Once the dust has settled, the Covid-19 outbreak may fundamentally shift everyone’s professional lives. Even before the pandemic, there was a rising demand for more flexibility in the workplace and now with its recent mass scale experimentation, remote work may become the new normal. If that is the case, HR will have to evolve ‘remotely’ and become essential to any small or large business’s continuity plan.
For those who haven’t followed the ‘remote work’ blog series, our team at Yunus Social Business consists of 50+ employees in over 20 countries, while our corporate Europe team is 100% remote. Not only do we not share an office but we also do not use email!
For this reason, we believe this a unique opportunity to share our experience of welcoming a great diversity in our workforce, creating a remote hiring process and defining a new way of working together!
Many of the benefits of breaking down geographical boundaries and going remote may be obvious (e.g., reduced operation costs). But money is not the only thing to be gained.
When you no longer have to limit your talent pool to a 45-minute commute, you suddenly open your talent search worldwide to a great diversity of resourceful profiles. You also can also make your hiring process more inclusive and accessible to employees from diverse backgrounds who can bring their top skills to the table.
No matter which city or office set up your employee is working from, we believe that having a strong company culture is all you need to create impact. This is why we have organized ourselves to have a researcher in Cambodia, a business developer in Paris, an impact accelerator lead in Berlin, a project executor in Sweden, an ambassador in Lisbon - and we even previously had an employee working for half the year in a van.
How to keep spirits up in a team meeting - theme ‘ FUN HAT’.
According to research from the International Workplace Group, in 2019 80% of job seekers choose a job with a flexible work from home policy over one that doesn’t offer the same benefit.
Why may that be the case? Individuals with flexible work conditions can not only manage their own time and capitalize on their ‘sweet spots’ of focus, but also save precious time and effort through avoiding commuting. These individuals report feeling more positive, productive and less stressed. Therefore, by fostering this environment you are not only retaining great talent and attracting a larger pool of top-tier employees but your workforce is feeling more relaxed whilst producing higher quality and increasing their output. What’s not to love?
Today, having a work-and-life-balance translates into happier employees. For example, research recently found that having a strong work-life balance rates higher on the happiness scale than a big paycheck. No wonder a Danish municipality has introduced the four day work week. What’s more, some of our employees at YSB use their flexibility to work part-time and often choose to engage in their local community/groups whilst remaining active employees. This allows them to spread impact and always bring fresh insights from different parts of the world to their work with YSB!
“According to research, employers that advertise a job as ‘remote’ see a 3000% increase in application rates.”
Recruitment doesn’t have to be a long and tiring process. Following a good framework, the process can be remote, repeatable and scalable.
For example at our corporate team at YSB, we search for profiles that align with our values (fun, integrity, bold and humility) as we believe that the ‘culture fit’ of each employee is of utmost importance. We then translate each of our values into tangible questions during the hiring process to evaluate our candidates on them.
For example, as one of the values is FUN, we always begin the conversation by asking them to share a fun story of their week, or ask them about a moment in their career that they enjoyed most.
Then as one of our values is INTEGRITY, we ask deeper questions on the lines of : “When have you last taken a tough decision in order to stay true to your own values? What did you have to sacrifice?”
To align on values of BOLD we ask : “After learning more about us, what would be your vision for YSB in 10 years from now?”
We also love to include a brief exercise to assess each participants’ problem-solving ability. For example: “We are thinking about investing in a plastic recycling social business in India that also allows waste pickers to escape poverty. How would you design the project? Which steps would you include?”
Despite being remote, we believe that getting together at least once a year for a retreat helps people to connect with each other in the best possible way.
Although questions around ‘skills’ are important in recruitment, we found that their overall suitableness to our working methods is even more crucial. Below are certain personality traits we try to focus on, as these are much harder to train and skill:
Going remote encourages managers to stay even more connected to their team and make a conscious effort for regular and timely communication as well as clarify roles, expectations and progress with all the employees.
The best thing managers can do is to put utmost trust and confidence in the team’s skill, accountability and work ethic. Your team will do the right thing, providing employers create a supporting structure and environment.
Some guiding questions to define trust and access:
We hope this blog post has got you excited about taking on your first remote team members and highlighted all the benefits that this type of work can have. It might require a few adjustments to your management style but “remote” is likely the future and getting ahead of the game will likely payoff. Are you ready?
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