How to Attract, Engage and Retain Employees when Working Remotely

As England steps out of the second COVID-19 lockdown of 2020, and we hear the announcement of the approved Pfizer vaccine, we stop to look at what this could mean for the future of remote working. Despite some employees returning to the office, we know that many teams will continue to operate 100% remotely until the virus is controlled, and others have embraced a hybrid approach to remote working as a result of the lockdown too. Whichever category your organisation falls in to, being prepared to manage your employer brand in a fully remote setting is a wise precaution to take, so we have outlined a few ways you can do this to attract, engage and retain employees for your organisation.

Attract employees when working remotely

Re-evaluate your employer brand for a remote culture

The employer brand that existed in 2019 is likely to look identical today, so before you start to attract new candidates to your organisation you will want to consider exactly what your proposition is. This is particularly true of organisations who did not offer remote working pre-pandemic. Consider how your company culture may have shifted or evolved when you moved to a remote set-up and consider the employer brand architecture and existing content you have too. You may look to update your careers website, social channels, and employer brand imagery to reflect the shift to working remotely!

Embrace employee generated content

If you are looking to update the content you are using to showcase your employer brand when your team is working remotely then employee generated content is by far the most efficient and cost-effective way that you can do this. It might not look as perfect and polished as the content you are used to, but it will certainly showcase your remote set-up and potentially be more relatable and authentic for candidates too. You could ask employees to take images / video shots of parts of their remote working set up (e.g. new “commute”, home office set-up, working alongside pets) or even showcase ways you are staying connected while working remotely (e.g. sending employees gifts / incentives in the post, connecting with colleagues digitally etc.). You may even find that this approach to content creation gives you a more rounded view of your organisation, as you will be able to collate insights from every department as opposed to just those within the marketing / HR team!

Target content to potential candidates

If you are looking to attract candidates, then a robust campaign can help you get your employer brand (using your nee remote relevant content) in front of the right people. You can target adverts to be seen by people with certain job titles / skills / interests / locations and create engaging images and videos to grab their attention. If you are looking for an employee to join you remotely, then you also have the opportunity to cast the net a bit wider than usual when it comes to attracting talent! If you are recruiting for a role that is usually difficult to fill, you can use tools such as LinkedIn’s Talent Insights to identify locations where there are higher numbers of candidates and lower numbers of job openings, and increase your chances of securing that all important hire. If you’d like to explore hiring insights for a remote role then please reach out to us at [email protected] / 01244 739 350.

Engaging candidates and employees when working remotely

Create an informative and interactive candidate platform

When creating campaigns to attract candidates, you will want to ensure you are pointing any traffic towards a platform that is engaging, informative and interactive. This is particularly important for campaigns using paid social or aimed at attracting hard to find candidates! The last thing you want to do is hook them in with a piece of content only for them to abandon the application process when they land on your website! Ideally you would drive candidates towards a careers site that is tailored to the specific demographic of candidate you are trying to engage. This should be populated with relevant information, your job adverts, a list of your employee perks, content, testimonials, and a clear call to action too. It also goes without saying that this platform should be optimised 100% for mobile, as the majority of candidates search and apply for jobs this way.

Use technology to collaborate with colleagues

To fully engage candidates you will need to deliver a winning candidate experience, something that can be a challenge when your employees are working remotely. In the office it’s easy to catch up with colleagues for feedback, conduct interviews with multiple hiring managers and stay on top of recruitment, but things can easily slip when employees are working apart. Luckily technology is here to bridge the gap and ensure your candidate experience doesn’t suffer! A cloud based applicant tracking system will allow multiple team members to review CV’s, add notes, share feedback and schedule interviews without duplicating actions or missing any key steps. If you haven’t got an existing ATS and would like to know more about the JobHoller ATS then please get in touch.

Activate employee advocacy

One way to increase candidate engagement whilst simultaneously increasing employee engagement is to activate an employee advocacy programme. If you are asking employees to share their own content to showcase the new remote culture, then you can also encourage them to share this to their own networks too. You can track what’s being shared by asking employees to use a shared hashtag such as #LifeatCompanyName or #CompanyNameRemoteLife. Employee advocacy can get your company and employer brand noticed by more people, and it often builds a better sense of trust for candidates than branded content alone!

Retaining employees when working remotely

Regular and personalised communication

Separation from employees can lead to less frequent contact, and therefore a developing feeling of disconnect and uncertainty can occur with the team. When you’re in the office, managers and leaders will naturally have unstructured interactions with employees (in our office this is the all-important “what’s for tea?” discussion). It sounds frivolous but these interactions are crucial to keeping your team connected. Remote teams that fail to keep up an unstructured flow of communication can fall victim of employees disengaging, and even notice increased anxiety from employees who feel they aren’t being “kept in the loop” with important company updates.

Encourage feedback and listen to your people

To avoid feelings of concern or uncertainty leading to retention problems, we advise you invite your remote teams to leave feedback (ideally anonymously) so that you can face any potential issues head on. This could be through a company employee engagement survey, digital feedback portal or through a safe resource such as a HR catch up. If you notice any worrying comments, or trends in employee feedback you should look to take action and identify ways to rectify this before your employees jump ship. For example, if employees report feeling “burnt out” from working remotely (something that has been highlighted when companies move to remote working and find their employees suffering from ePresenteeism), then offer solutions to rectify this.

Enhance the WFH set-up

This one was a real winner for us when we moved to remote working during lockdown! Recreating the office environment by supplying employees with desks, supportive office chairs, multiple screens and all the relevant systems to be able to work comfortably from home makes a real difference! We noticed that productivity and engagement increased when employees had a better WFH set up than when we first went remote with only our Microsoft Surface Pro and remote access!If you are interested in learning how you can attract, engage and retain talent while working remotely, then feel free to give one of our employer brand experts a call on 01244 739 350 today!

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