Guide

The Complete Guide to Staffing and Recruiting in Today’s Market

In 2021, organizations were met with what’s been dubbed as The Great Resignation. Employees are resigning in record numbers—more than 4.5 million in November 2021, according to Labor Department stats. According to the Pew Research Center, workers cite that low pay, a lack of opportunities for advancement and feeling disrespected at work are the top reasons why Americans quit their jobs last year. 

However, it’s not just resignations that are causing problems for businesses: many hiring managers report a fundamental mismatch between candidates who are looking for work and the skills that are needed. 

The good news is that organizations that optimize their staffing and recruiting practices have the best chance of surviving and remaining competitive. In this comprehensive resource, we’ll look at why organizations of all sizes and in all industries are experiencing so many staffing and recruiting changes—and how those changes should guide your efforts to attract and retain employees.  

Chapter 1:

Today’s Hiring Challenges

Staffing and recruiting are different today than they have been ever before. When it comes to hiring, the COVID-19 pandemic was a disrupter, but it merely served as an accelerator to change that was already in the works. Now, companies need to adapt their approach. According to the Harvard Business Review, technological breakthroughs have made some skills obsolete, traditional talent pools may not always yield the best candidates and employers now need to offer candidates an “employment value proposition.” 

Let’s dig deeper. Why is change happening, and how should companies respond? 

Staffing and Recruiting: Why and How Today’s Market is Different

For decades, rapidly advancing technology has impacted business operations, worker skills and expectations. While these advancements have been gradual, the COVID-19 pandemic sent them into overdrive.

Staffing and Recruiting Updates

Post-pandemic, employees are more likely to expect flexible hours, remote work options and highly competitive benefits. As a result of changing expectations, employees are leaving jobs at record rates for new horizons—with many employers left empty handed and understaffed.  

In fact, in 2021 there were 8.6 million people considered out of work in the U.S. and nearly 10 million job openings, a figure that has only grown. This “resignation revolution” as it has been deemed is forcing employers to get creative to fill vacancies; signing bonuses are becoming more commonplace, and some companies have begun to offer pet insurance as part of their compensation packages.

Although ever-emerging technologies and the pandemic certainly aren’t the only factors driving change, and much of today’s staffing and recruiting environment is a reflection of their influence.

What’s Driving Staffing and Recruiting Dynamics

Today’s hiring dynamics are multi-faceted; here are three ways that staffing and recruiting are changing before our eyes.

  1. Employees and Candidates Have the Power — Shifts in market dynamics require companies to revisit assumptions about recruitment solutions. Because companies have more roles to fill than they have options to fill them, workers are leveraging this opportunity to voice new expectations.
    Challenges for business leaders include:

    • Increased labor mobility
    • Stagnating growth in the working age population
    • Numerous job openings with attractive benefits, such as flexible work hours and remote and hybrid workplace models
  2. Shifts in C-Suite Staffing and Recruiting Importance — Many companies are also seeing new turnover at the C-suite and executive levels. To recruit specialized staffing, organizations are not only charged with vetting candidates for qualifications and expertise, but also looking for individuals who can positively influence company culture, support work efficiency and drive growth.
  3. Employee Retention in Staffing and Recruiting — In the past, workers stayed at companies for decades and had limited interaction with other organizations. Today, seasoned workers have more options than ever. Today’s companies are now forced to concentrate on employee retention as part of a long-term recruitment solution.

Hiring in the Age of the Remote Worker: Ways to Be More Effective

A cornerstone of the changing staffing and recruiting dynamics of today’s talent market is the increase in remote work. Since the pandemic began, more employers are willing to not only hire fully remote workers, but also consider hiring them from locations that aren’t in proximity to their business. Admittedly, the move toward remote and hybrid working had begun to take shape before the 2020 pandemic; however, the pandemic accelerated the process significantly.  In a post-pandemic culture, 36% of companies shared that they are willing to hire fully remote workers. Before that, a mere 12% of organizations were receptive. 

A survey of more than 1,000 hiring managers indicates that 40.7 million Americans expect to be working remotely by 2026, according to a remote work trends report by Upwork Inc. Many mid-size businesses cannot afford to develop a full-scale HR and hiring department. To address the challenges in today’s staffing and recruiting market, businesses that want to be competitive need a solid strategy. Cutting corners to expedite hires and tapping into shallow hiring pools can turn out to be a costly mistake leading to perpetual turnover.

Chapter 2:

The Fundamentals of Recruiting and Talent Acquisition

In 2019, there were about 1 million more job vacancies than active job hunters to fill these openings. Today, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the number of job openings was at a series high of 11.5 million on the last business day of March 2022.

Experiencing unexpected vacancies can put your organization in a vulnerable position. To borrow a sports analogy: the best defense is a good offense. To be proactive, adopt a long-term focus and approach to talent sourcing.  

