We all learned a lot during the pandemic. From the convenience of grocery delivery to a renewed appreciation for the work of teachers, last year’s stay-at-home orders forced us all to evaluate and adjust many aspects of our lives. Perhaps one of the biggest shifts, and one with the long-lasting impact, is the rise of remote work. Born out of necessity, the shift to remote work swept across industries as businesses pivoted to work-from-home models so people could continue working without the risks of coming into the office.
At the height of the pandemic, nearly twice as many people were working from home in the U.S. as onsite. Now, with 45% of the American public fully vaccinated, many employers expect workers to return to the office. The trouble is, many employees don’t want to, for myriad reasons. For many, the benefits of remote work far outweigh the familiar patterns of working onsite, from work/life balance to childcare concerns to relief from an arduous commute.
The pandemic introduced many people to remote work for the first time and, as we navigate the transition period out of the danger zone, one thing has become clear. Work location has become more important than ever for candidates when considering a new position. They want to know up front whether they’re looking at a remote position, 100% onsite, or a hybrid schedule, and they will make swift decisions about which potential employers to pursue based on what they learn. Many workers are quitting their jobs rather than give up their remote work arrangements, signaling that there is a growing market of fully remote talent who will not settle for less.
The first takeaway for recruiters is simple. Employers need to be transparent and proactive about hybrid work arrangements, starting early in the recruiting process with job descriptions and job postings.
Every employer needs a hybrid work policy
Your hybrid work policy (and real world practices) must remain flexible and your leadership must be willing to evolve as attitudes, concerns, and demands of talent change over time. But you still need to have a well-documented plan. If you don’t already have a formal plan in place, now is the time to make one and document it internally. Educate hiring managers and recruiters on hybrid work plans and how to talk with candidates about hybrid work and how your plan came into being.
Candidates expect employers to be forthcoming about their plans, how they were created, and how they will be implemented. Those who have a strong preference or a requirement for remote work will likely have even more questions about how managers will ensure that they are just as much a part of the team as in-office employees and how you will keep the playing field level when it comes to leadership and career advancement opportunities. Partner with your organization’s executive leaders to make sure there are clear expectations for managers and supervisors, and provide training where necessary to support fairness and collaboration throughout your workforce.
“Local” employers will face greater competition for talent
Just as remote workers will now look at potential employers outside their local area, other organizations hiring for remote work are already recruiting in your zip code. This means many recruiters will face even tougher competition for top talent. Whether you’re hiring for remote or onsite positions, you may have to do more to stand out and attract talent because what you think of as your local talent pool no longer just belongs to local competition.
If you’re hiring mostly for onsite positions, it’s time to create or update candidate personas for people who prefer to work onsite all or most of the time, and create recruitment strategies to target those candidates. By diving deeper into their preferences, needs, and opinions, you can improve your chances of attracting those types of candidates, and reduce the time you might waste on people who will not consider working onsite.
Employee experience stories will become even more important in recruiting
Job seekers love to know what it’s really like to work for your organization, and they may trust current employees more than recruiters or hiring managers. That’s why it’s important to put employee experience stories in the spotlight. Center employee stories from remote and onsite employees about collaboration, organizational culture, career advancement, and other topics that are important to your ideal candidates.
Virtual recruiting helps you attract people in a remote/hybrid work world
Whether you’re hiring for remote positions, onsite, or a mix, virtual recruiting can help you attract the right candidates. Model a remote and hybrid-friendly approach in how you interact with candidates, from virtual career fair events to one-on-one video chats with recruiters or hiring managers. Use virtual hiring events and virtual interviews to show, not just tell, how your organization is adapting (permanently) to the rising need to be a flexible, accommodating, and available workplace for candidates in a way that works best for them. This strategy isn’t solely about filling your onsite positions. These tactics help you create a better candidate experience overall, thus strengthening your employer brand.
Remote work is here to stay
As more workers demand remote work and employers learn to adapt in response, we know that this isn’t a passing trend. Similarly, many people are eager to return to work alongside their coworkers on a full- or part-time basis, and this dichotomy is shaping the future of work. The hybrid workforce is part of our next normal, and employers that do not accept this reality will struggle to fill positions and retain employees, especially as more organizations adopt virtual recruiting and can more easily cast a wide net for candidates across the country. Protect your organization’s investment in your workforce by embracing the next evolution of work, and implementing strategies that make it easier to match the right candidates with your job openings.
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- The Hybrid Workplace & The Pandemic: Answering Candidate Questions