The New Normal: Remote Employee Hiring & Management Resources in a Post-COVID Landscape

The New Normal: Remote Employee Hiring & Management Resources in a Post-COVID Landscape

woman hiring remotely on laptop

The coronavirus pandemic has completely transformed our business and work scenario. This uncertainty has forced the economy to undergo massive change and has brought on what we deem the "new normal." There has been a rapid shift from the traditional office culture to working at home and managing remote employees.

According to a survey by Seyfarth, approximately 67 percent of the employers surveyed asked their onsite workers to work remotely due to the coronavirus crisis. As companies continue to bring on new talent and manage their current workforce from afar, it's vital to use the right resources and tips to hire and manage effectively.

How Has COVID-19 Changed Hiring and Management?

This pandemic and new normal is causing many businesses to pivot and shift in a new direction. The good news is that around 56 percent of surveyed hiring managers feel that the shift to managing remote employees has better than expected, and 61.9 percent say that their workforce will be remote in the future.

The expected growth for full-time remote working over the next five years has doubled from 30 percent to 65 percent. In another survey, 72 percent of employee respondents want to continue working remotely at least two days a week, while 32 percent said they'd prefer never to go to the office. Whether you want remote workers or not, employees are looking for and expecting remote work options to keep them safe during this time.

When it comes to hiring, gone are in-person interviews and instead video calls have taken their place. Employees have had to adapt to online messaging software, video meetings and managing their time effectively without their boss in the same building.

In short, recruitment and management is digitized, and companies are now relying on the skills of autonomy, independence and self-motivation to work well from home. If you're new to the remote working world, how can you find top remote employees and also manage them well while working from home?

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Resources for Recruiting, Interviewing, Hiring and Onboarding Remotely

Ultimately, you want the best person in the job and you want your employees to thrive while on the job. Using the right tools and best practices to hire and manage can make the difference between success and struggle for your business.

Recruiting and Interviewing Candidates

Now that you're hiring remotely, there's a broader pool of candidates around the world. It can become quite difficult to choose the best person. And with no in-person interaction, it can take more time and effort to weed out the bad candidates and select the right person for the job. Here are a few best practices and resources for recruiting and interviewing.

Get Your Job Descriptions in Order: Be clear about the core competencies, tasks and skills required for a particular job role. Clearly indicate that your role is remote and any requirements around it — does the candidate need to live in a specific city, state or country? Are there normal working hours, or is it flexible? State what skills the candidate needs to successfully work remotely. We Work Remotely, a remote job board, offers a remote job posting template to help you craft an ideal listing.

Post the Requirement on Job Portals: Once you know what that particular role demands, be transparent and adequately convey the nature of the job to the candidates. Focus on job boards that are geared specifically towards people seeking a remote job, such as FlexJobs, WeWorkRemotely and Remote OK.

Screen and Shortlist Canidates: By setting a benchmark and using the right technology, screen and shortlist candidates from the pool of applications received. You can use a recruitment CRM like TalentLyft and Beamery to simplify the process and speed up the screening process when hiring remote employees. The best remote employees are self-disciplined, can work well with others and can communicate well.

Conduct Video Interviews: Candidates who clear the screening test can be called for a video interview. It helps to understand the candidate and assess in real time. A video call can give you a better idea of who the candidate is and their cultural fit for your team as well. Ensure that you have a good internet connection and no other interruptions that could be detrimental to your attention and connection during the video interview. Two popular platforms to consider using are Skype and Zoom.

Communicate Properly: Communicating with your potential candidates is still as important in the new normal as it was before the pandemic. Have a proper communication channel (email, phone call, etc.) and keep things transparent in the hiring process. Make it your goal to eliminate any kind of confusion that may arise with time zones, hiring dates, job expectations and more.

Onboarding a New Employee

Onboarding is an integral part of the hiring process where orientation and training take place. When managing remote employees, they need to be introduced and trained virtually. Here's what you can do to simplify the process during this new normal.

Have a Virtual Introduction: Organize a video call and introduce the employee to the team and company as it will help make them feel more comfortable. Apart from that, you can also send a warm welcome or new hire email to everyone in your company. Include a photo and bio since your teammates won't be meeting in person.

Establish Communication Channels: Explain any communication tools used and be upfront regarding the expectations, as it will help the employee work more effectively and efficiently. When working from home, a new hire will need to know who to contact and how for any questions that arise. Slack, Google Chat, Zoom and GoToMeeting are a few commonly used tools in the remote workspace.

Use Trusted Electronic Signing Services: Onboarding a new employee typically involves a lot of paperwork. Without the ability to directly hand documents to the HR team, you'll need a trusted online tool to request any signatures. Tools like DocuSign and HelloSign can streamline the process and are very quick and easy to use.

man working remotely from home desk

Managing Remote Employees

Without having employees in a physical office with you, it can be easy to lose track of who is working on what and if they are meeting their deadlines. It can also be easy to forgo maintaining interpersonal relationships. Managing your remote employees well leads to happy and productive workers. Here are some resources and tips to move your managing tasks remote.

Use Time Tracking Software: Without a time clock, it can be difficult to understand how much remote employees are working. While you want to trust that remote employees are putting in minimal hours dedicated to their work, it would be wise to set up a means of tracking the hours employees are working. To streamline the process and keep everyone accountable, you can use tools like TimeCamp and MyHours, which are two great resources to show how much time is dedicated to projects and tasks.

Use Project Management Tools: More than likely, your team is working on multiple projects at once. And with everyone working at home, you need to keep track of where each project is at and who is working on what. Task management software like Trello and Basecamp will give a clear visual on how smoothly projects are progressing and keep people on deadline.

Consider File Sharing Options: Big projects mean big files. Unfortunately, many email servers will not allow you the ability to send files that are over a certain size. To help move important files among teammates and remote employees, you're going to need reliable file sharing software. The two main file sharing tools being used by many companies are Google Drive and Dropbox. Through these tools, you can easily and securely send files to your entire team.

Communicate Regularly: When managing remote employees, you will want to communicate regularly via phone calls or video calls to make them feel valued and not forgotten about. It's easy to lose touch with employees when you're not in an office setting. Check in regardless of whether everything is fine or they are facing any sort of issues. Show them that their opinion and their position matters. It will keep them motivated and boost their productivity. As mentioned earlier, some great tools to use are Slack, Zoom and even Trello.

Set Expectations: Make sure that you let workers know what is expected of them. It will give them clarity regarding what they need to do and eliminate various challenges. Also, having clarity will help in achieving goals faster.

Be Flexible: Unless deadlines are not met and productivity is low, you can be flexible regarding working hours. Let employees identify when they are most productive and work accordingly. This will help in building trust and creating a good work culture.

Use Technology to Strengthen the Relationship: Treat your employees like family and show empathy. By taking advantage of technology in the new normal, you can strengthen the relationship with your employees. For example, send e-cards on holidays, birthdays and other important events. You can even give a special shout out on social media platforms when someone achieves a milestone, etc.

The "New Normal" Future of Hiring

Although remote working comes with various challenges, it has bright spots too. For companies, it has opened the doors to hire talent across the globe, and for individuals, it has opened opportunities to work with companies around the world and get closer to work/life balance.

Remote working is here to stay, and this trend is set to accelerate in the near future. Embracing and accepting this way of working will be key to success for your business.

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