 

Did You Know?
Because many companies are currently experiencing higher resignation rates than usual, it may be beneficial for organizations to adopt a talent acquisition approach to fill these roles while still observing the long-term goals of the organization.

Talent Acquisition vs. Recruitment: Which Does Your Company Need?

Talent acquisition and recruitment are two popular approaches to filling vacant positions within organizations that play a part in a company’s hiring strategy. Let’s examine the definitions of each function to gain a clearer understanding.

Recruitment is the work of searching, evaluating and hiring reliable and qualified individuals to fill positions in your organization. Recruitment follows a reactive, defined process with the singular aim to fill openings at a company.  

In contrast, talent acquisition is a proactive approach to understanding the long-term aims of your business. Talent acquisition is a concept that involves a strategy to find future leaders and employees with skills to help your company grow.   

Determining the right talent acquisition vs. recruitment approach can become confusing because the two have a similar goal—to get the best person to join and remain with your company.

Talent Acquisition vs. Recruitment: Using One or Both to Meet Goals

Knowing the differences in talent acquisition and recruitment can better position companies to create processes and compete in today’s workplace climate.

By knowing the similarities and differences between talent acquisition vs. recruitment, you can create a long-term strategy to anticipate needs and respond to challenges—one that will outlast the challenges of the current job market. Here are three questions to ask when creating a hiring strategy to solve immediate and future needs. 

  1. What Are My Organizational Goals? Know your primary aim. With so many openings, some companies need to fill roles to keep business running at its usual pace. On the other hand, other companies are looking to fill strategic or executive leadership positions. In some cases, the needs may encompass both.A word of caution: Even if your company is primarily focused on current vacancies, it’s still important to consider long-term goals.
  2. Who Will Best Meet My Company’s Goals? Be very clear—internally and externally—about what hard and soft skills you expect from candidates. This may require time spent on inquiry beyond what fits in a job description to ensure your company is evaluating a candidate sufficiently. Don’t hire based only on what’s been done before, but instead on what will move your company forward.
  3. Am I Evaluating My Candidates Effectively? Often, the applicant who made the best impression during the interview process gets hired. But an interview may demonstrate only a person’s communication skills—not necessarily their technical skills, capabilities or other assets.Consider using a scorecard to better examine quantitative data and remove sentimentality from the equation. That way, you’re more likely to choose employees based on qualifications instead of relying on arbitrary factors such as communication skills.Understanding talent acquisition vs. recruitment—and leveraging their differences to your advantage—can allow you to plan for future expansion and growth, while also meeting pertinent needs as they arise.

Managing Talent Acquisition and Recruitment with a Small HR Team

Hiring new employees is expensive and time consuming for any size company. In fact, the onboarding process can cost as much as 33% of the position’s annual projected salary. Now consider what this means for a business with a small HR staff.  

The complexities of today’s job market, including dealing with unprecedented resignations on the global scale, make attracting and retaining talented employees one of the most important functions in your organization. But what if the demands have outpaced your HR team’s capacity?

Improving the Efforts of Your Internal Talent Acquisition Team

Many small to mid-sized companies may choose to use only in-house HR professionals as their talent acquisition team. Naturally, these individuals understand company culture best, so it’s critical that they’re involved in the talent acquisition process.

Just bear in mind that there is so much more to an organization’s HR needs than talent acquisition alone. Other HR functions may fall to the wayside if your internal HR group is focused mainly on talent acquisition. To protect internal processes while building talent reserves, you can learn how to improve the efforts of your talent acquisition team.

Who should be on my internal talent acquisition team?

Your company’s needs and goals should dictate who you’ll select for your internal talent acquisition team. Consider including individuals from these groups:

Your HR Team:
It may go without saying, but don’t underestimate how the HR team’s intimate knowledge of compensation and benefit topics can aid your hiring decisions.

Company Leadership:
Organizational leaders are key to crafting a long-term talent acquisition strategy because they can weigh in on objectives and vision.

Trusted Staff Members:
It’s not only leadership who should be driving decisions. Consider involving a trusted staff member to weigh in. They’ll have fresh perspectives and insights.

An important part of creating a strategy is identifying and documenting your company’s mission, vision, and future goals—then translating those into core competencies for new hires. It’s important to continually evaluate the success of your company’s talent acquisition efforts.

Chapter 3:

Choosing a Talent Acquisition Specialist


When companies find that their internal talent acquisition team is taxed with more than they can handle, many organizations turn to a talent acquisition specialist.

Multiplying Your Talent Acquisition Efforts with Consultants

Partnering with a talent acquisition specialist is one way to increase your efforts without hiring more staff. Plus, building your talent acquisition strategy framework with the help of consultants gives your internal team more time to be strategic. In turn, your company’s talent acquisition efforts become more competitive. 

