I am always baffled at how Cloud solutions have evolved and taken over the digital world. Being able to “tap in” wherever you are really has changed the way people do business and connect socially. Covid forced us to do this with our workforce during lockdown and for many, this way of working continues whilst Covid is still so rife. Surely then, it begs the question, can we permanently adapt to a virtual recruitment process that still adequately reflects an organisations core values and culture but reduces time, money, and supports the ‘work life balance’ that everyone is looking for?
Whilst many have dabbled with video interviewing in the past, COVID-19 required most having to rapidly adapt to an end-to-end virtual recruitment process for the first time. I have always been an advocate for face-to-face interaction and put my success as a recruiter down to the fact that my service is underpinned by the relationships I build with my Clients and Candidates. That said, I have seen the benefits of virtual recruitment and will certainly encourage a hybrid version, thereof.
It is very clear that remote working is tantalising, with its promises of diverse talent pools, increased productivity and retention, savings on facilities, and not to mention a smaller carbon footprint. But it can also complicate workforce planning with difficult considerations around compensation, capacity planning, technology, and employee visibility.
I asked a Client of mine, for their feedback around the experience, having recently recruited a few new starters and being faced with the challenges above. They adapted their hiring process when they had to close their offices, and become a virtual working environment, for the first time.
Technology and systems training – consider what is required to fulfil the role effectively – not only does this mean providing the technology to do the job (laptop, mobile phone, internet access etc) but overcoming issues that may arise - internet / telephone signal, online security, installation of programmes / systems. Ensuring that new starters also have access to adequate systems training, shared screens and ongoing support, as required.
Business Communication platforms - Microsoft Teams or Zoom are popular among many - assigning each department with their own area online where they can chat or collaborate on work projects, is important. Scheduling regular video meetings is not only an effective way to help include new starters, but also encourages teamwork and makes people accountable for their own workloads.
Inclusion –There will always be a crossover with other departments and people in the wider organisation so appreciating how the “puzzle fits together”, is essential to help new starters to settle in. A dedicated mentor is a great way to enable the sense of inclusion.
Clear objectives – set clear expectations and objectives, not only for new starters, but for everyone else too. Having a good plan in place on how to achieve these objectives will ultimately encourage people to work well together and give people the work life balance that comes with a combination of home / in office work.
Keeping it real – Remember that when we are at work, there is always an element of ‘work and play’ and this can be mirrored virtually too. Feeling and experiencing a real and positive connection between teams will help new starters feel comfortable enough to join in….who knows, before long they too may share photos of their dog / cat sharing their home work space!
If Covid-19 has taught us only two positive lessons, they should be that we are more resilient than we think, and that organisations can enable people to have a better ‘work life balance’ by offering them the right technology and support to work both virtually and in a traditional office setting.