Remote working has been somewhat of a buzzword for the past year – and it’s here to stay. Organisations across the globe were forced to shut down offices in a matter of days, and many of us are still working out of home offices and kitchen tables today.
Companies that are open to hiring remotely and that offer hybrid working models are looking more desirable than ever. One in five Gen Z and Millennials would consider moving elsewhere in the UK if their job became a remote-working role. However, embracing a permanently flexible workplace, while still growing a team and fostering company culture, can be challenging.
A change in perspective
Prior to the pandemic it wasn’t unusual for a small portion of the workforce to be fully remote or have some flexibility on where they worked. In hindsight, those that weren’t physically present were often an afterthought and many of our talent programs, our benefits and perks were not designed with them in mind, including onboarding.
Then the pandemic happened. Suddenly HQ and building-centric behaviours went away and those of us who were always in the room finally understood what it was like to feel disconnected, to not be plugged into hallway jokes and to not be up to speed on everything going on. It taught us empathy, gave us pause and drove us to redesign many talent offerings, including our onboarding, with a far more educated viewpoint.
Showcase your ‘new normal’
When it comes to recruiting, it is just as important for the company to make a good first impression as it is for the prospective employee. Even if a company is not planning on switching to fully remote, virtual is here to stay in some form. A flexible and robust remote recruiting approach will be essential going forward, and focusing on some of the basics will ensure an engaging experience.
- Video is important in ensuring meaningful connections can be made, avoid interviewing by phone
- Find ways to showcase your culture and give a flavour of what it is like to work at your company. Employee stories, photos and videos can offer insight into a team’s personality and can also be shared on company social channels to attract talent
- Demonstrate commitment to remote onboarding with specifics, and if you’re big on company culture make sure this comes across by showcasing your social calendar and employee welfare and support programs.
Supporting talent, wherever they are
Remote onboarding is a constant game of adjusting, evolving programs for all and tailoring them for each individual. New hires have all the same distractions and struggles that the rest of your employees do, on top of starting a new job.
When someone starts a new job in an office, they are surrounded by the culture, it embraces them as they begin their new journey. There are people either side of their desk offering to help. With virtual onboarding, this can often be true in the first few days or weeks, but then people get busy.
To combat this, create a roadmap that stretches out over several months with ongoing check-ins. Consider how this new normal brings opportunities to do things differently, make your orientation training self paced, allow someone to access it on demand, accommodating those who are juggling home-schooling, or fighting with flat mates for bandwidth.
Remote is here to stay and if companies plan it well and make it a thoughtful and engaging experience, from the first moment of candidate outreach to day 180 of a new hire’s journey, then they can set themselves apart and attract the best workforce imaginable.
Jo Deal is the Chief Human Resources Officer at LogMeIn.