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5 Facts you need to know about remote hiring

13th Sep 2020
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Remote hiring is becoming increasingly popular. 

At one time, cost-saving was the only incentive for employers to hire remote workers. But today, work-from-home (WFH) teams offer multiple benefits to companies.

Like what?

In an Indeed survey, organisations hiring remote teams have reported:

  • 72% higher productivity
  • 52% less employee churn
  • 57% improved morale
  • 50% lower absenteeism

This is over and above the traditional goal of reduced costs that 81% of companies met by lowering their operational and insurance costs.

That’s not all. You can access workers with specialised skill sets, without geography and time constraints. Plus, you can elevate innovation, demonstrate diversity, and reduce time-to-market.

But hiring and retaining remote employees can be challenging. 

How so?

Extracting quality work on stringent timelines is not easy, especially if your teams are separated by time zones. And, you can’t exactly hound your WFH teams for minute-by-minute updates. That just erodes trust and employee morale. 

To overcome all the hurdles of remote hiring, you need the right tools, processes, and mindset. Read on to learn about them.

5 tips about remote hiring that all managers should know 

There’s no denying that remote set-ups are here to stay. Whether you work with remote-only or hybrid teams, you need to revamp your ecosystem and make it conducive for your off-site colleagues.

Need pro tips?

Let’s take a look.

1. Vet potential hires rigorously

Tighten your employee screening process so that you hire only the best talent. Since you don’t have the opportunity to meet candidates face-to-face, be extra-cautious during the vetting process.

Why so?

You don’t want to go through the rigmarole of recruiting and training people over and over again. Not only is it tedious but also costly. The cost of replacing a lost employee is an average of €3485 per hire. Plus, new employees need time to reach requisite skill levels. Your productivity and revenue can be hit during the gap period.

The solution?

Create watertight job descriptions after consulting your HR team and relevant managers. Don’t compromise on the must-have skills and qualifications. Research the standard pay rates of remote workers in your niche. 

Try to schedule video interviews using video conferencing tools like Zoom, especially for positions requiring practical skills. If multiple interviewees are involved, dry-run the interview script in advance and test the equipment. 

Give priority to candidates with relevant experience. You can save expenses and time that would have been needed for training. 

Don't hesitate to call the references mentioned in CVs. Take the time to dig into employment histories. Look up reviews from past employers on sites like Monster and Glassdoor.

If you are hiring international workers, consult legal and compliance experts before signing on the dotted line. The extra time you devote to this stage can help you avoid lay-offs and downtime in the future.

2. Equip your teams with the right tech stack

Invest in tools that enable seamless communication and collaboration between your onsite and remote teams. Train the new hires about using the tools and troubleshoot their issues on priority so that work goes on unhindered.

Here are the basic tools that remote teams need:

  • Project management tools like Jira and Trello to assign action items and track completion status.
  • ProProfs Training Maker for training and remote learning in one place.
  • Team communication tools like Skype and Slack to keep everyone on the same page.
  • Webcasting tools for daily meets and training sessions.
  • Email marketing tools to schedule and track emails to team members.

For industry-specific needs, you may need other tools. Before accessing or sharing your sensitive business data on third-party devices, have your IT team check their security. If you have the budget and skills, you can create proprietary tools tailored to your unique needs.

2. Keep the communication channels open and flexible

Your remote teams are away from the action. They need more managerial support than regular teams. Well-planned processes and transparent communication is vital when you work with scattered groups.

Ensure that your communication lines are open when your remote teammates are active. House all critical project information in the cloud so that teams can access it anytime, anywhere. 

Always ask for feedback on policy changes from impacted employees. Be open to suggestions, even from subordinates. Avoid addressing volatile issues in team forums. 

If you work with foreign remote teams, follow these best practices to manage them:

  • Plan meetings at feasible times.
  • Understand their cultural expectations, such as national holidays.
  • Address individual issues arising out of language barriers.

4. Convey quality and delivery standards

Imbibe a culture of productivity into your remote workers from day one. There is no reason why they should be any less accountable or productive than in-house employees. 

During project kick-offs, draw attention to the turn-around-times and quality standards you expect. Break down complex projects into short, attainable sprints. Ask for status updates during daily or weekly meetings.

Since impromptu catch-ups are impossible with remote teams in different locations, assign mentors to help them. Provide them with detailed templates and tutorials. But don’t hand-hold excessively else they won’t feel ownership of their work, team, and company. 

Anything else?

Yes. With out-of-sight teams, you may be tempted to micro-manage. But strive to balance freedom and control. 

Encourage your remote workers to set aside distraction-free workspaces, especially for meetings. They should log in on-time and inform their managers about early punch-outs. Don’t think twice before taking disciplinary action against errant workers. It’s essential to set the right precedent. 

5. Build a cohesive work culture

Work culture is more than just the office dress code and physical workplace. It’s about putting company values into practice. This should reflect on remote employees as well.

Not many managers bother to create an inclusive culture to make their remote teams feel valued and comfortable. 

Remote teams often complain of feeling isolated and shunned, which can hamper their morale and productivity in the long-term. That’s one reason why the attrition rate of remote workers is relatively high.

Don’t believe me?

Take a look at how 1,100 remote workers responded in a Harvard survey:

how 1,100 remote workers responded
Harvard Business Review

Image via Harvard Business Review

Paying heed to the trend, companies like IBM have reversed their remote-work policy and called back their work-from-home teams. They realised that out-of-office teams are no good for the company.

However, such drastic measures can be avoided if you follow a few tips: 

  • Set common goals: To bind team members to the company, envision common goals for them. To evoke a sense of ownership in them, explain how they are contributing to the company’s growth. Include them in the decision-making process, at least in matters that directly impact them. 
  • Respect cultural differences: Language barriers can garble team communication. Time differences can cause a communication lag. But, you need to be flexible and empathetic and come up with a comfortable working solution. Use translation tools and auto-schedulers for clear, prompt communication.
  • Be supportive: Get to REALLY know your remote employees on a personal level. Then, you can appreciate their unique challenges and capabilities. Encourage your teams to mingle and work collaboratively. Arrange frequent team meetings, welcome new hires, and celebrate birthdays and achievements. 

Ready to ace remote hiring?

Like it or not, remote working is a reality you need to accept. Even as lockdowns lift, the WFH trend continues. Organisations that don’t adapt quickly are bound to find their available talent pool shrinking. While sourcing and recruiting the best talent is half the battle won, you also need to learn tactics to keep remote workforces engaged.

What kind of challenges do you face with remote teams? Share your concerns in the comments below. I’ll be glad to address them.

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