Remote yet close: New rules of hiring and retaining

Technology has been an enabler at workplaces. With the advent of solutions such as the Cloud, employers are now empowered to hire and manage a workforce that is no longer confined to brick-and-mortar offices. Gone are the days when organizations had to follow an office-based work culture and suffered losses when the employees couldn’t make it to the office. Technology helps teams stay connected irrespective of their location. This has helped organizations keep their employees happy and productive and has also encouraged diverse hiring policies.

Even though the transformation has many advantages but it has also created new challenges for the leaders in Talent Acquisition and Learning & Development domain. Leaders now find it difficult to ensure training and reskilling sessions for employees working remotely. The need for remote hiring and talent management tools has increased like never before.

The “Why” of having a remote workforce

According to a recent survey by Gallup, 43% of the 15,000 employees surveyed claimed that they spent at least some time working remotely in 2016, whereas this number was just 4% in 2012. There has been a lot of debate over why we need a remote workforce despite various facts and figures being presented in favor.

Here are a few reasons why you should look forward to having a remote workforce:

  • Emergency Preparedness: Not long ago, several offices in Mumbai and Chennai, bustling Indian cities, had to be shut down because of heavy downpour. While the organizations that were open to a remote working culture gave work-from-home to their employees and helped business run, as usual, organizations without such flexibilities took a hit. Companies and clients sailed through because of the telecommuters, leaving us with an example of how important it has a remote workforce.
  • Building Independent Critical Thinking Skills: A great advantage of working out of office is the team support especially while building new ideas but the flip side is that a lot of workers get influenced and are not able to do justice to this autonomy in the longer run. It is very important for organizations to build critical-thinking capabilities in the employees. Remote working is a great option to groom employees for such skills. When employees work individually, there is a lesser probability of their becoming influenced by colleagues.
  • Building Trust: It’s very important for managers and employees to accept that their bosses can’t be everywhere, every time. It’s important that they build the trust among teams and work toward organizational goals with independent decision-making. Employees working remotely tend to be more responsible and productive.
  • Diversity and Inclusion: A lot of employees can’t take the daily commute but possess the experience and skills needed for the organization. A remote work opportunity will help them sail through. New parents or older employees who are passionate about the organizational cause should be encouraged to stay connected remotely. In return, this will help build a multi-generational workforce that will nurture the young minds better. Millennials and Generation Z will be able to benefit from the vast experience of Baby Boomers instead of forcing them into retirement.

“How” to recruit a remote workforce

Remote working, no matter how fancy it sounds, is not a cakewalk. Krisha Buehler, HR head and culture cultivator at BELAY — a fully remote firm with over 50 staff — shares great insights over remote hiring and working,

“While the thought of working remotely appeals to a lot of people, it’s not for everyone.” She adds, “A lot of people have this vision of it being amazing but if they’ve never done it before they’re not truly prepared for what it’s like — it takes a certain kind of person.”

While hiring a remote workforce, the talent leaders need to be extra conscious and responsible. It’s important to note that when you disseminate your team into a remote workforce, the relationship with your employees’ changes and you need to be extra careful. Here’s how you can build your remote team better.

  • Invest in the right technology: Finding talent while sitting in the comfort of your office seems a fancy idea but can turn costly for organizations. It’s important to invest in the right kind of hiring tools. Applications using Artificial Intelligence or data-driven insights are the ones that are highly recommended. You can look for tools such as Recruit or Zapier that deploy analytics and help you track the best applicants in the least possible turnaround time. Tools like these help you save time and also ensure a great candidate experience which is important while building a remote workforce.
  • Chalk out the right processes: It’s very important to make your candidates understand the entire recruitment process when working remotely. Since face-to-face interaction is not happening here, you need to have a clear roadmap for application tracking and recruitment to ensure clarity at both the ends. Create your brand guidelines and onboarding kits or candidate information brochures which you can share with your prospective candidates to ensure a better understanding of company culture.
  • Explain your vision well: While technology can enable your recruitment process but adding the human touch to the process is always needed. It is important to make your candidates look forward to the job they are taking up as they can’t see you every day in real time working passionately for the organizational goal. If you want a scalable product for the mid-size organizations, sell the vision by sharing what kind of impact are you planning to bring in.
  • Focus on transparency: As Krishna Buehler says, “When I am vetting and interviewing and hiring, I have to be extremely transparent about what it’s like and what expectations we have,” she further adds, “We have to be really diligent in the people we bring into the organization to make sure remote working is right for them.” It is extremely important for you to set clear expectations for the candidate as they can’t stop by your desk every now and then and ask you to clear their doubts.

