The working life for many is changing, with an increasing variation in job titles and professions overall, new job titles, new industries and self-made statues are being invented and continuously introduced. You no longer recruit full time and part time workers, but now recruit them plus, freelancers, contractors and gig workers.
Recruitment firms are placing all of these variations of worker into open positions, and the same approach to management can’t always be applied.
With each and every kind of worker you employ or engage, their expectations concerning things like as hours and working conditions have also evolved. The work-life balance is gaining more and more importance in more and more workers’ lives; remote work or the ability to work from home, either full or part-time, allows more flexibility while still working the same amount of hours. This is no bad thing, and an appreciation for a well-balanced lifestyle is beneficial for employers too; happier employees are harder working and more productive employees, who can manage their own time to suit them and still complete all work targets and tasks.
This is not to say that employers won’t encounter any issues when engaging remote workers, this is a different style of working and a different relationship between employer and employee. The communication levels need to be high, and they need to be clear. However, as recruitment professionals, you can help employers get to grips with the best ways to manage their remote workers.
There needs to be a healthy level of trust established between the employer and the remote workers, and trust goes both ways. Be sure when recruiting or sourcing talent that the employers feel the remote worker is suitable for their organisation and can be trusted to work efficiently when left to their own devices; some experience of past remote working opportunities could be one good measuring factor here.
The company culture creates the kind of relationship employers have with their remote workers. A clear path of communication and ensuring that workers feel confident in contacting their team or manager with any concerns or worries, is vitally important.
It’s necessary for employers to have the right tools in place to contact remote workers and for them to approach employers. There are plenty of tools one might employ to do this effectively, for example, apps such as ‘Slack’ – the team collaboration tool. Trello or G Suite collaboration tools such as Google JamBoard are great for keeping the team engaged on projects together, swapping ideas and integrating all members of the team.
Clarity on responsibilities, deadlines and targets from the start is the best way to begin.
Apart from knowing what is expected of them as a remote worker, when and who they should contact for X, Y and Z, it’s vital that the kind of employment under which the remote worker is hired is crystal clear; if the worker is being recruited as an employee or if they are being recruited as a contractor etc. As we have seen in the news recently, workers rights differ, and for Deliveroo this has proved a costly error and lack of clarity. Remote work should indeed should be shown the same respect and courtesies, but legally workers may have different rights, be open and clear about this from day one to avoid any complications.
A robust onboarding process is a great way to ensure that all of the relevant and important topics and points are covered in the same way for each employee.
Know the importance of meeting up face to face. Regular meetups can strengthen the trust between employer and worker, either face to face or even using Skype or Hangouts if that’s easier. By creating this interaction, remote workers are more likely to feel comfortable and confident to reach out to employers when they need to.
Employers might also want to create opportunities for and encourage interactions between remote workers, with their own Slack channel perhaps, and between remote workers and in-house staff too, to blur the divide between their roles. They might also be encouraged and invited to attend team or department meetings when and where applicable and appropriate.
Recruitment is seeing changes in the way that individuals are looking for work and in-house recruiters or recruitment agencies and recruitment professionals need to be aware of the growing trend for remote workers and be equipped to place them. Moreover, employers themselves need to master successful management of remote workers.