 

Did You Know?
A talent acquisition specialist is a professional whose expertise is in helping organizations establish a proactive, long-term hiring strategy that aligns with a company’s overall future business objectives.

What Are the Roles of a Talent Acquisition Specialist?

A talent acquisition recruiter works in conjunction with hiring managers, HR professionals and talent sourcing experts to create a dynamic team that serves as an evolving source of information and analysis for feeding your talent pipeline.While talent acquisition specialists are instrumental in helping businesses find and recruit top-notch candidates over the long term, this is not their only function. These professionals are experts in guiding the hiring process for in-house teams to streamline success.

Choosing the Right Talent Acquisition Specialist

Partnering with the right talent recruitment consultant can make your business more competitive and help you properly address the multi-faceted hiring issues that could get lost in the shuffle during these challenging times. You’ll want to make sure the consultant you choose can provide these seven crucial services: 

1. Develop a Long-Range Talent Acquisition Strategy ­— A skilled talent acquisition specialist should be aware of all available positions and able to identify the best way to fill them—taking into account things like data, statistics and the previous effectiveness of your recruitment process to build a plan. In other words, an advisor should align your hiring strategy with your future projections and include retention as part of the plan.

2. Pre-screen Candidates on Behalf of Your HR Team — A consultant can serve as a talent acquisition coordinator by vetting applicants so your team sees only the most qualified.

3. Offer Access to a Greater Talent Pool — Finding a high-quality candidate requires more than posting to a job board these days. By partnering with a well-connected talent consultant who has expansive reach, you’ll gain access to a much deeper pool of candidates.

Long-Term Strategy, Competition Monitoring, Agility and Flexibility

4. Provide Compensation Expertise — Can you be sure your compensation model is up to date? A talent consultant has this part of the recruiting process dialed in. They can share trends that are relevant to your value proposition in the market based on data specific to your company’s geography, size and industry.

5. Monitor the Competition for Talent in Your Industry — Your advisor should act as a trusted source, keeping you informed of how your competitors are hiring, terminating or facing resignations. By keeping tabs on the competition, a talent acquisition specialist can show you how to offer better compensation, more recognition and valued feedback to employees.

In the current climate, small adjustments to hiring can make all the difference. A consultant has the advantage of bringing a fresh perspective to your talent recruitment process.

6. Mitigate Employee Turnover — The cost of employee turnover varies, but it’s safe to say that turnover is expensive, ranging from 25-200% of an employee’s salary. This figure incorporates more than just lost productivity: it includes customer service disruption, loss of morale among other employees, burnout of other employees and the costs of hiring someone new. In addition to immediate impacts, employee turnover costs valuable time when you need to start the recruiting process again from the beginning. With a robust talent acquisition process, you can evaluate candidates on qualities that matter to long-term success:

  • Cultural fit
  • Skills alignment
  • Future professional development potential

Taking time to implement this strategy eliminates a rush to hire, resulting in less employee turnover.

7. Help Your Business Become Agile — A talent acquisition manager should help your company understand how to adapt and respond effectively to market fluctuations, such as internal business shifts, external economic or environmental impacts and ongoing supply challenges.

Talent acquisition specialists may even perform other tasks, depending on a company’s pain points, industry and long-term vision. In fact, some businesses enlist the help of a specialist simply to improve their HR staff’s processes.  

Professionals who understand your industry space are often able to provide the most valuable insight to your organization.

Recruiting Solutions: Why Industry Expertise Counts

It’s no surprise that in a highly competitive market, positions that are typically challenging to fill get even more difficult. But there is hope. We’ve isolated some tips that can help you locate the best candidates for three particularly tough fields to staff: engineering, accounting and IT.

Engineering Recruitment: How to Vet Your Engineering Recruiter

Engineering recruitment is one area where a recruiting generalist just won’t cut it. Finding highly skilled engineers has never been easy, and that’s even more true in the competitive market today. And because recruiting for engineers is different from recruiting for non-technical positions, finding the right engineering recruitment firm is paramount.

5 Questions to Ask Your Engineering Recruitment Firm

Rather than plugging “engineering recruiters near me” into a search bar, try qualifying a recruiter using inquiry. It can yield valuable insights into their level of expertise. 

  1. Are you familiar with the execution of engineering projects? Niche training and expertise in engineering matters. Working with an engineering recruitment firm gives you access to recruiters who will have a thorough understanding of how engineering projects work. This insider’s perspective means that they can select candidates for the exact skills needed while also taking a long view of how a potential hire fits into your larger goals. 
  2. Are you able to evaluate whether a candidate has a history of being on time and on budget with engineering projects? Engineering timelines are of the utmost importance. That’s why it’s crucial to assess if engineers have a history of missing deadlines or going over budget when they’re managing big projects. The right engineering recruitment firm will investigate this closely and fully vet a candidate’s history.
  3. How do you communicate with engineering candidates? Face-to-face conversations are your best advantage. They can reveal much more about a how a candidate will be suited to the massive technological advancements and digital and remote work environment. Experienced engineering recruitment agencies should make in-person meetings a priority.
  4. Are you familiar with our company’s project management, estimating and project controls software? A generalist may not understand project management, estimating and project controls software. By contrast, engineering recruitment firms can translate how a candidate’s skills will be relevant to work with a particular system. 
  5. What education do you provide to your recruiters that is specific to the engineering industry? Ongoing education is essential in the engineering field. Top engineering recruiting firms are constantly networking and gaining insider knowledge. With the evolving nature of STEM fields, a generalist may not be on top of pertinent changes that could affect hiring success.

