The Covid-19 pandemic kicked the acceleration of remote work into high gear and many people will not return to the office at all. According to a recent Gallup poll, almost two-thirds of respondents said that they would prefer to continue working remotely post-pandemic.
This means your organization needs to be prepared for a remote-working future. Some steps you need to take are obvious, such as moving data and infrastructure to the cloud and getting your teams set up with the right video conferencing, messaging and collaboration applications. However, others are not so obvious, such as implementing processes to hire, onboard and manage remote employees successfully.
Hiring The Right People Faster With Less Information
With more people than ever commuting a few steps from their bedroom to their home office and joining a meeting with the click of a button, tasks that used to take hours or days now take seconds — including recruiting. Hiring and onboarding employees are occurring much faster in a virtual world, leaving less room for error. Therefore, having the right tools to gather information on potential candidates is more important than ever.
Hiring managers should conduct a 360-degree evaluation of a candidate to determine if they have the right skill level, experience and aptitude to do a job and decide if they are a good fit for the work environment and company culture. One way to measure this is through the use of pre-employment tests to assess a candidate's hard skills and video interviewing to evaluate their soft skills.
Companies snap up talented people quickly, so hiring managers need to be able to make the right decision about a potential new hire much more quickly than in the past, and often without the benefit of meeting candidates face-to-face. In addition to job fit, there is one skill in particular hiring managers should be looking for in all their candidates, regardless of industry or position you're hiring for.
Remote Work Is Creating Self-Directed Employees
The shift to remote work has shown that productivity increases when you give employees back time and allow them to manage their work priorities. According to a recent Mercer survey of more than 800 companies, more than 90% of respondents said productivity either remained constant or increased when they allowed employees to work remotely due to the Covid-19 pandemic. And according to data compiled by RescueTime, the time remote workers spend on “core” tasks that are directly related to their job has increased 4% while the amount of time they spend on communication such as email, chat, phone calls and meetings decreased by 18%.
The shift to remote work has enabled employees to be more self-directed and task-based so they can focus on and accomplish their core responsibilities more efficiently. This makes an employee’s average workday more rewarding and productive and benefits the organization. In short, working from home is allowing employees to get more done and enjoy greater ownership over their work.
The biggest challenge of the self-directed workday is hiring managers need to be sure they can rely on new hires to deliver quality work and meet deadlines. As the trend toward self-directed work continues, the impetus will be on managers to hire candidates who have the skills, attributes and personality to work effectively without constant supervision.
How To Hire Great Remote Employees
Once again, pre-employment skills tests and video interviews can help organizations assess whether a candidate is capable of being self-directed. Since computer proficiency is imperative for remote employees, hiring managers can use pre-employment assessments to ensure candidates have the required level of experience using computer applications that are required for the job. It is also easy to assess knowledge of job-specific skills such as accounting best practices, computer programming and mechanical aptitude.
Video interviews are ideal for helping hiring managers assess soft skills that are essential for remote employees such as written and verbal communication, ability to collaborate effectively with team members, empathy and problem-solving. For example, a video interview question could present candidates interviewing for customer service representative positions with a typical job-related scenario and evaluate verbal communication skills, ability to empathize with customers and problem-solving abilities.
Considerations For Successful Remote Hires
The shift to remote work means that managers are recruiting, hiring and onboarding people without the kind of information they used to be able to obtain during in-person interviews. For example, if someone arrived late to a job interview, a hiring manager could interpret it as a possible sign that the applicant might not be the right person for the job. However, this is not possible in a remote hiring world since it is impossible to be “late” for an on-demand video interview.
The lack of data hiring managers can gather and observe about candidates during the remote hiring process is a risk. And hiring employees who have the skills to be effective remote workers is a new experience for many recruiters and hiring managers. Pre-employment testing and video interviews are two tools that offer a data-driven approach, taking the guesswork out of remote hiring.