The Challenges Posed by Remote Hiring, Onboarding and Working

The rise of the COVID-19 pandemic brought on a host of unprecedented challenges and changes to the world as we knew it, including the world of recruitment. Companies had to adapt almost overnight to meet the new needs of talent acquisition: remote hiring and onboarding. As we see the beginning of the end of the pandemic, it is evident that some changes are here to stay, including navigating recruitment remotely. This raises questions on how to combat the challenges that remote recruitment brings, in order for companies to remain competitive in these changing times. 
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    The Rise of Remote Hiring 

    Remote hiring – and onboarding – have the same goals as their in-person, traditional counterparts, with just one main difference: it is all done virtually. Prior to COVID-19 disrupting the world as we knew it, remote hiring was almost unheard of. 

    The introduction of the pandemic and its peak gave most companies no choice but to facilitate remote work. However, as we come out the other side, and with over 60% of executives stating that they are “now more likely to leverage remote working arrangements” post-pandemic to build on their talent pool,  it is clear that the virtual workplace is here to stay. 

    Remote Hiring in Action 

    Hiring, onboarding and working remotely have many fundamental differences from the traditional recruitment and employment process. Face-to-face meetings, handshakes and a dedicated computer desk setup on that first day at work are replaced with an IT package arriving at your door and back-to-back zoom meetings. It’s undeniable that face-to-face interactions have something about them that the virtual world can’t quite compete with; and with “hello” coming secondary to “can you hear me?”, can companies adapt to maintain competitiveness amongst prospective talent?

    Remote Work Is Cost Effective

    The remote process brings along several clear perks, which include a cut down on costs. For example, when the need for the dedicated commute, work-specific attire and those coffee and lunch buys are out of the picture, up to $12,000 can be saved by the average employee in a full-time remote position. This also goes hand in hand with saving time, as time spent travelling to and from work is minimised to just a few steps within your own home. Employees are also at liberty to choose whether they want to actually work from home or anywhere else in the world – with Bali’s latest digital nomad visa announcement, this will only become more of a norm in the near future. 

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    …But Is the Price Paid in Other Ways?

    Despite its benefits, navigating a job remotely has its downsides. For one, it omits the in-person interactions at the office of quick chats over coffee breaks and being able to simply pop into one another’s desks to ask a question. The absence of these minor yet invaluable interactions can leave new employees feeling a sense of disconnect, with the only tie they have to their employer being the screen blankly staring back at them. 

    The ability to build a solid connection with the company and its culture is crucial for creating a sense of belonging, the importance of which is not to be underestimated. Employees that exhibit belonging in the workplace expressed a 167% increase in their employer promoter score alongside an increase in performance, combined with a reduction in turnover risk and sick days. So what happens when the only connection an employee has to their company is reliant on an internet connection?

    Overcoming the Distance 

    Bonding with colleagues when your home and office are one is no mean feat, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. Connections can be fostered through simple initiatives such as doing a quick team check-in, asking about each other’s weekends on Monday mornings. The Donut integration can also be a solution to promote social interaction and banish isolation in a remote setting. This is even more beneficial when engaging new hires in the company. 

    Holding team events where and when possible can go a long way in bridging the distance of remote hiring and working. For new remote hires, this is a chance to finally meet the team in-person, strengthening the bond between colleagues and therefore improving the work dynamic. This could be done on a quarterly basis, encouraging employees to get together to celebrate the accomplishments of the respective quarter. By having the chance to meet face-to-face, teams can benefit from an increase in creativity, which propel the initiative planning for the following quarter, for example. 

    Remote Hiring for Diversity 

    It’s become a well-known fact that diversity is crucial when it comes to attaining a strong workforce. Our article on The Impact of a Diverse Workforce on Business Performance highlights the plethora of benefits that a diverse team brings with it. But how can remote hiring play a role here?

    It’s been found that in the U.S., remote jobs were more likely to be filled by underrepresented groups. Although the reasoning behind this is not yet fully understood, it can be argued that it is owing to the desire of employees to be located where they feel at home. This iterates that the freedom for employees to work wherever they feel comfortable is a lucrative feature for companies to offer. 

    When location is no longer a determining factor, location bias can be removed from the equation. It’s been found that for some jobs, applicants that live even 5–6 miles away receive one-third fewer callbacks than those who live closer to the office. This can be attributed to the association of longer commute times with a higher turnover rate. By omitting the need for a commute, employers no longer have to consider the risk of it being a reason behind employee turnover and can therefore give applicants an equal chance regardless of where they reside. 

    By removing limitations posed by not offering remote working options, companies can benefit from opening their doors to an endless pool of talent. A-players know their worth, and coveted candidates are attracted to the most progressive companies—which, in these times, are those that offer remote and hybrid work opportunities. By broadening the search and giving applicants far and wide the opportunity to join your team, companies can tap into a goldmine of talent that would not otherwise be available. 

    Conclusion

    Remote hiring, onboarding and working has transformed from being a frowned upon concept to the new norm. Companies must understand the inner workings of hiring remotely to remain competitive in the challenge of attracting and retaining top talent. While it is without its challenges, remote hiring is only becoming more common, and if they don’t adapt accordingly, companies run the risk of missing out on high quality candidates. With the right approach, talent acquisition specialists can strategically leverage this new precedent to advantage their company and strengthen its workforce.

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