Evaluating Accounting Recruiters: Questions to Vet Your Headhunter

Building an in-house finance team for small and mid-sized companies is essential to success, and it’s important to get it right. After all, a well-structured and strong finance department is the backbone of every organization.   

If you are a newcomer to working with accounting recruiting firms, it can be taxing to determine whether your recruiter is actually a specialist in finding high-caliber accounting candidates. We’ve isolated some of the key questions to ask when partnering with accounting recruiters.

5 Questions to Ask to Find the Best Accounting Recruiters

Ask potential accounting recruiters about these five practices to measure expertise, resources, vision and desire to help your business.

  1. How many accounting placements have you made in the last 24 months? Find out what your accounting recruiters have done with local companies like yours over the past two years. This number will give you an objective indicator of their effectiveness. You want a firm that has the expertise to get results for clients, even amid a tumultuous marketplace.
  2. If you didn’t have access to job boards or LinkedIn, how many accounting professionals would your firm know? Your accounting recruiters should be transparent about how they source talent. In general, steer clear of a firm that simply combs job boards, LinkedIn and social media posts.
  3. Are you involved in accounting industry networking or events? Being involved in industry events means more than holding an association membership. Find out if they are constantly meeting and connecting with accounting professionals and ask which events they attend.  
  4. Are you familiar with the differences between candidates who would work in general ledger accounting vs. financial analysis? If your accounting recruiters are not familiar with the substantial differences between general ledger accounting roles and financial analysis roles, then it’s probably wise to keep looking.
  5. Are you familiar with the accounting software programs for specific roles? Ensure your accounting recruiters know what type of software is needed for specific roles to ensure each candidate has the software skills needed.
    For example, Deltek Costpoint ERP has become a crucial software used by government contracting accountants, so it’s key for an accounting recruiter to know how to assess a candidate’s skill level and familiarity with this tool.
    It’s also a good idea to check their familiarity with the seasonal nature of the industry and see if they understand the main differences between public accounting versus industry accounting. The takeaway? It’s impossible to ask too many questions when
    hiring a specialized accounting recruiter.

Find the Right IT Recruitment Agencies: Questions to Ask Your Recruiter

It would be an understatement to say that IT professionals are in high demand. And you simply have to have specialized help if you expect to attract the brightest stars; however, not all IT recruiting firms are created equal.

5 Questions to Ask Your IT Recruiter

Asking a few pointed questions can be the difference between hiring a dud and finding excellent IT recruitment companies. Here are the best inquiries to make. 

  1. Do you understand our software development life cycle (SDLC) and know which candidates would bring value? Don’t waste time with a recruiter who does not grasp your company’s SDLC. Check to see if your recruiter understands these specific elements:
    • Requirement analysis
    • Planning
    • Software design
    • Software development
    • Testing
    • Deployment
  2. Do you understand how to help my company hire from more sophisticated technology environments? Great IT recruiting firms go beyond identifying candidates. They should be able to help you perform a skills gap analysis test to identify the important skills that are currently lacking within your company. IT recruitment agencies also need to be able to reach candidates with highly specialized IT knowledge to align with your particular needs.
  3. Can you gauge candidates based on our technology stack? Ask IT recruitment companies how they will evaluate candidates’ skills based on your in-house technology stack.
  4. How do you locate IT talent? High-quality IT recruiters will keep in touch with outstanding talent and continuously build new contacts through their networks. Recruitment agencies should attend IT events in order to make new connections.
  5. Do you understand the nuances of technology relevant to my company’s open IT roles? Simply put, recruitment agencies should fully grasp the functionality of the technology you use, how it fits into your company, why it’s important to your operations and how certain team members interact with it. Though they may not be an expert in every IT subspecialty, your hire should definitely work in your space. 

Even in this challenging labor market, it is possible to find an IT recruitment partner who not only understands your company and the open role at hand, but also the technology environment—and what makes candidates successful in it.

Chapter 4:

Improving Employee Retention Strategies

Most companies don’t hire employees with the expectation that they will leave in a year, two or even five. However, the “resignation revolution” has made it clear that the labor market can shift instantly. As early as August of 2020, 18.9 million Americans were willing to change jobs or leave the workforce entirely. By 2021, one in four employees had already resigned, a trend that continues today. The key to withstanding these changes is to prioritize employee retention.

