Have you been thinking about adding more remote talent to your workforce? Or expanding your current remote working options to more and more employees?
If so, you are in good company.
In most offices, the norm is that nearly 50 percent of employees work from home at least once per week. However, only 18 percent of workers are remote 100 percent of the time.
But going all in on remote workers requires a strategic approach to your hiring, beyond adding a few more communication tools.
Remote Workers Are More Productive
One of the top reasons companies should consider hiring remote talent is productivity.
It’s been proven that employees that work from home are often more productive than their in-office counterparts. Nicholas Bloom, a professor at Stanford, ran a test comparing workers at home versus in the office. Workers at home had a 13% performance increase compared to people doing the same work in an office.
Employees enjoy working from anywhere, whether it be at their house, the coffee shop or a co-working space. Remote work provides opportunities for travel, shorter commute times and a few extra minutes with family.
It benefits employers, too. Companies can save money on office space and draw from a greater talent pool. According to Deloitte, companies spend between $12,000 and $15,000 per employee on facility costs each year, even though those spaces are empty 40% of the time.
By adding remote workers to your company, you’re embarking on a journey of flexibility--for you and your company.
Get access to the best talent in the world
Hiring remote gives your business access to A-players from all over the country and globe.
Bloom’s research said that “...the share of managers in the United States, United Kingdom, and Germany allowed to (work from home) during normal hours is almost 50 percent, signaling that this is now a mainstream practice. Second, the share in many developing countries is surprisingly high, at 10 percent or 20 percent.”
Workers all over the world are looking for remote opportunities, and you can tap into that capability.
The reasons enabling that increase are self-evident: widespread Internet access, more tools in the cloud and cost-effective computing solutions.
The distance demands that workers be more specific and clear because you may not have an opportunity later to follow up. However, it not only written communication. 92% of remote workers say that video is an important component of their workday.
Recruiting remote workers
When recruiting remote workers, many of the same rules apply to sourcing other types of employees but magnified. Your culture will be shaped in a new way, the interview will have a different feel and their work hours may depend on your company processes.
Entice remote workers with a strong employer brand, and then other perks like fair compensation to their city, offsite retreats and stipends for lunches or extended learning.
When hiring remote talent, trust is paramount. With highly skilled workers, that is the very thing that you’ll want to do anyway.
Face time with a candidate is still important. During the process, use video assessments or video interviews to help you connect with the candidate in a way that would otherwise would not be possible.
Video interviews create confidence and assurance from the candidate about who they are working with and develop a stronger bond than by the telephone alone.
Don’t forget about company culture
Even though your employees are remote, your company culture is still at stake: it doesn’t erode or go away. Remote workers must be kept in the loop. Silence is a culture and it speaks volumes. It allows employees to fill in the gaps and write their own stories about your company and relationships, which may or may not be true.
Remote workers should be included in any company culture initiatives, and not as an afterthought.
What Makes A Good Remote Worker?
Considerations for Hiring Remote Workers
Understanding the benefits of remote work makes it an appealing choice for both companies and employees. Many candidates may be pursuing your company because of your remote work options. But how do you make the right choice for your team, knowing that remote work is a popular and viable option that candidates desire?
You have to consider other factors in a candidate beyond what you would think about in an in-office, co-located position. These new employees will not be working directly alongside other team members or could be several time zones away. How do you account for that? Look for these traits when considering a candidate for a remote position.
1. Good communicator
Proper communication is the backbone of remote work. Remote employees must be comfortable using communication tools like Slack, Teams, Zoom, email and project management tools to help work move along. It’s much more difficult to stop by someone's office or to drop in an impromptu meeting. Remote employees must know how to balance raising essential issues and figuring out solutions on their own.
They must also be reliable in their communication. Showing up on time for video meetings or calls is imperative in remote work, because it’s the only time you may get to interact that day or week with an employee.
We mentioned at the beginning that remote workers are more productive overall, but maybe the numbers are skewed: perhaps remote companies and positions naturally attract remote workers because they are better overall workers? And the best become better by remote work?
Perhaps. But the key item to be aware of is finding productive workers and then giving them a chance to be productive and work remotely. Many people will apply for remote positions because they imagine a life lived at the beach or with constant travel.
Sure that could be a perk of remote work, but the work still needs to get done. Look for workers that have a track record of productivity or are highly motivated so that they can be trusted with doing work in any location.
A key trait to productivity in remote work is the right motivation. And oftentimes, goals can be a powerful motivator.
A recent study found that goal setting improves worker performance by 12 to 15 percent even without financial incentives.
This brings to bear two things for companies with remote workers:
- Set solid objectives, goals and KPIs for workers to keep them on task and motivated
- Find self-motivated people who have strong personal and professional goals
Motivation is dictated by what productivity expert James Clear calls the Goldilocks Rule. Goals should not be too easy or not too difficult, but just right. Remote workers thrive with clear goals because they are looking to add value, not appear busy.
Always have a clear “next” for remote workers. They should not be asking their manager for more work or assignments. This will deflate motivation and cause them to drift off and engage in other activities.
Things change quickly in a remote environment, especially when there are objectives that remote workers are not privy to. No one can walk by the big conference room and see the execs meeting. To that point, remote workers have to roll with the punches and be willing to take shifts in direction in stride. They should have a flexible spirit that also allows them to adopt new technology, methods, and processes quickly and efficiently.
Remote workers must possess a balanced and keen sense of organization to help others find work and projects efficiently. The new reports cannot be stacked on a desk. No one can walk over and find a budget presentation. It has to be filed away and organized in a reliable system--whether that’s Dropbox, a company wiki or some other method.
It’s a two-way street. Companies will need to establish these protocols and tech for remote employees and then remote employees will need to use them.
Having a well-organized system for retrieving information will save a lot of headaches, especially if workers span multiple locales and time zones.
Remote workers can be measured on results, not by an engaging personality or “looking busy.” It provides a unique opportunity to lay down the bare facts of what a worker has or has not done. Both sides--the employee and the company--can set clear objectives. This is a unique opportunity for workers to prove what they can do based on skill and talent rather than good graces or appearing to be busy. Recruiters need to be comfortable with that fact, and look for individuals who can provide unique value to the company, and not just be busy.
Conclusion: Hiring Remote Workers Is A Full Company Effort
As a recruiter, it’s not sufficient to just say an employee can work from home and be remote.
Remote workers are more than adding video conferencing to all of your meetings. It’s a different way of interacting with employees that could greatly impact your business. It’s a mindset shift and requires different mental models. Hiring remote workers is on par with opening a new office or rolling out a new product. And you should plan as such.
Your company needs a plan in place to help assimilate and develop remote talent. This may mean equipping them with the right tools, providing co-working space or wellness benefits similar to those who may be in the office. In a blended environment (both remote and in-house), you’ll need to establish rules of communication and processes so everyone feels part of the team.
Managers and executives will also need to adopt this mentality to properly engage remote workers.
Hiring remote workers is not something that can be done on a whim. Your company has to have a strategy for hiring and integrating remote workers into your company.
- Has your company adopted the mindset to help and accommodate remote employees?
- What needs to be done differently, if anything?
- What strategies can you implement to assimilate remote workers?