Member Article

Hiring new talent in a digital age – why remote recruitment can work in your favour

By Annil Chandel, CEO and Co-Founder of Wurkr

Quality talent is crucial to business growth but, over the past year, recruitment has been hit by a triple challenge. Lockdowns and social distancing made in-person interaction impossible, businesses were hit by an economic downturn, plus Brexit impacted the available talent pool.

The pandemic crisis also forced businesses to embrace digitalisation for continuity and to be aligned with the new future of work. As predicted by a Gartner report, 48% of the UK workforce will be remote in 2021 and, consequently, companies have upped their investment into the technologies to facilitate this shift, with EMEA organisations set to spend 17% more on collaboration and content platforms and 4% more on Cloud conferencing and communications tech in the coming year.

The prospect of conducting normal business practices virtually – not just everyday work but also hiring and onboarding new employees effectively – can appear daunting but the work from home (or from anywhere at all) movement is here to stay. So it’s important for businesses to realise that, far from being a roadblock, embracing remote recruitment can bring multiple benefits.

The digital world is your oyster

A quarter of organisations had to make redundancies due to the pandemic and, although this makes the talent pool bigger and more diverse than ever, senior leaders still struggle with filling skills gaps and sourcing the right candidates – spending over £1 billion last year on temporary employees as a stopgap. That’s where going digital can help.

Identifying the best fit for your business and hiring remotely opens new horizons, redresses the skills shortage and prevents high staff turnover. The digital era means you gain access to huge numbers of people you would otherwise be too geographically limited to discover. You also become attractive to entire new groups, such as the younger generation of digital nomads. With physical barriers no longer an issue, the market has become much more inclusive, making it more likely that you can find the niche or regional experts you need and, vice versa, that job-seekers can find their ideal role.

Further, the ramifications of Brexit mean that remote work – and remote hiring – can go in your favour. There are new pools of skilled people, hindered by lengthy visa processes and other travel restrictions from working in the UK. Companies can navigate this challenge by employing EU citizens living abroad who would be able to work remotely from their location. Beyond Europe, the whole world is effectively open to you for the purposes of growing your team.

There are also strong advantages of a digital-first hiring strategy for smaller companies in particular, or start-ups looking to scale, who don’t have the budgets to hire extensively and can’t afford any disruption to business through making the wrong choice. Last year, 772,002 new businesses were launched in the UK and their success will play an important part in driving post-pandemic economic recovery. That’s why it’s key that they can zero in on candidates in any location and ensure that they are the right fit and will complement the business’ needs at its most critical stage of growth.

This brings us to another vital point – a forward-looking remote hiring strategy must prioritise not just attracting but keeping new hires, through making them feel fully engaged and immersed in company culture during the hiring process and beyond. As the world of work has become more digital, how can companies achieve this?

Giving new joiners a great reason to stay

To integrate employees into their new teams remotely requires visual real-time collaboration and communication. This can be achieved by using SaaS-enabled tools that are affordable and can be deployed seamlessly and quickly without the need for complicated IT overhauls.

It starts with the hiring stage, which is typically a chance to see whether candidates gel with the company culture, and of course face-to-face interaction is necessary to build rapport. However, it’s possible to bring in new employees and make them feel just as engaged through today’s fast-evolving digital and video technologies. There is much scope for companies adopting video technology, for example, to make the interviewing process even more involved and helpful. It accelerates the hiring process, allowing the candidate to meet many more potential team-members, and undergo multiple stages of interviews with distributed managers much more easily.

Upon being hired, virtual workplaces that can mirror the visibility and access to colleagues of a traditional office give new joiners the chance to get involved from day one and feel that they are adding value. They avoid isolation or dwindling motivation. Moreover, digital tools help HR to deliver regular support, feedback, training and development programmes tailored for individuals’ progress.

To attract top talent, companies must adapt to changing expectations. For instance, after a year of WFH, people are more accustomed to having greater freedom to manage their schedules while remaining as productive as before. Many would prefer to continue with remote or hybrid working into the future, and 54% of employees say that they would leave a job if there wasn’t the option to work more flexibly. Businesses that give employees such options will be the ones to keep the top talent long-term. Remote recruitment and onboarding is a natural continuation of that.

Once leaders see the pros of this approach, and that there is nothing ‘remote’ about remote hiring, a significant opportunity awaits to reach talent that was previously inaccessible and that can be transformative to business success.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Annil Chandel .

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