce Confidence Index, approximately half of U.S. professionals believe that they will be allowed to telecommute post-pandemic at least part-time. This percentage increases in industries such as media (59%), finance (67%) and tech (73%). As the work landscape changes worldwide, companies must adapt to the remote work dynamic. This includes looking beyond their local area for talent.
One of the most significant benefits of remote hiring is that businesses can foster a more diverse environment. Inclusive workspaces enjoy higher levels of innovation, engagement, creativity and problem-solving—as well as an improved corporate reputation.
However, hiring individuals from remote locations comes with challenges, especially since hiring managers are often unable to meet candidates in person. In addition to ensuring that new remote hires have the right skills, it’s essential to make sure that they are a good fit within the company’s culture.
Here’s how HR departments can navigate the most pressing challenges when cultivating a diverse and successful team that includes remote employees.
The Growing Importance of Remote and Hybrid Work
The pandemic forced many businesses to shift to a remote model almost overnight. Now that employees have demonstrated that they can be trusted, they want more flexibility.
In 2021, Microsoft published a report in which they argued: “the next disruption is hybrid work.” Their research found that 73% of employees want a continuation of flexible remote work options.
Business leaders appear to be listening, with almost two-thirds of them considering an office space redesign that accommodates hybrid working.
Going fully remote isn’t out of the question, either. According to a paper published by the European Commission before the pandemic, remote work was on the rise in the EU. While this was initially thought to be a short-lived trend, COVID-19 might well have changed that permanently.
Hiring Remote Workers: The Biggest Challenges
With these shifting attitudes, HR teams must be more open to hiring remote employees. Here are some of the challenges they face.
More Applications to Process
Sought-after roles often receive applicants from abroad, even if the role is office-based. However, moving to another country requires a lot of paperwork from both the applicant and the
employer. When a role doesn’t require obtaining a visa or sponsorship, the position is accessible to many more candidates. With remote jobs, candidates from anywhere in the world can apply without the worries of relocating.
HR teams can expect an increased number of applicants and must figure out how to maintain an efficient process.
Implementing Proper Onboarding Processes
Onboarding takes a lot of time and energy when teams are centrally located, let alone when employees are dispersed across multiple locations.
Providing the necessary training, running through IT processes, setting up accounts and passwords and helping employees get up to speed with integral systems and processes—such as work schedules and paid time off—becomes more difficult with remote employees. These issues are amplified if workers are located in different time zones.
When hiring remote employees, HR teams must consider the associated difficulties and develop a comprehensive onboarding process.
Hiring for remote roles means that companies have the benefit of accessing a larger pool of talent. However, that doesn’t make onboarding a new team member any easier. Sometimes, having more choices makes finding candidates more difficult.
When it comes to sourcing candidates, navigating international markets can be challenging without prior experience. HR teams often need to sift through many candidates and eliminate those who aren’t the right fit before finding someone who does.
How to Find the Right Remote Employees
Despite the challenges of hiring a diverse team across borders, there are proven strategies that you can use. Below are three ways hiring managers can enhance their remote hiring efforts.
Define the Company’s Culture Beforehand
Having a clearly defined company culture is essential to finding employees with the right skills and personality. In 2019, research by Glassdoor found that 22% of overall survey participants ranked culture and values as a high priority that heavily influences workplace satisfaction; much higher than compensation, benefits and career opportunities.
Examples of what businesses may include as part of their culture:
- Giving employees the flexibility to work when they’re most productive
- Learning from one another and collaborating with team members with different backgrounds
- Fostering innovation to make the world a better place
In addition to attracting team members who are aligned with the company’s values and attitudes, having a well-defined culture also helps the HR team understand what they’re looking for when recruiting. This approach may surface insights that empower recruiters to reach out to ideal candidates.
Use Automated Software to Process Applications
The days of manually reading through hundreds of resumes and cover letters are long gone. Now, HR teams can benefit from technology to segment who they want to interview based on specific parameters.
Ways that HR teams can process applications with automated software include:
- Matching skills for job openings
- Career progression to date
- Demographics, to eliminate unconscious bias
Automating these tasks frees up time for the HR team to focus on matters that require more attention.
Keep Candidates Informed Throughout the Hiring Process
Sought after candidates have plenty of prospects. If HR teams keep them waiting too long, they may miss the opportunity to hire a strong performer and need to go back to the drawing board.
Keeping candidates informed means more than replying quickly after an interview. If delays impact the hiring process, letting potential employees know what’s happening is essential. Even if a good candidate is not hired, letting them know why can improve the chance of working together in the future.
Integrating email and other communication services with recruitment software will keep candidates informed and centralize information.
Remote Hiring: Challenging, But Worth It
Hiring a diverse team from outside the local region comes with a lot of challenges. However, the results are rewarding—as long as businesses plan correctly in advance.
Before considering hybrid or remote hires, having a well-defined culture is essential for identifying who will be a good fit for your business. Moreover, when it comes to sourcing candidates, automation software helps process applications efficiently to get the ball rolling more quickly.
Teams that broaden their horizons can look forward to hiring more innovative employees and building a more diverse and well-rounded company culture.
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