by Owen Jones, Senior Content Marketer at ZoomShift

Remote work is on the rise. Human resource departments have had to make the transition quickly amid COVID-19. So, if remote work was typically offered as a perk before COVID-19. After COVID-19, it has become the norm.

This setup isn’t likely to change any time soon. According to a survey from Enterprise Technology Research, the percentage of workers who will be working from home on a permanent basis is expected to even double. By 2025, the estimate is that 70% of the workforce will do remote work at least for five days in a single month.

In other words, if you haven’t started making that transition, you might be left out. Implementing a remote work policy for existing employees and hiring remote employees should be part of your human resource strategy. In this article, we’ll discuss that second part. How should human resource departments go about hiring remote employees for their existing workforce?

1. Determine your needs.

One of the biggest challenges you’ll face as the human resource department is deciding what support you need.

So, before you start hiring people for remote work, spend a second to consider your company goals and the skills that are lacking in your existing workforce.

That means you’d need to look at your existing workforce and their job descriptions first. It helps to ask managers whether there’s a shortage of manpower in their departments. If there is, ask them if anyone from the existing employees could be trained or promoted for the job. 

If there are people who can take on the responsibility, great! All you have to do is list down the vacancies that are left and their specific requirements. 

So, if one writer can be promoted as an editor, then you’d have to look for a writer. List down what specific skills you’re looking for in a writer that would make them a great fit for your company. Don’t just say they need to write well. Determine what exactly it is they need to be an expert in, and the type of experience they should have had for them to be considered. You can also specify the type of equipment they should have for the remote work: 

Here are sample requirements:

  • Should be able to write 1000-word blog posts on email marketing, pay-per-click advertising, and SEO.
  • Should have had at least four years of writing experience.
  • Should have a laptop or computer and a stable Internet connection
  • Should have had experience in remote work for at least two years

The more requirements you add, the better you can screen applicants. The higher the chances the remaining pool of candidates for remote work will be a good fit for your company.

2. Start searching then pick the best candidate.

If you’re hiring a remote employee for the first time, creating a job description and defining the ideal candidate can be a challenge. 

The key, however, is just to go back to the requirements you specified in the first part of the recruitment process. You’ll want to save that as a template for when you hire other remote employees for the same post in the future. You can even create a writing style guide that includes the format and sections to include for future job posts for remote employees if you have the time. 

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Once you’ve gone past that initial hurdle, though, it will be easy to pinpoint candidates who might be a good fit. 

To come up with a shortlist of candidates, you can scour online CVs on job boards for the skills and experience you require, and then contact them yourself and urge them to apply. That can be time-consuming, but at least you can already screen for yourself at that stage who may be a good fit and who may not be one. Remember that you should also screen your candidates according to whether or not they had experience in remote work. 

It’s easier to onboard a person who’s had experience in working online.

Once you have your applicants’ resumes, you can use applicant tracking systems to screen all the resumes according to your set criteria. 

You can start contacting the candidates who pass your initial criteria via email or even over the phone. You’ll want to give candidates a set of tests to determine their skill level before picking the person to hire. 

3. Onboard your new team member.

Once you’ve selected a candidate to join your company, you’ll need to implement a virtual onboarding process. Set aside a couple of days in your itinerary to spend time with your new employee and answer any questions they might have.

On the employee’s first day, you may go over your team’s standard operating procedures, policies, HR/admin tools, and expectations via video conferencing. It’s important to go through the admin stuff right away so your new hires won’t have too many questions as you go along.

On the second and succeeding days, you can turn over the client to the manager of the department where they will start working. The manager should also brief the new hire about processes and policies. The social media manager, for example, should go through the content calendar with the new hire. 

While it’s tempting to just let new hires fend for themselves after their first day on the job, orienting them thoroughly on the tasks that you’ll transition will help reduce work-related errors and ensure that they form good working relationships. 

The more time you spend on new hire onboarding, the more effective your new hire will be when working remotely. For remote teams, this goes beyond just orienting them with the tasks. Tell them how they can communicate with the team, familiarize them with any employee scheduling tools, and help with any technical issues. 

4. Review Your Results

A couple of weeks after hiring your recruit, you should do a review. The purpose of the review is to discover how the new hires are getting on with their new role, how your teammates are getting on with them, and to gain insights into what you could do better the next time you pick up a new hire for remote teams.

To conduct the review, you may consider what you’ve written in the job description and see whether the new hire’s scope has changed at all. Job scopes change for a variety of reasons, including demand from new clients or unexpected changes in current clients’ needs. If the scope has changed, you need to assess whether the new hire can accommodate further training. Otherwise, you might need to hire another person specifically for the new scope. 

You may also use the initial expectations you discussed with the employee on their first day as a baseline. For instance, you can look at the project timeline and see if the new hire has successfully completed any of the tasks assigned to them. You may also want to create a set of KPIs and measure employee performance against them. For example, you can measure a new project manager’s performance in terms of timeliness and quality using SMART goals.

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Aside from performance, you will also need to monitor their intangibles. If your business already has a set of corporate values, you can ask yourself and your stakeholders if the new remote employee is living up to those values. I usually rate employees on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 stands for “never” and 5 stands for “always”. For example, a remote employee who seldom communicates with clients, stakeholders, and leadership will get a mark of “2” for communication.

If you feel that the remote employee is performing as expected, you may keep monitoring their progress for the next few months. Otherwise, you may either let the employee go or draw up a performance improvement plan. While it’s cheaper to retain an employee than to hire one, you also have to consider the cost of rework caused by an employee who’s not performing up to par.

Wrapping Up.

Hiring remote workers is both challenging and fulfilling. It is difficult to create a job description, find and onboard the ideal candidate, and review their performance. Remote hiring, after all, is, in a way, a fairly new concept. 

You learned some tips to follow from this article. Follow those tips to ensure you get the best remote employee as you transition into remote work. The good news is that you’ll only get better with building your team as you keep fine-tuning your approach and hiring new employees who will work remotely.

 

Owen Jones is the Senior Content Marketer at ZoomShift, an online schedule maker app. He is an experienced SaaS marketer, specializing in content marketing, CRO, and FB advertising. He likes to share his knowledge with others to help them increase results.

 

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