They say that distance makes the hearts grow fonder. While that may be debatable, there is no question that offering employees the opportunity to work remotely correlates with higher retention. A few years ago, offering remote work options was a pretty cool differentiator for employers. Today, the popularity of these programs has almost made them a prerequisite, in both startups and large companies. Accelerating this revolution across the globe, the WeWorks of the world have made flexible working easier than ever.
The benefits of allowing staff this bit of freedom are well documented: improved retention, lower infrastructure costs, and if all goes well an improved productivity. The risks are also well known: dissipation of the company culture, communication breakdown and a feeling of alienation among the remote workforce. Taking into account the pros and cons, most employers have reached the conclusion that certain types of positions and certain types of people lend themselves more effectively to remote work than others.
How about in-house recruiters? Is this position a good fit for the remote model? It can be. But to enable remote effectively, an employer would need to put a few things in place to minimize the risks of this experiment. I’ve listed 6 of those important steps below.
1. The basics: a cloud-based system and a headset
First of all, you will need your recruitment software needs to be accessible by your remote recruiters from their home computer. Email, shared folders, project management tools… Everything operates in the cloud nowadays and there is no reason for you to keep anything hosted locally. No budget for a CRM? Still using an Excel sheet to keep track of your activity? No problem: just move them to the more collaborative Google Sheet. Are you tracking your candidates’ interview sequence on a whiteboard? Time to move it to Trello or another project management tool like it. In Talkpush, you can easily assign a lead (aka a chat candidate) to a colleague to make sure the recruitment process never misses a beat.
Buying your recruiters a headset with an integrated microphone will spare them the trouble of making the trip to the IT store and will immediately improve their productivity. If possible, make it a wireless one, so your recruiter can wander freely around the house and make that cup of coffee while convincing a high potential candidate to say yes to an interview with a top client.
2. Protect candidate data
Without accusing your recruiters of being negligent or fraudulent regarding candidate data, it is your responsibility as an employer to minimize the risk of data leaks. Protecting candidates’ personal data is easier said than done, particularly if your recruiters are given access to your database from outside your office. Offering limited remote access to the overall database — for example only letting them view candidates for active positions — would be a wise precautionary step.
3. VoIP Capabilities
Whether interviewing candidates or discussing new openings with the hiring managers, recruiters need to spend a lot of time on the phone. Asking them to handle all of this calling from their personal mobile phone is not suitable. Most recruiters like to keep private and work phones separate. That way, they can switch off from work. Nobody wants candidates calling them in the middle of the night. Offering VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) capabilities can be as simple as reimbursing their personal Skype account. Even better, you can equip your recruiters with a CRM with a built-in dialler, allowing them to make calls from it directly. Talkpush offers just such a system, so that every phone call made by recruiters — no matter where they are working from — is recorded in the system.
4. Track productivity metrics and flag bad behavior
Working remotely is not for everybody. Some people have home environments that are too distracting for them to remain productive. Rescinding their remote privileges is not an easy discussion to have, but it is imperative to have it when you notice a drop in productivity. You will need to have the data to back up your discussion. Tracking the call-out activity or the number of hourly sourced candidates is an amazing management tool to improve remote work behaviors.
CRMs like Talkpush allow to track on a daily basis everything you need to know: number of calls made to candidates, number of conversations had, number of messages sent, number of follow-ups scheduled, and of course number of hires.
5. Web conferencing, with the camera switched on
If you organize regular conference calls with your recruiters, make sure to make use of the full richness of web conferencing by switching on your webcam. When working with remote teams, you want to use your full technology arsenal to reduce the feeling of detachment individuals may feel from the group. Asking recruiters to show their faces when dialing in from their home office forces them to be more present during the call and raises the standard for how your employees dress and look when they’re sitting behind their home office desk.
6. Know your boundaries
Like any company policy, remote working comes in different shapes and sizes. Before you give your entire team the green light to stop coming into the office, decide where you want to draw the line. Wherever that line is, you can be sure that someone will try to cross it. If you’ve not offered remote working before, perhaps start by offering everyone the option to work from home on Thursdays. This provides a nice change of environment after three days in the office, and still allows you to end the week together when everyone comes back in on the Friday. Using your productivity metrics, you can keep an eye on the effect this has on your team and consider whether to move forward with the remote strategy from there.
What is Talkpush? Talkpush is a conversation-first CRM which allows employers to connect with millions of job seekers digitally and to engage in conversation via chatbots over career websites, social media and SMS. Talkpush is being used by high-volume employers in over a dozen countries to improve the candidate experience and reduce the cost-per-hire. Find out more on www.talkpush.com orsign up here for a demo of the software.