From the blog

The Six Cs: How to manage your remote recruitment team effectively

May 15, 2020 4:49 pm by
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So, you’ve been thrust into an unexpected work from home situation. (Or WFH, as the cool kids are abbreviating it…)

Your recruitment team is suddenly working remotely, having to find new ways to be productive together. And they’re facing all-new challenges – probably the biggest they’ve ever faced in their careers (hopefully the biggest they’ll ever face).

Your recruiters are under pressure from all angles:

  • To deliver high-quality candidates without meeting them in-person, to protect the business long-term from costly hiring decisions.
  • To onboard effectively so new hires hit the ground running – either remotely, or when nobody on the ground has time to hand-hold newbies.
  • To protect your employer brand by delivering a positive candidate (and employee) experience, despite normal processes being in upheaval.
  • To bring their game face, being positive, proactive and productive even when they’re facing personal turmoil and anxiety.
  • To help candidates handle uncertainty and stress, so video interviewees can do themselves justice (so your recruiters can make accurate hiring decisions)

Meanwhile, HR Magazine find only 61% of employees say they’re as productive as normal right now. And only 54% say they’re motivated to do their best job.

COVID-19 is the perfect storm for plummeting morale, engagement and productivity amongst your team – which translate into missed targets and poor performance for the business.

And then there’s you – tasked with steering the ship, navigating these stormy waters and keeping the crew together.

Here are the six C’s – the principles that matter most when managing your remote recruitment team.

Let’s go, Cap’n.

Compassion

First and most important. These aren’t normal times. Your team probably isn’t used to remote recruitment, and certainly not used to doing so while there’s a global pandemic going on.

It’s likely that sometimes they’ll underperform. Sometimes they’ll overreact. Sometimes they’ll snap. Sometimes they’ll forget things.

Nobody’s themselves right now.

Treat your team with compassion. Encourage them to treat one another with compassion. And treat yourself with compassion too. You’re doing your best in all this. Don’t beat yourself up.

Communication

Communication is more important than ever right now. But HR Magazine say many employers are falling short:

  • 25% of employees said they’d feel less anxious if you communicated more about HR issues like part-time employment and unpaid leave.
  • 23% of employees said they’d feel less anxious if you communicated more about the wellbeing of colleagues.
  • 23% of employees said they’d feel less anxious if you communicated more about company performance and business plans as the pandemic unfolds.

Perhaps you’ve got less time than normal, or you feel overwhelmed by uncertainty yourself. But communicating more often, more consistently with your team is crucial – even if you’re just being a compassionate ear.

  • Give your team easy access to the information they might need, like HR info and mental health support. Don’t make them come to you – delivering this stuff proactively shows you’re empathetic and considerate.
  • Make time for more frequent one-to-ones. Even before all this, 46% of remote workers said their best managers held frequent, regular check-ins. Add the current crisis and you’d do well to hold short one-to-ones at least weekly.
  • Don’t shy away from uncertainty. Your team want to feel acknowledged and understood, even if you don’t have solutions. They want to trust you’ll hear them and remember what’s important when higher-up conversations happen.

Conflict resolution

A few years ago, Harvard Business Review studied the challenges remote workers face compared to office-based employees. They found conflict resolution was a major issue for remote workers, who find it harder to resolve common workplace challenges.

  • 84% of remote workers admitted common conflicts dragged on for at least a few days – and 47% said it’d be weeks or more before they found resolution.

The problem is, unresolved conflicts can easily spiral – damaging engagement, morale and productivity across the team. And right now, there’s more scope than usual for conflict-causing mix-ups and miscommunications. Add the pressure-cooker situation, and seemingly minor moments can fast become big problems.

Like… you told Kacey that it was fine for her to finish early on Tuesday. But you forgot and booked a catch-up that only Jack and Lorrie could dial into. 

Lorrie’s peeved because she could have used the early finish too, and feels Kacey isn’t pulling her weight. And when Jack mentions the catch-up to Kacey on Wednesday, Kacey feels intentionally excluded.