What is Employee Retention?

Employee retention has always been important, but today keeping your star employees can be the difference in keeping your company running smoothly and folding.

Employee Retention Definition

Employee retention refers to a business’s ability to keep its best employees on the payroll for a long period of time. Doing so depends on an organization’s efforts to keep employees engaged, satisfied and committed.

 

Did You Know?
Employee retention is a business’s ability to keep valued and valuable employees on the payroll for the long term

The Benefits of Employee Retention

The key to retention management is to consistently follow best practices. Those who do can expect to see a myriad of benefits. Organizations with superior employee retention programs will realize the following advantages: 

  1. Lower Employee Turnover Costs — Did you know that resignations can cost a business approximately 33 percent of an employee’s annual salary? When you do the math, you’ll see that this figure includes more than what you’ll spend to train a replacement—including HR responses, lower morale and time invested in rehiring. Retaining team members, in turn, cuts costs and preserves resources.
  2. Positive Employee Morale — Positive employee morale is a benefit of employee retention that leads to many additional benefits for companies. Today’s employees need to feel valued beyond salary and benefits. This gives employee retention meaning and necessitates that companies show appreciation, give recognition and support the values of their employees.
  3. Highly Skilled and Knowledgeable Staff — Companies that retain employees also retain specialized skills and knowledge specific to their organization. Business- and industry-specific skill sets increase over time and can take years to replace. It’s much easier to keep employees around for the long term and safeguard the value of the specific knowledge they’ve attained.

Why an Employee Retention Plan is Crucial for Keeping Your Employees Around

Because of the many benefits and the necessity in today’s job market, how to improve employee retention is at the top of every leader’s mind. Often, employee retention depends heavily on getting off to the right start. But it’s not only about the early stages of a person’s career. Effective employee retention practices should be ongoing and include:

  • Finding the right candidate for the right role 
  • Providing onboarding and orientation 
  • Offering appropriate compensation 
  • Furnishing essential perks and benefits 
  • Encouraging health and well-being 
  • Welcoming open communication 
  • Providing continuous feedback on performance

To be successful, you’ll first have to understand why your employees are leaving and then carefully craft an employee retention plan that will keep them around. Here’s a rundown of the basics.

Developing an Employee Retention Plan

If you’re wondering how to develop a retention plan that won’t break the bank, rest assured. There are many practical, affordable steps organizations can take to increase employee satisfaction.

An employee retention plan needs to be documented and include these essential features:

  1. Learn What’s Important to Your Team — Foster engagement by recognizing what’s important to your employees. Ideas can include:

    • Adopting a bottom-up approach to understanding employees’ positions
    • Facilitating open lines of communication between employees and leaders
    • Recognizing good work at the time of the accomplishment
  2. Embrace and Provide Flexibility — Flexibility and accommodating policies are no longer nice-to-have benefits. Allow time for exercise and personal care and allow breaks and flexible hours. If you want to be competitive, offering remote and hybrid options is almost a requirement for modern employee retention plans.
  3. Offer an Intentional Career Development Plan — Ensure that your employees are clear
    about expectations. They need to know exactly what it takes to advance within the
    company. Give them a clear course of action and examine how it aligns with their professional goals. Employees are more loyal to companies that are willing to invest in them.
  4. Support Employees With Formal and Informal Mentoring — Your employee retention plan should outline a mentorship path that encourages senior staff members, newcomers and peers to collaborate.
  5. Invest in Middle Management Leadership Skills — One of the most challenging positions is often middle management; yet they are often overlooked. Don’t forget to pay special attention to helping them develop their leadership skills.
  6. Combat the Factors That Contribute to Turnover — Identify why team members are leaving your company through information gathered in exit interviews or candid discussions with your employees. Then, make a plan to address these factors.
  7. Counter What Competitors are Offering That Could Entice Employees to Go
    Elsewhere —
    Learn about the benefits and perks your competitors are offering to
    recruit their top talent so that you can be prepared to match or even exceed them.
  8. Offer Mental Health Webinars and Classes — An astounding 40% of employee turnover is thought to be the result of stress, costing American companies up to $300 billion annually. Utilize employee surveys, exit interviews and candid conversations to find out what stressors exist at work. 

Bottom line: your organization is responsible for attracting and retaining the right team members, so you’ll want to employ every method possible to make that happen.

How Can Talent Consultants Help With Employee Retention?

Considering how priceless retention can be, you may need to seek extra help to fine-tune your practices. Talent consultants bring competitive insight to the table and can help your form the right strategy. Here are three ways they can boost your efforts. 

