Traditional hiring processes have gone the way of the landline in many ways, and one of them is geographical. Where are the best employees for your open positions? Chances are good they don’t live in your zip code.
Team members who live outside your company’s city, state, or even country are becoming more prevalent and accepted in organizations of all sizes.
How can an organization be sure to recruit, onboard, and retain these workers while not losing productivity or damaging their company’s culture?
Here are 7 tips to use when successfully hiring and engaging remote employees.
Hiring remote employees poses unique challenges. Not only must the person be qualified and possess the skills to do the work, they must also be able to function well away from the office.
Thoughtfully define your company culture. A strong culture is important for every employee, not just remote workers. However, finding telecommuting employees that thrive and contribute to your company’s success takes work on the front end. Lay out your organization’s culture and let it be seen throughout the hiring process. That way, if a person doesn’t feel like they would be a fit, you won’t end up extending an offer to them only to have them leave a few months down the road.
Be transparent in the job description and interview. Thoroughly explain the responsibilities of the remote position, including how often they will work remotely and be in the office. Now is the time to showcase the company culture and core values. Let them see into a normal day of working for the company and how they can fit into it, even in a remote setting. By making both the job itself and the company culture highly visible from the beginning, you gain the advantage of attracting the right people to the position.
Look for qualities that are useful for remote employees. Hard skills that are required to perform the job requirements are necessary, but the soft ones that create remote employee success are critical, too. Ask penetrating questions about their attitudes toward working remotely and why they think their personalities fit such a set up. In addition, dive into how they manage their time, their level of self-motivation, and their communication skills. Request examples of a time they successfully worked independently and how they made it work with a co-worker who didn’t communicate effectively. These insights are essential to gauging whether the candidate would be a good fit for a position within your organization.
Use background screening tools. While screening your job applicants for every open position is integral to the safety and productivity of the workplace, it becomes even more so with remote employees. First off, your company may be supplying them with expensive equipment, and you need to make sure they are responsible and trustworthy. Second, if you are hiring out of state or country, you may not be able to meet them in person during the interview process. Background checks can give you a more well-rounded view of their overall competency and reliability.
The background checks that are helpful for remote employee hiring are criminal record searches in the counties they have lived, worked, or studied within the past 7 years, as well as employment and education verifications. If they are international, an international screening is smart. Assessment testing is another powerful tool to uncover the applicant’s attitudes and behaviors toward honesty and integrity. Finally, social media screening and drug testing may identify problematic behaviors that would be risky for your company to take on.
Once a person has been hired for a remote position, there are 3 significant ways to maximize their chances of success at your company.
Conduct consistent, high-value meetings. Remote employees should feel like they’re part of the team, even if they aren’t sitting in the office down the hall. Managers need to conduct consistent team meetings where each person discusses their ongoing projects, schedules, and problems. Other team members can give feedback and input, which builds team morale and strengthens relationships. Video conferencing is a powerful way to connect during these meetings.
Speaking of video…
Employ universal tools. Embracing technology is one of the best ways to make remote teams successful and keep them in sync. Implement an instant messaging platform where everyone can share ideas and keep each other updated. Add a video conference system where they can actually see each other every day, instead of just emailing or talking on the phone. Managers should encourage interaction between all team members as frequently as possible.
Log some face time. As advanced as today’s workplace is, nothing replaces good ole face-to-face interaction completely. That’s why organizations need to leave room in the budget to bring remote teams together at least once a quarter. These meetings are great times to review successes, pick apart failures, and set plans in place to ramp up progress and efficiency. It’s also a prime time to bond over common goals. Add in some down time for team building and growing rapport with each other. These in-person meetings will carry remote employees into the next few months feeling connected and more fully embedded into the company culture.
Even if some employees are across the state, country, or ocean from you, there are still ways for them to contribute to the company’s culture. The first step is choosing the right people for remote work. Then, by taking the time to create high-value video and periodic face-to-face meetings, encouraging communication, and building rapport, your remote team can function as a single, cohesive unit that is just as, or more, successful as in-office teams.