Three Tips for Recruiting an Increasingly Remote Workforce

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Across the country, shifts in worker expectations driven by the pandemic continue to ripple through small businesses. One of the biggest lingering COVID-19 impacts has been a desire to work at least part of the time from home. A recent Gallup study showed that almost 60% of employees prefer a hybrid work model, while one-third of respondents would like an all-remote arrangement. 

All indications are that this trend will continue. In the Gallup study, nearly 55% of the companies that can accommodate remote-work options said they plan to do so beyond 2022.  

Offering the ability to work remotely can be an effective recruitment and retention strategy, but it requires hiring managers to master new rules and legal issues that stem from having employees who work in different locations.

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The top three considerations are: 

1.  State Laws 

Employment laws vary from state to state, and even among municipalities. They govern everything from the interview process to payroll. During the recruitment process, depending on where job candidates live, you may or may not be allowed to:  

  • Ask about an applicant’s criminal history; 
  • Ask for salary history; or 
  • Conduct a pre-employment drug screen without meeting state requirements 

Some states also restrict the information that can be reported in a pre-employment background check beyond what the FCRA dictates. 

If you’re considering job applicants who are outside the state or states where your business typically operates, make sure you have reviewed and can abide by the laws that cover those candidates based on where the remote candidate lives and will be working. 

RELATED: How to Onboard Remote Employees >>

2.  Applicant Communications 

Communicating frequently and clearly with applicants is always important; but even more so when you’re hiring people who will work somewhere other than at your physical place of business. With talented labor in short supply, it’s not uncommon for candidates to end up with multiple job offers. Interviewees’ experiences with your company’s hiring managers could mean the difference between them joining your organization or someone else’s. 

During the recruitment process, set communications-related expectations early. The remote hiring process often begins with a phone screen, but subsequent interviews likely will take place through video conferencing. Let candidates know in advance: 

  • How many interviews are planned;  
  • What video platform will be used; 
  • Whether video participants will be on or off-camera; 
  • How (and how quickly) your company will communicate after an interview; and
  • The hiring timeline you’re targeting. 

RELATED: Three Ways to Keep Remote Workers Accountable >>

3.  Handbook and Organization Tools 

If your workforce is becoming increasingly far-flung, an update to your employee handbook and availability of organization tools and information is in order.: 

  • Handbook 

    This document applies to all employees, no matter where they work. It should include your mission statement, core values and the policies that apply to everyone. The handbook also should define the company’s flexible, hybrid and remote work guidelines and expectations. If you have employees in states with state-specific requirements an addendum should be added to your handbook outlining those state specifics.  
  • Organization Tools and Information

    This should be a designated area employees can easily reference that includes organizational charts, internal documents,  work processes, company communications and anything else related to day-to-day operations. Its purpose is to help employees be able to effectively do their job regardless of where they are working from. 

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Hiring remote employees broadens the talent pool at a time when workers are in short supply, but it also creates new HR management challenges for small businesses. Adapting your hiring and policy strategies to match the changing labor landscape will help you attract the best employees – no matter where they live. Axcet HR Solutions stands ready to help small businesses, as well, when they don’t have the bandwidth to expertly handle issues created by an increasingly remote workforce. 

Axcet HR Solutions HR PEO Services

Written by Laura Dowling, SPHR

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