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Attracting & Retaining Talent in Today’s Remote Work Environment

Chip Royce, Flywheel Advisors – November 30, 2022

The rapid adoption of technologies like Zoom and MS Teams that made work-from-home possible has led to significant hiring challenges.

Employers now demand that workers report to an office, but those who do find they cannot attract the best and brightest candidates.

According to XpertHR’s Survey of HR Challenges for 2021, recruiting and hiring topped the chart, with 66% of those surveyed saying it was “very challenging.” Certainly, COVID and the rapid move to work-from-home have had a profound impact. A study by Global Workplace Analytics showed that employees working from home were already increasing pre-pandemic. The number of remote workers increased by 3.9 million from 2015 to 4.7 million in 2019. Fast forward to the height of the pandemic, where 58.6% of Americans were working remotely.

AI Generated Remote Worker

AI-Generated Picture, “highly detailed picture, employee working from home office at desk by Greg Tocchini, Cliff Chiang, 4k resolution, ((final fantasy)) inspired, vibrant red,brown, white and black color scheme with graffiti pencil sketch”

While technology has helped make work-from-home more prevalent, companies will still need talent to succeed. As XpertHR warns, “Unless employers can find ways to tap into hidden talent pools or change their recruiting practices, they may not be able to keep up with market demands.

The trend of people preferring to work remotely is here to stay.

Companies that embrace the remote trend will be winners. Here are four reasons why:

  1. More Flexibility: Many find that working from home provides more flexibility than working in an office. Benefits include working when it’s convenient for you, having fewer distractions, and possibly even getting some work done in bed!
  2. Fewer Distractions/More Productivity: It can be hard to concentrate when there are people around you who are trying to chat or take phone calls
  3. Financial & Environmental Savings: Along with time saved by eliminating a commute, some remote workers value the reduced cost of travel and the environmental impact of no longer traveling for work.

Cost Savings of Remote Work

A study by the Global Workplace Research Institute found that companies could save up to $11,000 a year per part-time worker who works remotely. The study cites increased productivity, reduced real estate costs, and reduced absenteeism and turnover. Companies in high-cost labor markets are now hiring new team members from less expensive markets, and employees who live in high-cost-of-living cities are opting to move to more affordable locales.

Technology has changed the way we work, and that’s led to a new way of recruiting. With so many companies embracing technology, the competition for top talent has never been stronger. To stand out and succeed in this market, you need an efficient recruitment process that uses the latest technology tools and a great culture that will attract talented employees.

Technology Helps Source Talent

ATS can help you drive efficiencies in the recruiting process, especially when teams and candidates are physically distant. But, like any computer system, it’s only as good as its inputs. Strong job descriptions and a user-friendly way for candidates to apply are critical to getting the most out of these platforms. Companies that let candidates fall into black holes with no communication will likely lose out on competitive candidates.

An ATS is just a platform for managing the process. Hiring teams must commit to excellence in interviewing, following up with, communicating with, and making offers on candidates’ timelines. The most significant cause of clients missing out on their top candidates is their failure to move quickly.

In this market, the candidate you’re interviewing is likely also talking with several other companies and is likely further along in the interview process. One of our clients recently missed out on their top candidate by 24 hours after adding an unexpected additional interview to what had already been a thorough process. It’s also important to be respectful of the candidate’s time. They may work from home but still have a day job and responsibilities.

Technology has changed recruiting forever. With more companies embracing the idea of hiring remotely, the face of recruitment has changed significantly. The talent competition has never been stronger. Companies need to leverage technology, have an efficient recruiting process, and stand out as a great workplace to win the talent war.

ATS can help you drive efficiencies in the recruiting process, especially when teams and candidates are physically distant. But, like any computer system, it’s only as good as its inputs. Strong job descriptions and a user-friendly way for candidates to apply are critical to getting the most out of these platforms. Companies that let candidates fall into black holes with no communication will likely lose out on competitive candidates.

Hiring for Cultural Fit

When hiring teams, remember that it is not just a platform – they must make an effort to be excellent in interviewing and following up on candidates’ timelines. Sue Keith, the Managing Partner of Ceres Talent, says that the most significant cause of clients missing out on their top candidates is their failure to move quickly.

“In this market, it’s guaranteed that the candidate you’re interviewing is also talking with several other companies and is likely further along in the interview process…One of our clients recently missed out on their top candidate by 24 hours after adding an unexpected additional interview to what had already been a thorough process.”

Moving quickly is essential to ensure that your client doesn’t miss out on their best opportunity – let them know how important it is for hiring teams to move swiftly and decisively.

It is essential to find individuals who are culturally fit for your company. Understanding the type(s) of personalities that succeed in your company and incorporating questions into the interview guide help determine whether the person is a fit.

Interviewers must also know the latest trends and technologies to make effective hiring decisions. Andy Nussbaum, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of AAJ Interactive Technologies, a firm that places hundreds of in-demand technical resources each year, says, “There’s nothing wrong with falling in love with the first candidate and being done. It saves you a ton of time and money. Interview until you find someone great. Don’t interview for the sake of interviewing. In this market, you will eventually find someone who is a good fit.”

Culture is just as influential as validating technical and other skills in the hiring process. Knowing the personality types that succeed in your company is essential to finding a good fit. Not everyone will be a good fit, and that’s okay. It’s better to determine upfront whether or not the person would be a good fit for your company. Glassdoor is an invaluable resource for locating reviews from current and former employees, as well as technology analyst firms like G2 and Capterra. Monitoring reviews and reputation is critical for any company competing for in-demand talent. Additionally, adding employee testimonials to your website and social media sites can boost your image before hiring someone. And make sure all interview questions are relevant to whether or not the candidate would be a good fit for your company culture.

Value of Passive Candidates

Passive candidates remain a hidden force in today’s job market. However, you can help get and stay on their radar by taking some simple steps. Start with your current team members. Offer an employee referral bonus program that encourages employees to refer their friends and colleagues for potential positions. You can identify future team members by actively engaging with online communities and reaching out to your competitors’ employees. Additionally, encourage your hiring managers to participate in these groups and seek to connect with qualified individuals. Finally, add qualified candidates to company newsletters and social media followings to increase the chances of being considered for future openings.

Keeping Top Talent

To keep top talent in today’s competitive environment, hiring teams need to understand and accept the changes in candidate requirements. They must also have a professional, efficient process for recruiting, communicate frequently, and be prepared to make firm offers quickly. Here are a few tips to help you stay ahead of the curve:

1. Use technology to your advantage. Remember that technology can help you connect with candidates more efficiently and assess their suitability for the job.

2. Devise a passive candidate strategy. Only bombard candidates with a few offers at a time; wait until you have a better understanding of their skills and interests.

3. Recognize flexibility as an essential component of the modern job market. Recognize that many workers would rather have more flexibility in their work schedule than some traditional benefits employers offer (such as health insurance).

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