This article’s great for a deep-dive into conflict resolution in remote teams – but here are a few summary pointers:

  • Identify sources of conflict, so you can take proactive steps to prevent them in the future. Prevention’s the best cure.
  • Spot the signs of conflict, so you can resolve fast. For instance, is Kacey suddenly responding to Lorrie with terse one-word answers when she was always an emoji girl?
  • Remind your team to cut each other some slack. But equally, don’t let them brush issues under the carpet. Encourage them to talk to you openly – and you can escalate if needed.
  • Define the process for resolving conflict. Don’t fly by the seat of your pants; define how you’ll handle disagreements for positive resolution. If team members trust they’ll be heard, that goes a long way to resolving issues.

Clarity

The sudden shift to remote working has introduced new uncertainties. Your team probably aren’t sure what you expect of them; aren’t sure what this new model of work is meant to look like.

Ease anxiety and pre-empt performance issues by clearly defining new boundaries, goals and expectations. For instance:

  • Will you still hold team meetings on Monday mornings?
  • Is there a dress code for virtual meetings?
  • Can Katie still leave ‘the office’ early on Thursday and Friday?
  • When do you expect the team to be online – and offline?
  • How will your time-to-hire targets change with remote interviewing?
  • How have team priorities changed – and project roles?
  • When do you expect progress updates and in what form?
  • What’s the process for team collaboration?
  • How quickly do you expect team members to reply to email?
  • How have deadlines changed to reflect working from home?
  • What projects are coming up and who’ll be involved?

Managing your remote recruitment team effectively means making sure everyone’s on the same page, with complete clarity about who’s doing what, when.

Camaraderie

You don’t realise until you work remotely how much casual daily interaction you lose.

It’s not just about collaborating on projects. It’s about bumping into one another in the kitchen; having a chat while the kettle brews; stopping by someone’s desk for a chat; team banter about an atrocious CV.

Those casual interactions are crucial to maintaining the culture, health and sanity of your team. They’re the glue.

Without them, your team can quickly start to feel disconnected and disengaged. Productivity will likely suffer, as will engagement and morale. And long-term, this cultural erosion can be hard to repair.

Maintain the cultural cohesion of your remote recruitment team by actively scheduling time for social connection. Think… virtual team coffee breaks; virtual Friday drinks; lunchtime exercise videos or yoga.

You don’t want work from home to be all about work. The office certainly isn’t. Communications tools like Slack can be a lifesaver but even if you’re just using email – create a culture of sharing silly minutiae, funny links, jokes, interesting articles, etc.

Capability

Even if morale’s high, engagement’s high and motivation’s high, your people can’t be productive if they don’t have the right tools to do their jobs remotely.

That might mean major, obvious things – like video interview software (we’re giving all recruiters three months free with no contract, by the way) – but it’s smaller things too.

(We recently shared a laundry list of requirements for recruitment software that’ll help remote recruitment teams right now – check it out here, if you’re weighing up tech options).

Like, perhaps your team need to use their mobiles to make calls. Small thing, right?

  • But what’s their voicemail message? They might be calling hundreds of people each day – a personal voicemail doesn’t give a consistent, professional impression of your brand.
  • And do their email signatures and social media profiles share their new number, or still point at your office landlines?
  • And who’s paying? If money’s already tight, employees might hold off on making calls because they’re worried about the phone bill. And resent you for asking.

Don’t make assumptions. Chat to everyone in your team one-to-one to understand their set-up and identify any areas the business could help boost their work-from-home capabilities.

Ask questions like:

  • Do they have a quiet desk/table to work at?
  • Do they have an ergonomic chair?
  • Do they have a printer, if they need one?
  • Is their laptop/screen set-up optimised as they need it?
  • Can they access LinkedIn Recruiter from home?
  • Do they have a headset for Zoom/calls?
  • Can they log-into your recruitment software easily?
  • Is their internet speed good enough for live video interviews?
  • Does their computer support Excel/Word/any tools you use?
  • How can they interact with their colleagues?
  • What are their biggest process bug-bears working from home?
  • Is there any particular tool that would make their lives easier?

Managing a remote recruitment team isn’t easy at the best of times. It’s especially not easy right now, when work-from-home has been sprung on you without much warning. These six Cs will steer you right, to keep morale, engagement and productivity high. 

Tribepad provide award-winning recruitment software that’s used by 20-million people across the world. Book a short exploratory call or a demo here. 

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