Companies that are looking to boost their bottom line are becoming more flexible in the way they conduct business practices. One way in which profitability is impacted in a positive way is by offering flexible work options to employees. Studies have shown time and time again how flex is viewed favorably by job candidates, and among employees it has shown to improve their productivity, loyalty to the company, and increase retention rates. Yet, many companies have a hard time recruiting remote workers for their jobs.
If your organization is considering implementing work flexibility, keep these tips in mind as you begin to recruit remote workers—and watch your company’s profitability skyrocket!
Assess your organization.
Once you’ve decided to adopt flexible policies as part of your company’s practice, you’ll need to go through each and every job to determine which ones can—and can’t—be done remotely. Many positions, particularly those that involve computer and phone work, are prime candidates for remote work. But even those employees whose presence is needed in the office can still experience work flex, too, in the form of compressed workweeks (i.e. working longer hours Monday-Thursday so that they can have Friday free), or even having a flexible start to their workday. They can come in earlier or later depending on what they need, and adjust their work schedule accordingly.
Make a plan.
After you’ve determined the positions that can be done from home, you’ll need to set up policies and practices in order to ensure that having a remote staff works well. Since employees will be working virtually, it’s crucial that communication is crystal clear between employer and employee. Thing is, you need to have communication procedures already in place before hiring remote workers, not after. So equip your workers with the tools they’ll need in order to effectively communicate with not only you, but their colleagues as well. Video conferencing software, message boards, email, phone, and instant messaging are all great communication tools that your remote team can utilize.
Know how to post remote work positions.
Recruiting for an in-office employee is far different from finding a remote worker. In order to get the most qualified job candidates for work-from-home positions, you’ll need to know what they are looking for—and where to look for them. Niche job boards that emphasize flexible work options (such as FlexJobs) should be your target, as the job candidates who use these boards already value work flexibility and are looking for jobs that have it.
In your job descriptions, be sure to clearly state the job is one that can be done from home. You can use words like “work-at-home,” “remote,” “virtual,” or “flexible hours” so that people will automatically know that the job has some level of flex. In addition, you should stress the importance of soft skills that every job seeker, regardless of their industry, should possess, such as organization, independence, self-motivation, and excellent communication skills.
Test it out.
Once you’ve narrowed the candidate pool down to the top candidates, the interview process can begin. While many recruiters will simply conduct job interviews over the phone, you might want to consider doing a Skype job interview instead.
Why? For starters, it can break the virtual wall between an employer and a potential remote employee, helping you to establish a more personal connection. Also, it tests the computer savvy of your job candidate, giving you a glimpse into how they handle themselves should their office equipment not work, or to see if their Internet connection is fast enough. Remote workers should also be given a test of some sort that relates to the position they’re applying for, which can give an employer an idea of how well they would function as a telecommuting employee.
Keep it social.
One potential pitfall that employers with a remote workforce face is lack of connection once virtual workers are hired. It’s important to stay connected with your employees, on both a professional level as well as a personal level. Just as your workers would gather in the company kitchen and talk about their weekend, you need to foster those social connections between colleagues in order to keep your staff feeling connected to you—and to each other. So ask your worker about his weekend, how his kid is doing in soccer, and perform routine check-ins where your employee can talk about his job and any issues that he’s facing. These gestures can go a long way in ensuring that your employee feels heard, valued, and will in turn make him a stronger employee who is dedicated to the company.