Recruiting New Employees In A Remote Work Environment

The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically changed the way we work. With offices closing down and employees shifting to remote work, companies had to quickly adapt their hiring and recruiting practices for a new virtual world. As a hiring manager, recruiting top talent into a remote environment takes some adjustment. However, with the right strategies, you can build an effective pipeline of engaged employees who can thrive in a distributed workplace.

Get Leadership Buy-In

Before overhauling your talent acquisition process, get buy-in from leadership. Present the benefits of remote hiring – access to a global talent pool, reduced relocation costs, and more diverse candidates. Develop clear guidelines on remote work policies and equipment budget for new hires. Leadership support is key to implementing lasting changes to support remote recruiting and onboarding.

Highlight Your Remote Culture

With in-person interactions limited, it’s important for candidates to understand your remote work culture early on. Update job posts and website pages to showcase your flexible, remote-friendly environment. Feature testimonials from current remote employees. Share photos and videos of remote meetings and virtual water cooler gatherings. Giving candidates a peek into your culture builds authenticity and gets the right people excited to apply.

Leverage Video Conferencing

Video interviewing is critical for making personal connections in a virtual hiring process. Schedule a 30-minute introductory video call with qualified applicants before a formal interview. Use this time to give a candid overview of your remote culture. Invite hiring managers and potential teammates to join final round interviews over video conference. This gives candidates a chance to ask questions and visualize collaborating with the team daily.

Send Equipment Before Day 1

Ahead of a remote employee’s start date, ship company-issued equipment like laptops, monitors, headsets, and webcams. While the logistics require more planning, sending gear early gets new hires fully equipped on day one. Include welcome swag like t-shirts, stickers, or notebooks to start things off on a fun, personal note. If possible, introduce new employees to managers and direct reports over video before the first day to make it easier to put names to faces.

Schedule Virtual Onboarding Meetings

Remote onboarding looks much different than the typical office experience. That’s why it’s important to make new employees feel welcome through organized virtual introductions. Schedule at least 30 minutes for your new hire to meet the team on a video call during the first week. Managers should also book regular 30-minute or 1-hour virtual check-ins during the first month for training and building rapport. Setting this face time upfront ensures meaningful connections are made, even from afar.

Prioritize Cultural Onboarding

While operational onboarding is key, cultural assimilation is harder to achieve virtually. Assign new hires a peer buddy to help them get up to speed on company norms and values. Host casual virtual coffee chats for new employees to meet different team members each week. Schedule small group video lunches where new hires can ask candid questions about company culture and leadership. Invest time up front to nurture engagement, belonging, and cultural fit.

Encourage Relationship Building

In a remote setting, you have to be more intentional about building connections. Make introductions through Slack or email chains and let co-workers arrange their own virtual coffee meetings. Create channels on Slack dedicated to non-work topics like pets, books, or cooking to spark organic chats. Leaderboards, peer recognition, and virtual hangouts bring some healthy competition and camaraderie as well.small gestures go a long way toward bonding teams when you can’t bump into each other in the office.

Check-In Often

Managers should over-communicate with remote workers, especially those who are new. Schedule weekly or bi-weekly video check-ins to tie goals to progress and address any roadblocks early. Take time to ask about non-work topics and reinforce cultural values in your interactions. Over-communicate opportunities to collaborate, provide feedback, access learning resources, and connect with leadership. A steady stream of communication ensures new employees feel engaged, informed, and aligned.

Measure & Improve

Solicit feedback from your new hires about their remote onboarding experience. Survey them on areas like technology access, culture assimilation, relationship building, and leadership support. Conduct peer surveys and 120 day manager surveys to surface opportunities to improve engagement amongst new staff. Use this input to tweak your programs to ensure incoming remote workers have the human connections and resources necessary to thrive.

The key to effective remote recruiting is using technology to deepen human bonds between employers, hiring managers, and candidates. By focusing on cultural integration, relationship building, and purposeful communication, you can ensure your new employees feel connected to the team and mission. Adjust traditional tactics with empathy, understanding, and creativity to build an inclusive remote environment where top talent can make an impact from anywhere.

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