  1. Benchmarking Employee Retention Efforts — A consultant can pinpoint which metrics are useful to your employee retention program’s success. They can even help create employee surveys and collect meaningful data to drive improvements in employee satisfaction.
  2. Developing a Retention Management Strategy — Talent acquisition and employee retention work in tandem. A consultant can help you develop and implement an effective robust retention management strategy that both keeps your best employees around while positioning your organization to attract highly qualified new hires.
  3. Offering Objective Insights Into Current Strategies — Unlike an internal HR team, a talent consultant can be unbiased when evaluating your current strategy. They can also shed light on what competitors may be doing and borrow from best practices to keep your company highly competitive.

Chapter 5:

Remote Work Considerations

Remote work has become a critical part of the discussion when it comes to hiring, retaining and managing employees. Before we delve into the topic of remote work, it should be noted that some companies don’t have the option of offering remote work due to the nature of their products or services. At the same time, many companies that could offer remote work are resistant. Ultimately, it comes down to preference, but for companies that want to remain competitive, it’s worthwhile to give consideration to fully remote or hybrid models.

Is Remote Work Here to Stay?

Today’s employees say yes. According to CNBC, businesses stand to lose nearly 70% of job seekers when they insist on in-office models.

But the idea of remote work isn’t novel, even if it has gained traction recently. In 2011, Cisco released a report exploring the future of work among college-age students, finding that 37% of those polled already preferred the idea of flexibility and remote work over a higher salary.

By 2017, Gallup reported that 43% of 15,000 employed Americans were already working remotely for some portion of their workweek. As years passed, people got even more comfortable, juggling work tasks at home. Though in 2020, physical offices were pervasive. 

If you’re asking yourself, “is remote work here to stay?” look no further than the numbers. By 2021, 52% of 1,000 surveyed workers reported that they would prefer to work from home permanently if they were given the option. These kind of remote work statistics and attitudes seem likely to persist, especially in light of current social and economic factors.

How Companies Benefit from Remote Work

Even if there weren’t a strong preference for remote options, employers would still be wise to consider making the shift. The benefits aren’t just for employees, and more employers are equally happy that remote work is here to stay. Here are a few of the main reasons why companies have come to embrace the concept.

Diversify Your Talent Pool — In an office without walls, employers can find the best candidates anywhere in the country or the world, expanding and enriching the range of talent they can access.

Improve Employee Morale — Trusting your employees with more flexibility has been shown to boost morale. Just take a look at these remote work statistics: Business Daily News reports that “remote employees work an additional 1.4 more days per month than in-office employees, which is nearly 17 additional workdays a year.”

Cut Expenses — An increase in remote work often coincides with a decrease in company expenses. Companies are realizing that they can slash several overhead expenses and lower costs for utilities, employee lunches and office supplies.

Ultimately, employers must weigh pros and cons and consider remote work trends to decide if offering this option is right for your organization. To make an informed decision, weigh the challenges as well as the benefits.

Hiring a Remote Workforce

A company’s willingness to offer work-from-home and flexible work arrangements is crucial to attracting and retaining top talent. But recruiting a remote worker is different from the traditional process.

It’s important to keep in mind that hiring remote workers is becoming so commonplace that the benefit of working remotely is not enough to offset lower wages. Since workers are no longer willing to sacrifice pay in exchange for remote work benefits, employers need to adjust hiring practices accordingly. Employers must carefully navigate compensation complexities. Here are two compensation options to keep in mind when hiring a remote workforce:

  • Set remote worker pay based on local standards for comparable positions 
  • Base the remote worker’s pay on the organization’s main location

Challenges of Managing Remote Employees (And Solutions to Overcome Them)

Even strong proponents of remote work acknowledge that it does come with its own host of challenges. However, when leaders can anticipate these issues, it’s easy to devise solutions that can alleviate, or at least mitigate, them. Let’s have a look.

5 Common Challenges of Managing Remote Employees

Challenge 1: Long-Term Impacts of Isolation
Some remote work employees experience isolation and a decline in mental health, which can lead to depression, anxiety and loneliness. Naturally, this is one of the most concerning challenges of managing remote employees.  

Solution:Flip the script. The same technology that allows employees to work from home can also be used to engage them in remote team building or other activities that reduce isolation. Technological tools  can have a big impact on the challenges of managing remote employees. Carefully design how your team is using email, text, phone calls, video chats, online calendars, intranet sites and chat room software, like Slack or Microsoft Teams.

Challenge 2: Distractions and Disturbances
Holding employees’ attention amid the distractions of home and other people isn’t always easy. It’s not as if they have the same transparency around productivity that they might have in an office.

Solution:Encourage employees to adhere to a schedule that can accommodate both work and personal needs. Then show them how to create systems for their specific situations that will help to keep them focused and on task. Be absolutely sure you have set clear expectations. When it comes to managing a remote team, clarity is paramount. Here’s how to ensure you’ve established that:  

  • Host regular check-in calls 
  • Leverage project management systems 
  • Ask for regular updates on complex assignments 
  • Encourage team members to ask questions proactively on software, like Slack or Microsoft Teams.

