Most staffing firms are facing an unexpected challenge as they move into the second quarter: with social distancing mandates and the spread of COVID-19, teams are suddenly working remotely.
Staffing is a people business — it thrives on the kind of spontaneous connections that come from sharing an office together. How do you preserve your culture when your recruiters can’t have impromptu chats around the coffee pot about client needs and candidate challenges? How do you help recruiters hit their numbers when they’re faced with new distractions, not just Facebook and breaking news alerts, but dogs climbing on your desk and toddlers refusing to nap?
Here are some tips to thrive in with a remote recruiting team.
Having your team working remotely is a good chance to model the kind of constant communication you expect your recruiters to have with candidates. Your team has a lot to adjust to moving remote — from increased family distractions to fewer in-person interaction. So they need to hear from the leadership team often. It helps to mix up the way you reach out, too, just like when you’re getting in touch with candidates.
- If your team doesn’t already use Slack, it’s invaluable for keeping teams on the same page. It’s faster and more collaborative than email and creates constant transparency across teams.
- Consider creating a weekly internal wins newsletter to catch your team up on the latest positive news from your firm.
- Schedule brief one-on-ones over Zoom to get some virtual face time and ensure none of your employees get lost in the shuffle.
Keep an eye on your team.
Let’s face it — no matter how much you communicate with your team, it’s going to be more difficult to spot and respond to problems in your recruiting process when your team is remote. Sometimes recruiters don’t spot challenges while they are happening — even in the best of circumstances. They may miss the fact that they’ve upset a candidate or lack insight into why talent has started ghosting them or working for other companies. Very quickly, these misses can have an impact on your brand — and on your bottom line.
- Monitor your recruiters’ performance in real-time with an experience and reputation management platform that keeps you on the pulse of candidate sentiment.
- Use automated review requests throughout the candidate lifecycle to get instant notification of recruiter challenges and poor candidate experiences so you can address them before they become problems.
- Promote and share positive feedback from candidates so that your audience knows that your team is still on their game even when they’re working remotely.
A big mistake a lot of companies make when they first move remote is attempting to copy the in-person experience too directly. You might think, “we’ve always had our weekly stand-up at 9 am on Wednesdays, so we’ll just move that meeting to a video conference.”
This might work, but perhaps the mornings are kid duty for a lot of your team or doing a round-robin with 25 people on Zoom ends up creating more disconnect. Maybe breaking the stand-up into smaller team check-ins throughout the week serves everyone better.
Not every in-person experience can be replicated remotely. The good news is, some times the virtual connection provides a more effective alternative.
Here are some ideas that might help you think outside the box:
- Consider a project management tool like Asana or Monday to encourage collaboration, increase accountability, and keep everyone on track.
- Use Loom to create quick tutorials and easily share knowledge when you can’t sit side-by-side at the same screen.
- Adopt like House Party to create virtual happy hours where your team can play games together, ask each other questions, and build camaraderie at the end of the day.
Get your head in the cloud.
Many staffing firms still have their essential documents and mission-critical information stored on a local server — so shifting to remote work suddenly presents a bit of a challenge. Though moving completely to the cloud may not be possible right now, getting your team to look towards the cloud as much as possible will allow your firm to be more agile.
- Google Drive is a cloud-based hard drive of sorts that presents a very low barrier to entry — you could have your team start saving files on it today.
- Google Docs and Google Sheets are easy, agile alternatives to Microsoft Word and Excel that instantly save all work and will allow your team to collaborate on documents.
- Consider VOIP services to move your phone service into the cloud as well. Some services will integrate with your CRM so you can log phone outreach alongside email and text touches, too.
Encourage work-life balance.
You want your team to work hard — but not to burn out. When working remotely, it’s even easier to be always on. In stressful times, it’s important to unplug, but a tenacious team will do best with some work-life balance guidance from leadership
- Establish offline hours on Slack, email, and other messaging platforms — model this by going dark on evenings and weekends.
- Encourage your team to create home offices. Having a dedicated space will make it easier for them to log on and off. You can even support this by providing laptop stands, desk chairs, and other home office essentials.
- Support flexible hours. When working remotely, a 9-5 might not be the only model that makes sense. Talk to your employees about what works best for them.
Remind your team they’re not alone.
We’re working in an unprecedented time. It’s scary in a lot of ways, but it’s also an opportunity to strengthen your community. Everyone — recruiters, candidates, clients — are impacted by the same events. Your candidates are likely going through some of the very same challenges that your team is facing — suddenly working remotely, facing an uncertain future, worried about their health and the wellbeing of their family and friends.
Now more than ever it’s important to build connections, not transactions.
- Encourage your team to keep these touchpoints of common experience front and foremost in all their recruiting activities.
- Coach your team to acknowledge the strange times we’re in and to ask candidates how they are doing.
- Invite your team to report not just on their goals but on how they’re faring in this new reality — and join in. This will model an openness that will help your team create connections with candidates, too.
There you have it — our tips for setting your remote recruiting team up for success. Want more tips for leading a stellar recruiting team? Check out our article on 7 Actionable Tips to Improve Your Recruiters’ Performance.