September 23, 2020
Head of Geopolitics and International Relations, Siemens
Vice President and Editor-in-Chief, CO—
With the rise of remote work environments during the pandemic, businesses have experienced tremendous change in the way they recruit and manage employees. Leaders and hiring managers have developed some creative solutions to issues like hiring, ensuring employee productivity and promoting an inclusive company culture when their team is mostly or fully remote.
In a conversation with Jeanette Mulvey, CO— content director, human resources experts and small business owners talk about how they’re hiring and managing employees in a virtual world.
Businesses Are Taking Advantage of Remote Recruiting to Reach More Diverse Candidates
Many businesses have seen remote recruiting as an opportunity to examine their hiring biases and include more diverse candidates within their talent pools.
Kenny Nguyen, CEO and co-founder of ThreeSixtyEight, said his company’s hiring processes have changed significantly in 2020, not only due to the pandemic, but because of society’s increased focus on diversity and inclusion.
“The racial tension in America today has certainly shifted the lens of [our hiring process],” said Nguyen. “Not only do we have to hire virtually, [but] can we hire more and challenge our biases while hiring as well?”
Anna Greenwald, founder and CEO of On the Goga, said her company has focused on ensuring greater diversity among its remote job applicants.
“We're really doing all that we can to invite in a candidate pool that includes talented individuals from all underrepresented backgrounds,” she said.
Emotional Intelligence Is Key to Successful Leadership in Virtual Work Environments
Greenwald noted that managing remotely takes much higher levels of emotional intelligence and willingness to innovate systems. Managers must develop greater empathy and understanding of what is creating burnout for employees and how to connect their teams when they’re not all in the same space together.
"When leaders emphasize the importance of stress management — when they have the tools to help their teams engage in work-life balance, positive team dynamics [and] mindful communications — we see an increase in productivity, engagement, loyalty and innovation," Greenwald told CO—.
Company Culture is Being Redefined in the Remote Work Era
The days of in-person meetings and company retreats have been put on hold. Now, businesses are trying to find ways to create a strong company culture virtually.
“All those things that we thought we were going to do, tradition-wise, have completely changed, and this is a chance for us to re-look at and re re-evaluate [those traditions],” said Nguyen.
Nick Schacht, chief global development officer for the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), noted that adapting your company culture to the remote work era begins with understanding what kind of culture you want to create in your organization.
“I think you have to be consistent in terms of your expectations,” said Schacht. “That ... helps set the stage for what your employees can expect and should expect.”
Virtual Management Has Changed How Businesses Define Productivity
To measure productivity pre-pandemic, organizations may have watched for when employees entered the office to log in hours early or based upon their time spent in the office.
Successfully managing remote employees means a shift from time-based management to task-based management, said Greenwald. Instead of focusing on “presenteeism” — physically being at your workstation, even if you’re not necessarily productive — companies need to define their key performance indicators (KPIs) and organizational goals, and measure what success looks like for each role based on those metrics.
“By tracking the completion of tasks and project milestones, we can more accurately gauge productivity,” Greenwald said.
“We've been focused on how we design organizations based upon input processes,” he said.
From the Series