How to “manage” a remote workforce

The brick and mortar office has finally turned into small scattered locations where employees collaborate virtually and bring the best skill set to table. Cloud deployment has changed how employers look at their prospective employees in terms of working hours or even location. In a recent survey by Upwork, 63% of the participating hiring managers claimed that at least one member of their team is working remotely. This speaks volumes about the need for well-defined processes to manage a remote workforce. Here are a few tips on how you can and should do that:

  • Set reasonable expectations: Be it in terms of defining working hours or assigning project deliverables, it is very important to ensure that your employees and you have the necessary clarity on their responsibilities toward their teams.
  • Ensure data security: With cyber security becoming a key concern in almost every industry, it’s important for you to ensure that employees accessing confidential business information can be trusted with it. One great way to ensure this is by deploying encrypted Wide Area Networks (WANs) or allowing employees to work from devices provided by the organization only. Secure call recording solutions are also a great way of ensuring security.
  • Deploy experts wherever needed: It’s important to take help from the experts, especially while deploying the modern technology. Look for remote talent management solutions that fit into your organizational requirements and experts who can advise you best.
  • Build a sense of community in your team: Your remote teammates can feel left out at times because of the absence of day-to-day interactions that’s usual in a traditional office setting. You will need to sometimes go an extra mile to keep their morale high. Let them voice their opinions and ensure you recognize their contributions. Appreciation goes a long way in ensuring employee loyalty particularly for people working remotely. You don’t need to even work on elaborate appreciation schemes; a simple mail with a thank you note or a small goodie can be also a booster.
  • Don’t ignore their Learning & Development: Organizations often tend to forget about the L&D of their employees working remotely. This should not be the case. Organizations can opt for e-learning tools that ensure that all the employees, irrespective of the location, have a personalized learning program. Through e-learning, organizations can ensure that every employee accesses the same kind of learning program and content. Switching to a Learning Management System (LMS) can also be a great solution for managers overseeing their team members’ L&D progress. LMS helps talent heads to track the progress of each candidate and maintain a record. At the same time, for the employees taking up courses, this will be a fairly transparent solution where they can actively see their progress in real time and improve accordingly.
  • Don’t forget the power of face-to-face interaction: Remote working is definitely the way forward but face-to-face interactions will never lose their charm. Work on your organization’s travel policies and ensure that your team is meeting each other once in a while. This helps them stay connected to the culture and enforces team spirit.

Summing up, a remote workforce is a reality; the sooner your organization adopts it, the better it will be. Accommodating such a workforce will need a reworking of employee policies, talent management technology, and a lot more. This might sound like a lot of work but will be worth it in the longer run. You’ll see.

Hire & assess your remote candidate effectively, with HackerEarth Recruit

Take A FREE trial




HackerEarth is a remote-ready platform that helps you build dream tech teams. Subscribe to The Hire Wire! —

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

How to Connect With Your Audience Using Real Words in Your Presentations



Five Ways To Get Your Community Engaged in Philanthropy

How to Blow the Sale

A cruel summer for many IBM employees and bad vibes from its new CEO

Supporting workplace diversity: Speaking from experience

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store


HackerEarth is a remote-ready platform that helps you build dream tech teams. Subscribe to The Hire Wire! —

More from Medium

Is everything I do wrong?

Smart Ways to Work Around Young Minds

‘Why fit in when you were born to set out?’ Dr.Suess

What’s wrong with perfectionism?

Burned Out? Quit Corporate Job