A guide to recruiting remote workers for your business

29 Nov 2022

Introduction

Employers and employees alike are now well acquainted with the fundamentals of remote working. It’s now an eternal way businesses operate and some workers would sooner leave a job for one that offers the flexibility and adaptability that remote working brings.

For organisations, remote working has opened many doors for the way they’re able to employ their staff and operate as a business. Hiring remote workers has become an essential hiring strategy and it’s one that many businesses are still trying to master. In this remote workers hiring guide, we’ll look at the benefits of hiring remote workers, how to hire the best remote workers, any considerations that need to be made and tips for refining the remote workers recruitment process.

Why the Future of Working is Remote

We’re sure we don’t need to go into too much detail on why there’s been a rise in the demand for hiring remote workers. But since the pandemic the results from research into remote working has been unequivocally in favour of it staying that way long term.

Research conducted by the Office for National Statistics in Feb 2022 showed that only 8% of workers would want to return to the office full time. The same study highlighted that 84% of workers who had to work from home because of the coronavirus pandemic said they planned to work hybrid. And 24% of businesses planned to invest more into hiring remote workers in 2022.

Separate research by YouGov found that 60% of workers that worked remotely during the pandemic would prefer to work remotely all or some of the time.

German multinational conglomerate Siemens are fully embracing the way remote working has reshaped the way companies can search for top talent. The mainly European based tech giant is scouring Asia & the US to fill roles and are distributing their workforce across the globe. Siemens Chief Executive told the Financial Times, “We have to go and find talent where they are.” 

If there’s one thing for certain, remote working is here to stay. Hiring remote workers has the ability to benefit companies equally as much as employees. While this isn’t the end of the office, there’s certainly more onus on companies to accommodate the desires of the current workforce, those that fail to do so may struggle to attract top talent.

The Benefits of Hiring Remote Workers

Companies have the ability to greatly benefit if they recruit remote workers, from cost savings, to productivity improvements and an increased talent pool. We’ve broken down some of the key benefits of hiring remote workers.

Cost savings

Probably the most obvious benefit for companies of hiring remote workers is the potential cost savings. As the shift towards remote working accelerated, for some companies the need for a physical office and the electricity to heat/light it is a thing of the past.

Even if a company has moved to the hybrid model of working, there might not be use for that bigger office space that was occupied pre-pandemic. Companies have scaled down their real estate operations.

Consultancy.eu found that across sectors remote working can deliver an average of 32% in real estate cost savings – up to 43% in some cases.

Greater talent pool

With people able to work from anywhere and still get their job done, companies now have the ability to widen their scope for talent to all corners of the globe. Selecting people that, in the past, wouldn’t have been available. 

Belgian chemicals company Solvay are doing just that. Their chief people officer, Hervé Tiberghien told the FT: “Not only can we access a diverse pool of talent across the globe but also talent which might not have otherwise been available.”

This allows businesses to increase the chance that they’ll connect with people who match the job criteria perfectly.

Boosted retention

Not only will remote working allow a company to attract the right staff. It also has the potential to help retain existing employees. Workers now find the ability to work remotely all or part of the week essential as it can allow them a better work life balance. With no commute and the ability to spend more time with family, remote working has had a profound impact on employee well-being.

Increased Diversity

With companies unlocking access to a wider talent pool this brings with it the possibility to increase diversity within the workforce.

This is exactly what Tealbook, a machine learning data platform, is doing. Their CEO, Stephany Lapierre had this to say on being able to recruit a more diverse workforce to align with their core values “For example, we want a diverse community, but research and development teams often skew male. So, when we have equal candidates, we pause and think about whether this is an opportunity to offer the position to a woman.”

Considerations When Hiring Remote Workers

If a company sets out to hire remote workers, there are some important considerations that need to be made to ensure the hiring process and any future employee’s transition into the company is smooth and straightforward. 

Compensation

If hiring remotely, it’s likely employees will be scattered across the country (if not the world). Companies need to consider how compensation differs geographically – should someone be paid more if they live in or around London/the south? How does the cost of living differ from country to country? What are the benefit expectations in a particular area?

Working Environment

Are employees set up to work productively at home? Do they have the necessary equipment to work safely? Whether it’s an appropriate chair to prevent lower back pain, or a laptop to work from anywhere. It’s important to ensure that employees have everything they need to work effectively in a home office environment.

Security

While working remotely, it’s harder for businesses to keep a hold of security protocols. Staff may choose to work from a cafe one day or may live in shared accommodation – who knows who could gain access to their laptop as they decide to get a quick coffee. It’s vital that there are security measures in place on all technology to minimise security breaches and staff have regular training in these measures.

Taxes

If hiring globally does a business need to pay the same amount of income tax on employees that are working on the other side of the world? A business needs to make sure they remain compliant with local tax laws and keep up to date with any changes in tax legislation.

Remote Worker Skill Set

Although remote working is an integral part of the way companies operate, it doesn’t mean all employees are cut out for it. Businesses should recruit those that require little supervision and can work productively from their remote workspace. Some skills that can demonstrate an effective remote worker are: 

Tech Savvy

Remote workers need to be well acquainted with the tools that allow them to work as part of the team. This includes cloud based software to access documents and files, as well as video conferencing and instant messaging platforms such as teams or zoom. 

Communication

Meetings in person give the benefit of being able to read body language and social cues. With the majority of remote working meetings taking place via platforms such as zoom, it can be difficult to communicate efficiently. An ideal remote worker can communicate their ideas effectively just as better behind a screen than in person. 

Collaboration

Teams still need to work together to solve problems and create solutions in a remote working environment. Employees should be able to work with others effectively even when they’re not in the same room.

Initiative

When reviewing applicants, companies should look for self starters. Not being able to walk over to an employee’s desk to ask a question can make communication difficult. Try and find those that don’t rely on being told what to do and when to do it.

Tips For The Recruitment Process

Just as the day to day life of a company employing remote staff working differs, so does the hiring process. With particular focus on determining how the job will be actually carried out.

The Job Advertisement

This needs to provide a detailed description of how the job will be undertaken remotely. Both from a skills and practical perspective. It needs to be abundantly clear about the status of the working environment. Will the job be fully remote, or a hybrid role?

The Interview

First and foremost, anyone conducting the interview and attending it will need to have access to the appropriate tech to do so. It’s also key to ask questions about a candidate’s skills (as discussed above) in regards to being able to work remotely effectively. 

Communication

A vital skill when it comes to remote working teams. Interviewers need to provide clarity and transparency on the expectations of the company, how a candidate will work as part of the team and what they can expect day to day comms to be like if they take the job.

Onboarding

From training programmes, to receiving work equipment, a company needs to nail the onboarding process to ensure a smooth transition and employees aren’t left confused or demotivated by lack of communication. 

Start Hiring Remote Workers Now

As workers continue to seek a greater work life balance by joining companies that offer the flexibility of remote working. Increasingly, we’re seeing organisations reap the benefits of remote working too. Including access to a wider talent pool and cost savings attached to hiring remote workers. 

Hiring remote workers can seem confusing, but it doesn’t have to be. Here at Propel, we’ve got extensive experience in recruiting remote workers for businesses of all shapes and sizes long before the pandemic, as we did for Catchpoint. We understand people, we understand the needs of our clients and it’s our mission to pair businesses with the right people in order to maximise their potential. We hope this guide to hiring remote workers has been useful to you as you look to hire a remote workforce. Please get in touch with the team here at Propel for any questions or further information on how we can help recruit the right remote workers for your business.

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