Challenge 3: Burnout
Sometimes the blurring of lines can be difficult when work and home life meld. Many remote employees struggle to defend personal and family time with the always-on nature of remote work. For this reason, burnout is a challenge of managing remote employees.  

Solution:The remedy for this problem comes down to creating good boundaries. Remind employees that they should pause throughout the day and take full lunch breaks at home, just as they would if they were physically in an office building. If you’re wondering how to manage remote employees, it may be helpful to examine the meetings your team is attending and how they are going. Long virtual calls and jam-packed schedules can cause video chat fatigue and virtual burnout. It’s best to streamline these meetings by focusing on narrow topics while offering regular breaks. 

Challenge 4: Collaboration Roadblocks
Another challenge of managing remote employees is the ability to coordinate well and work in tandem. Team members working on their own may find it tough to realize their value to the team and they could have issues with collaborating with others. 

Solution:Make sure that remote team building activities incorporate collaboration on specific work projects. Other tips include sharing documents that track work activities, notes the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). It’s encouraging when team members can see where they can help and add value to others and recognize how their efforts fit into larger goals. The last thing you want is for your employees to feel like they are on an island. In remote workforce management, you must define ways to communicate with your remote staff regularly, keeping them apprised of deadlines, available resources, work-related challenges and the company’s expectations of them.

Challenge 5: Decreased Levels of Motivation
Managing in person affords employers the opportunity to personalize feedback and recognition. Without it, team members may become disillusioned or stagnate.

Solution:Incorporate a human touch into a remote method for recognizing employees. Try virtual celebrations or rewards for recognizing efforts, ideas and achievements. If you offer a hybrid environment, be sensitive about potential on-site favoritism. On-site favoritism happens when employees who are in the office have more opportunities than employees who aren’t, which can tank your team’s morale and motivation quickly. Resist the urge to consistently choose communication with the closest point of contact and purposefully reach out to remote workers.

To be sure this is not a problem for you, be sure to: 

  • Survey employees to find out who’s doing “office housework.” 
  • Create a procedure for managers so that everyone is aware of expectations. 
  • Identify patterns that can reveal favoritism. 
  • Train managers to avoid in-person bias. 
  • Send regular employee engagement surveys. 
  • Conduct stay interviews (In contrast to exit interviews, these discussions reveal what keeps star employees working for your organization and what you can do to improve.) 
  • Distribute periodic employee Net Promoter Scores (The eNPS is a 0-to-10 gauge for your employees’ willingness to be ambassadors for your organization.)

Challenge 6: Lack of Connections
When it comes to remote work, team members often miss out on the typical water cooler talk and relationship building that naturally comes with physically being around their coworkers. Without these connections, it can be easy for team members to feel like they aren’t personally connected with their team or their role. 

Solution: Host Remote Team Games for Team Building. Having fun at work shouldn’t be a stretch. Set aside times for fun (even optional) engagement. These moments can mimic the typical office banter that would otherwise happen in a brick-and-mortar setting, giving team members a venue to enjoy themselves and their peers.

 

Lighthearted moments don’t have to be spontaneous. You can incorporate remote team building games or virtual icebreakers for remote teams to give employees a similar experience to an office get-together. 

Savvy managers already know that relationships, connections and communication are essential for leading remote teams because they lead to higher morale, greater employee loyalty, increased productivity and improved employee retention.

Why You Should Create a Remote Work Policy

Although overcoming remote work challenges is very doable, the shift has managers wondering how to manage a remote team effectively. It starts with creating a plan. 

Because employees lack face-to-face supervision, managers often worry their staff won’t work as hard or as efficiently. But managing remote employees isn’t all that much different than managing in person; it comes down to preparation. 

Businesses should carefully consider what their policies will be with regard to the new normal. 

The Purpose of a Remote Work Policy

Your old employee handbook may not cut it anymore. Applying a traditional personnel policy to remote and hybrid staff doesn’t always work because the environments and circumstances are so unique. A specific policy is a valuable asset in your managing remote employees toolkit.   

You’ll want to mitigate the risks to your business, and without a remote work policy, you may be exposed to vulnerabilities. A remote workplace policy protects you and your employees and can prevent the troubles associated with miscommunication. 

Remote Work Policy Template

To begin writing your own guidelines, you can use this sample remote work policy template, which is easy to adjust to your company’s specifications.

Let’s examine the key features of each component:

Introduction — Be sure to convey how proud you are to offer them the opportunity to work remotely from an appropriate location. Remind all employees that being remote does not exempt them from policies and responsibilities similar to those for on-site workers. 

Remote Work Eligibility Requirements — First and foremost, you’ll want to develop standards that are fair for everyone and compliant with labor laws. Consider incorporating eligibility requirements to your remote work policy based on what duties are performed in a specific role and expectations from customers or vendors. If eligibility may be revoked in certain circumstances, it’s important to have that spelled out.

