Act on Coronavirus: Processes and Pointers For Hiring Remote Workers

Posted by Carbonado on Mar 17, 2020 5:13:27 PM

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The challenges of COVID-19 are many for public health, but also for companies looking to continue doing business in the coming weeks of social distancing. Our economy must now adapt, at least in the short term, and it can. Out of an abundance of caution, many industries are allowing employees to telecommute from their homes or otherwise work remotely.

Some businesses are already familiar with hiring remote workers and managing a remote workforce.  For others, this will be new ground to tread, with many questions. Carbonado would like to offer the following advice and encouragement to help these businesses navigate the waters of remote talent acquisition.

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Benefits to Remote Employees in Your Workforce

Transitioning to a remote workforce will require some changes, but hiring remote workers also has a few significant benefits—which you can continue to leverage even amidst and after the uncertainties of COVID-19.

  • You’ll have access to a broader talent pool: These days, many top talent options prefer to telework exclusively, and you’ll also gain access to talent around the globe.
  • There are fewer costs to your business: Companies with remote workers experience 25% less turnover, need less physical space (which reduces overhead), and experience less sick absenteeism.
  • Employees are happier and more productive: Global Workplace Analytics found that hiring remote workers led to a 20-25% increase in productivity.  A remote workforce faces fewer distractions and interruptions, no frustrations from long commutes, and feels more valued and in control.

The most significant benefit to remote employees may be improved retention.  It’s estimated that the time and effort it takes to replace and retrain an employee salaried at $50,000 could cost a business $10,000, or 20% of their annual salary.  For employees in high-income, intensely specialized, hard-to-fill roles, the costs could be even more.  Fortunately, 95% of employers say that hiring remote workers has a positive impact on talent retention.

How to Hire Remote Employees for Previously On-Site Roles

Some roles will move to a remote workforce more easily than others.  The more virtual, technical, and individual the tasks, the easier it is to transition into a remote role. Writers, researchers, data-focused roles, software developers, DevOps specialists, graphic designers, phone-based sales, and financial positions are all naturally suited to telecommuting. 

Here are a few considerations for transitioning the role and sourcing the right remote talent for an open position.

  • Communication: Commit to the platform(s) you’ll use to communicate with remote employees—the fewer, the better.  For example, Slack (for group/individual messaging), Zoom (for video meetings), and a project management tool with an internal messaging system (for task-related notes) may cover your needs.
  • Scheduling: Be transparent.  Will scheduling be flexible for the needs of each employee, or do you have expectations that remote workers will align with typical on-site work? Will progress be tracked by deadlines, billable hours, quotas, or another system? Draft a plan for meeting cadences, project check-ins, and an early daily huddle of key contributors to set immediate priorities.
  • Sourcing: Be abundantly clear in job listings on Indeed, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Stack Overflow, or other directories—first, that the position will be remote, and also what that entails.  You’ll want to draw talent that is searching specifically for remote opportunities. Partnering with a sourcing specialist, such as Carbonado, may make sense if you are hiring virtual employees for unusually technical or hard-to-fill positions. Some services will also be better-outfitted to accommodate remote talent acquisition than others.  Ask your partner how they can help.
  • Hiring: Interviews during social distancing or shelter-in-place due to COVID-19 may be better suited to phone or video.  This is also typical when hiring remote workers who don’t live locally. Not much else needs change compared to an in-person meeting, but do make clear in the listing which technologies or platforms you’ll require for interviews.

The best talent is absolutely within reach, even when hiring remote workers to fill previously on-site openings.  Lastly, be positive. A confidant and optimistic attitude toward a remote workforce is key to making any arrangements both productive and successful.

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Topics: remote work, COVID-19