How technology-powered psychology is the key to overcoming the remote recruiting challenge
Living the remote life
When the coronavirus hit, little did we know to what extent it would impact our lives, nor for how long. Yes, everything we do today is different. But the thing is – it will likely stay like this, at least in part, for a long long time to come.
And by “like this” we mean – online, virtual, and remote.
The great migration home
One of the most profoundly impacted domains is the world of work. By the beginning of April 2020, 88% of organizations worldwide had encouraged or required a work-from-home policy.
And this new world of remote work is not going to go away even after we get a vaccine. Gartner has stated that 74% of companies surveyed are planning to permanently shift to more remote work post-Covid.
Though, with all this massive global mobilization of the workforce out of the office and into the home, it is important to note that Covid didn’t create this ‘monster.’
No, this is a trend (with many benefits) that has been taking hold over the past few years. The pace may have been steady, and clearly slower, but it was absolutely there.
“For employees, benefits include saving on commute and more flexibility when it comes to work-life balance. For employers, the pluses are establishment cost-saving and enhanced productivity.” (economictimes.com)
In fact, it has been noted that there was a 44% increase in remote work over the past five years (pre-pandemic).
There are some pretty powerful forces that have come together to propel this increase. Namely, on the one hand we have the availability of advanced technologies to enable the connectivity and productivity that drives remote work.
On the other hand, we also have Gen Y and Gen Z coming into the labor force with a new perspective on the question of the work-life balance, demanding more flex-time from employers to accommodate a more rewarding personal life and greater opportunities for self-development outside of the traditional office ‘box.’
And, when we consider the many benefits of being able to work from home, this shift to the new work model is no surprise. For example, 80% of remote workers report experiencing less stress on the job, and 65% report being more productive.
Of the 25,000 people that IBM polled in the US recently, it was found that 75% want employers to allow them to continue to work remotely at least some of the time, and nearly half prefer to work remotely post-pandemic.
Furthermore, for employers, the remote model offers benefits as well, including reduced costs from unneeded office real estate, a much smaller vehicle fleet, and fewer expensive business trips, enabled by cloud-enabled video conferencing.
The remote work challenge
But with all the opportunity for a more satisfying employee experience and more streamlined business operations, the lighting-speed acceleration to the remote work model has presented organizations with multiple challenges, including:
- Ensuring efficiency and productivity
- Ensuring the reliability of business systems, IT infrastructures, and connectivity
- Nurturing the company culture and values
- Effective one-on-one, cross-team, and cross-organizational communications
- Sustaining learning and development engagement
- The efficient finding and recruiting of candidates who are the best match for the organization
Meeting and even overcoming these challenges rests upon two strategic pillars – mindset and technology.
First pillar for success: the remote mindset
First and foremost – employers must shift their mindset to be remote-first. This means that new processes, procedures, and rules-of-engagement need to be defined, created, and executed to accommodate for the fact that the in-person employee experience, and all the human-centric benefits that it brings, can no longer be relied upon.
Remote is different and must be treated differently. It critical for leaders to be proactive in ensuring that the sense of alienation is reduced and that the employee experience, while mostly virtual, is still personal, intimate, and compelling. This is the key to employee engagement which is mandatory for productivity and performance excellence – all of which also deliver a strategic contribution to the organization’s top and bottom line.
Second pillar for success: technology
The second pillar is technology – which is the great enabler for organizations across just about any front- and back-office domain.
For remote work, advances in big data, analytics, and machine learning enable organizations to collect and access productivity data from both in-office and remote staff and tie this to performance results. This way they can evaluate the viability and profitability of the different working models, including remote work.
Hiring from any zip code ain’t easy
When it comes to one of the key challenges of remote work noted above, i.e. remote recruitment and improving the quality of remote hires, it’s a little more complicated.
You can’t just rely on bringing together technology and the remote mindset. In fact, you need to completely restructure processes and realign your recruiting strategy in order to achieve these goals and help drive growth.
Remote hiring often allows you to cast a net as wide as the globe itself. And while this sounds like a great opportunity to access talent you may not have dreamed of being able to reach in the past, the upside must be balanced by the ability to make sure that you don’t pick up on all the millions of potential candidates that populate this world.