Data Security Responsibilities — Security becomes a major factor in the viability of remote work and often additional training is needed. If you provide employees with devices (like laptops and drives), decide how each employee will avoid security risks, recognize them if they occur, and understand how to take action. 

Working with an IT team or an outsourced provider to set security expectations with your team is the best defense against breaches. Some base-level precautions include:  

  • Training your team to avoid public Wi-Fi networks;  
  • Promoting physical security of your company’s technology valuable assets; and  
  • Establishing clear BYOD considerations when appropriate.   

Time Tracking, Overtime and FLSA Compliance — The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) determines procedures for how employees can track hourly wages. Make sure that this is part of your policy and that hourly employees receive these guidelines and are trained to submit time appropriately. Outside of security concerns, time tracking is one of the most complex parts of a remote work policy.

Communication and Availability Standards — Remote work depends on employee accessibility. As such, employees may need to be available for communication during agreed-upon work hours. If there are certain times when employees must respond to calls, texts, emails or other communications, it’s important to define them.  

Worksite Standards for Health and Safety — Liability doesn’t only pertain to physical office locations. Did you know that in some cases you could still face legal consequences if employees are injured when they are on the clock? Take the extra time to provide assurance that remote working conditions are safe and secure.   

Employee Signature — It may go without saying, but you’ll need to require employees to sign the remote work policy. This demonstrates that they have read and comprehended your terms.   

While it may take some time to assemble, a robust remote work policy will protect your business. Plus, it ensures that everyone can focus on the tasks at hand, get clear on expectations and be set up for a successful remote work experience.

Chapter 6:

Deploying Your Organization’s Hiring Strategy

The demand for talent shows no signs of easing anytime soon, and finding qualified candidates continues to be highly competitive. In fact, Recruiting Daily reports that 89% of surveyed employers voiced concerns about a difficult recruiting field through 2022.  

So how do you pull ahead of the competition? While there’s no magic formula, following the steps in this guide can significantly improve your chances of finding top talent, especially if you stick to time-tested fundamental principles.

Top 4 Job Recruitment Fundamentals

Apply these job recruitment fundamentals so that your strategy is up to par in today’s market.

  1. Broadcast Your Company’s Mission — The modern job seeker wants to understand more than what their job description will be. They want to learn about your mission and vision. Be sure to convey the larger purpose your organization serves, including the culture, values, ethics, fundamental goals and agenda.An inspired and engaging mission statement is your chance to get current employees, prospective applicants and pending candidates excited about what your company does.
  2. Revisit Assumptions and Concerns About Remote Work — It’s no longer correct to assume that remote work will result in lost productivity or organizational chaos. Studies of remote workers have revealed that they most often remain as productive, if not more so, when setting their own boundaries at home than when working in the office.Furthermore, the multiple benefits of allowing work-from-home, work-from-anywhere or even hybrid workplace models have been enumerated extensively. Considering alternative working arrangements can enhance your job recruitment efforts.
  3. Re-examine Your Compensation and Benefits — In the new job market, employees review everything when making a decision, and compensation is at the top of the list. Organizations must be competitive—you can no longer afford to use your old playbook to determine a compensation and benefits package, so take a close look at the appropriate data for your area and industry to make sure you are up to date.Consider assessing your current and prospective employees’ views as well and keep in mind that for many workers,“perks and pay are no longer enough.”
  4. Review Tools and Strategies for Screening Applicants — Screening applicants can be one of the most time-consuming parts of staffing. To do it wellyou’ll need to define the job recruitment process and approach screening with purpose. Carefully designed assessments that change with the dynamic job recruitment market can help.
    Some best practices include the following:

    • Examine job descriptions to be proactive in who your listing attracts
    • Invest in an applicant tracking system (ATS) that manages applications
    • Use pre-employment screening tests to uncover applicants’ skills and personality traits to ensure a mutual fit

    And don’t forget to ensure you’ve eliminated any unconscious bias in the screening process.

If your company isn’t already operating according to industry best practices, there’s no time like the present to reset job recruitment fundamentals. 

Chapter 7:

Conclusion

Today’s hiring climate has new and different challenges. Companies that can navigate these challenges stand to attract and retain the best talent, resulting in a significant competitive advantage. But how do you even begin to overhaul your recruiting practices when time and resources are already tight? 

Recruitment professionals can multiply your efforts or manage the process entirely. At Warren Averett Staffing & Recruiting, our recruiting team is experienced in helping numerous companies upgrade job recruitment, staffing and remote work strategies.  

Our experts can manage every stage of the process and lend valuable insights to hiring for specific industries. We help you assess the right strategy for your organization and providetop-notch recruiting to let you build, retain and strengthen your dream team. 

Schedule a time to chat with us today. 



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