IgniteTech is proud to present “Work From Home Reimagined,” a four-part series on the future of remote work. In Part 3, we discuss how to retool talent acquisition and retention to meet remote employees' expectations. Be sure to check out Part 1: Communications and Part 2: Accountability as well!

If or when your organization decides it’s safe to venture back into the office, you may find that some of your newer team members aren’t there in person. Throughout the pandemic, many organizations have continued hiring, even without the expectation that their new talent will ever be in the office. Don’t expect this to change anytime soon.

If your company intends to make remote work a part of its plans moving forward, it’s important to make the right adjustments to every part of your business processes. Talent acquisition and retention are no exception. Offering a remote option expands the horizons for who can be hired — taking geographic constraints out of the discussion entirely for many positions. However, to retain and get the most out of top remote talent, you’ll also need to revamp your employee engagement processes. 

Take advantage of the possibilities of remote hiring

It used to be that a company would only be able to compete for the best hires either already living nearby or willing to relocate. For many companies, especially ones based in smaller markets, this put a hard ceiling on the level of talent available to them.

No more, however. For positions that can be done entirely remotely, your organization can now recruit from anywhere in the world. Already a shift has occurred, with many jobs that can be potentially done remotely now being offered that way. According to research from the Adecco Group, for example, postings for remote positions in Italy jumped an incredible 250% from 2019 to 2020, with many other countries not far behind.

Taking advantage of this trend, however, will require a permanent commitment to remote capabilities (if your organization hasn’t made one already) and a possible rethink on the way you advertise available positions. If you intend for a job to be remote or are at least open to it, make that very clear on job board postings. While posting about openings on your social media channels is always a good idea, it may not have as much of an impact on attracting recruits from far and wide if your organization is mostly known on a local or regional level.

Work From Home Reimagined Talent Body

Rethink remote as a recruitment asset

Not only does offering a remote work option allow you to pursue geographically diverse workers, but it may also help you attract and retain talent. Many workers value remote work because of its flexibility and convenience — and factor it in accordingly in their own job searches. In fact, according to a survey of more than 4,000 workers conducted by the remote job placement company FlexJobs, as many as 27% of workers may be willing to take a pay cut to work remotely. In other words, making remote work a central part of the way you describe a position could allow you to compete for top talent, even if you can’t offer the same kinds of salaries as an industry competitor.

Similarly, just as remote jobs allow employers greater flexibility in who they hire, workers are also drawn to remote careers because they allow for greater flexibility in their personal lives. According to PwC’s March 2021 Workforce Pulse Survey, almost a quarter of workers have used the pandemic as an opportunity to move farther away from their offices or are planning for it. This was especially true for remote workers (only 8% of on-site essential workers had similar plans). With workers utilizing their remote setups to make major life changes, it seems unlikely that qualified candidates will be willing to readjust, even when COVID-19 is less of a concern.

Have a plan for employee engagement

Of course, hiring top talent only matters if they stick around. In that sense, remote work can be a major boon. As mentioned above, offering remote capabilities is seen as an asset by many employees and can have a positive impact on retention. However, maintaining continued engagement among new hires can be a more extensive process. According to a 2020 report from McKinsey on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on workers, leaders still need to find ways to demonstrate the kind of care and personalized attention that many employees thrive on — even if they’re now a continent away, rather than a cubicle. This is especially true for new hires.

A big part of employee engagement will include ensuring your remote employees are fully connected to the work your organization does. This will require not only the right plan but also the right technology. Your solutions and important data should be accessible to remote employees to ensure that they have access to the right data and onboarding information. In other words, if your organization is planning to hire remote workers, you’ll need to have the infrastructure in place to ensure these employees' success.

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