Ok, maybe that’s stretching it a bit . . . maybe not millions. But you get the point. When you’re not bound to recruiting from your own zip code, clearly the number of potential candidates will skyrocket and managing all those applications may very well become prohibitively overwhelming.
So hiring organizations need to make sure that they find a way to sift through all this effortlessly and whittle that infinite list down into one that is manageable and actionable by turning it into a carefully curated list of the best candidates only.
Do they have what it takes?
Another challenge is finding a way to determine not only whether candidates have the requisite technical skills, but whether they also have what it takes to thrive in a remote work model – which is not for everyone.
- Do they know how to regulate their day? (i.e. do they have superlative time management skills)
- Do they know how to ask for help when they need it? (you can’t rely on picking up on it when they pass you in the hallway)
- Are they proactive communicators?
- Do they have the right moral compass that you can rely on and which serves as the basis for the ethical decision making that aligns with your company’s values?
It’s not as straightforward as it seems to get reliable answers to these questions.
Are they ready to step up?
Another set of questions that are even more difficult to broach are the ones that are not focused on the logistics and the practical components of the equation.
It is also critical to determine how well this person is matched for the manager, the team, and the company:
- Are they prepared to put in a great deal of effort to help the company succeed?
- Do they step up with will and commitment when a teammate asks for help?
- Are their values aligned with the company’s values?
- When expectations are not clear do they ask for clarification?
- Do they feel confident enough to freely share ideas and thoughts with managers?
- What degree of freedom do they need for choosing how they work?
The answers to these questions will be very instructive for understanding whether a candidate is the best match for your needs.
Without having access to such insights prior to signing the contract, the hiring manager cannot truly know whether this individual really is the best match – by being best suited to the technical requirements of the job, for being best aligned with your company’s culture and values, and for being best suited to remote work specifically with you and for the long run.
The role of technology-powered psychology
“Artificial intelligence (AI) in talent acquisition is on the rise in the Hype Cycle, and the potential benefit is high.” (Gartner)
This is where technology, specifically machine learning (a subset of artificial intelligence) and psychology expertise come into play. But not as two separate domains, rather – as one powerful unified force.
Machine learning delivers a lot of intelligence
When it comes to machine learning, this advanced technology is no stranger to the world of recruiting. According to Gartner one of the top trends in human capital management is the use of artificial intelligence AI (which includes machine learning) and analytics in talent acquisition.
According to the firm’s research, demand among organization is growing for leveraging AI and predictive analytics to improve time-to-hire and quality-of-hire.
For, just as business intelligence (BI) technology enables organization to capture, extract, and analyze relevant data to gain key insights on the business, so can AI and machine learning support recruiting teams to extract insights on the talent pool to improve decisioning, quality of hire, and retention rates.
With machine learning organizations can quickly and automatically aggregate and analyze masses of candidate related data to arrive at the ever-sought-after curated list of premier finalists without all the manual work and headaches.
Why psychology expertise is so important
But it’s not just any old AI that would do. This is because AI, or specifically – machine learning, needs to be applied to data that isn’t exclusively focused on demographics and technology-centric inputs.
Rather, it must also take into consideration the psychological aspects of the candidate’s character if the organization is to be confident that it is bringing on board an individual who is aligned with the company’s culture and values, has the character that is suited for remote work in the long term, and – of course – has the skillset and knowhow to outperform expectations.
Furthermore, psychology is also about promoting the remote employee’s wellbeing, reducing their sense of isolation, and optimally designing their remote work environment so they can be proactive in their engagements and work and maximize their own potential.
How Flatworld can help
We know what it’s like to search for the best remote talent ‘needle’ in the ‘haystack’ of endless candidates. We’ve been there. We know how hard it can be.
This is why we founded Flatworld – to make this impossible task a thing of the past and to make the matching process seamless, fast, easy, and spot-on.
We bring extensive domain expertise in the psychology of candidates, remote work, and organizations, and put it together with stringent technical vetting, and a killer AI algorithm that we developed for automating and accelerating the finding of the best match for you and your company.
To learn more how you can leverage our optimized matching for finding your best match, we invite you to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.