TVN’S FRONT OFFICE BY MARY COLLINS
Adding employees while you are working remotely, and hiring for remote-work positions are something of two sides of the same coin: as the hiring manager, you need to virtually present your company as a great place to work, either to prospective employees who may soon return to the office, or to new hires who may work remotely. Here are some tips for both situations.
By Mary Collins | April 30, 2021 | 5:30 a.m. ET.
As the country slowly returns to some semblance of “normal,” human resources and hiring managers are under increased pressure to continue to hire employees even while the managers themselves have been working remotely. At the same time, more companies are considering either an all-remote workforce or are increasing their remote work options. A number of companies have developed best practices for these two hiring scenarios, the first of which is described in Laurie Kahn’s “Remote Hiring” article in the March/April issue of MFM’s member publication, The Financial Manager. Kahn is president of Media Staffing Network; her expertise in this area shines throughout the article.
Showcasing The Company In A Work-From-Home World
How do you show off your company’s workspaces when recruiting prospective employees who cannot come to the office for interviews? Even if you could, it’s not the vibrant place it was pre-pandemic. This is where, as Kahn explains, some creativity goes a long way. The first and most obvious place to start is with your company’s website. It provides the first impression and tells potential hires why your organization is a great place to work. Specifically, you should make sure your “About” page stands out, complete with your company’s history, mission/vision statements, community contributions and attention received by local and national press.
Prospective workers will surely visit your company’s “Careers” page to see open positions, what its values and culture look like, and some of the benefits the organization offers. The site can even showcase creative ways the company handled the pandemic, such as hosting virtual events. This is where things can become highly competitive, so know that recruits may be looking for assurance of staff diversity, an energetic and interesting culture, and other proof your company is a great place to work.
Be aware that potential employees, if they’re smart, will do their own research, typically checking out your company’s social media presence and personality as conveyed via LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. There they will develop opinions about how the company presents itself to the outside world. They may also go to sites such as Glassdoor to read reviews of workplaces and to get a sense of salary ranges. Kahn recommends making sure any negative comments about your company are countered by positive reviews from currently happy employees.
A video is an effective way of demonstrating what it’s like to work for your organization, Kahn says. In it, you can take would-be employees on a tour of the office — from the overall layout, to offices and work stations, small meeting areas, conference and break rooms, and even outdoor spaces available to the team. You might even include some employee testimonials in your video, provided they’re accurate and genuine.
You will probably start the virtual hiring process via a video platform, where your prospects can meet you and/or to the person to whom they will report, as well as future colleagues. Kahn recommends employers look into online assessment tools to evaluate candidates’ skills and make objective hiring decisions. She says it’s particularly important when you cannot meet in person.
Also consider inviting them to join a virtual team meeting so they can get a sense of how meetings are run and how their potential colleagues interact. For positions that require meeting with clients and others in social situations, Kahn suggests a virtual event, such as a small team lunch, where you have food delivered to participants’ homes and can observe the candidate’s behavior in a social setting.
Most important, Kahn says, is your ability to convey ways in which you or the candidate’s direct manager will help them be successful. Start with making sure your own LinkedIn profile is up to date and reflects your management style. You should let prospects know how you’ll train and support them — balanced with realistic expectations for their performance. Tell them about the services or tools you use and any consultants who work with the company to support employees.
Finding Remote Employees
I find Kahn’s advice incredibly well thought-out and useful. What she didn’t have space to address in her column was how to find employees to work remotely, either on a temporary or permanent basis. I’ve done some research to supplement her recommendations.
Let’s start with some statistics, which are available from a wide variety of sources, including Upwork, Global Workplace Analytics, Owl Labs, Citrix and numerous polls and surveys. All of these make a strong case for work from home (WFH). By 2028, 73% of all departments will have remote workers. Currently 56% of employees have a job where at least some of what they do could be done remotely. Additionally, 25% of workers say they would take a pay cut of up to 10% in exchange for the option to work remotely at least some of the time, and 35% of employees would change jobs for the opportunity to work remotely full time. Millennials universally prize WFH as a major employee benefit.
It’s clear that working remotely is increasing in popularity. For companies, hiring remote employees can allow the organization to bring in skills that are scarce in its location. In turn, remote work benefits employees by offering the option to pursue the job they really want, without the need to relocate, as well as the potential for a more flexible schedule. That said, attracting and retaining remote workers brings its own set of challenges. When employees live remote from your company, they will learn about it by what you share digitally.
First, you should select the best places to advertise your remote jobs, if you aren’t using an outside recruiter. Similar to hiring regular employees during the pandemic when your office is closed, you’ll need to be able to present your company, its employees and its culture virtually. Your social media presence will have particular impact and meaning to them. Their ability to hear/see employee testimonials could make the difference between their accepting the job or not.
And while more and more people want to work remotely, they won’t want to be left out of company culture. If your business offers employee offsite meetings each year, for example, that may be just enough face-to-face time to balance their desires.
A digital copy of the March/April 2021 issue of TFM, which includes Kahn’s article, is currently available on the MFM website. We will be moving it behind the members-only paywall in early April.
WFH will be covered in-depth during our June 15 conference keynote panel, which features four media executives who will discuss the longer-term changes the pandemic has shaped for the media in terms of on-site working, virtual work or a mix of the two. The panel will look at what departments are more conducive to permanent virtual work, how employee management has evolved to accommodate so much of the workforce in remote conditions, and what the past year has taught media organizations about post-pandemic efficiencies.
Then, on July 15, Gunnar Wiedenfels of Discovery Inc. will discuss how he led the organization following its acquisition of Scripps Networks Interactive, while maintaining a supportive company culture pre-pandemic — and then into the current cultural climate where the company had to address myriad issues, including social justice.
For anyone who hires, these two sessions are a must-see part of Media Finance Focus 2021 “Together Toward Tomorrow,” which begins as a virtual event on May 11. I look forward to examining these very timely and topical issues alongside our MFM/BCCA members in just a few weeks.
Mary M. Collins is president and CEO of the Media Financial Management Association and its BCCA subsidiary, the media industry’s credit association. She can be reached at [email protected] and via the association’s LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts.