How to find the right work-from-home employees - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

How to find the right work-from-home employees

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Working from home is the new norm. Some of the world’s largest organizations have come to terms with having employees work remotely. Small businesses are no different. This is a sea change in the world of work. The current challenge is for businesses to find ways to optimize hiring, training, motivating, and retaining employees in this entirely new culture. Here are some ideas that can help.

Small businesses need workers

The US Small Business Administration (SBA), a government agency defines a small business as one that has less than 500 employees. The SBA extends support to small entrepreneurs through counseling, loans, and contracts. According to statistics maintained by the SBA, there are 30.7 million small businesses in America. Collectively they employ more than 47.5% of the country’s private sector workforce. Millions of foreign workers live and work in the US. Most of them send money online to support their families back home. Small businesses make up a vital portion of the US economy in terms of jobs as well as GDP contribution.

The recruitment mindset

Businesses must discard some of the traditional hiring methods in favor of techniques better suited to the new work culture. According to the job portal Indeed employers must be extremely clear about the skills they’re looking for. Will Bachman, management consultant and co-founder of Umbrex says, “Companies that are recruiting new talent during the pandemic will need to make some common-sense changes to standard procedures, such as using video conferencing tools for interviews.” The communication platform is hardly the biggest innovation in recruitment. Employers are prioritizing completely different traits in potential hires.

Qualities of a good work-from-home employee

Working from home involves less direct supervision. Managers can provide guidance and feedback less frequently. Employees must have the ability to work independently. David Bakke, a contributor to financial advice website MoneyCrashers opines, “Remote employees need to be organized and mature. They need to work well without a lot of supervision and they must be able to complete projects by assigned deadlines.”

Self-motivation is difficult to assess from someone’s resume. Employers must incorporate interview questions that probe into a prospective employee’s motivation. Questions such as, “What gets you going?” and “How do you motivate yourself?” can help employers get a better understanding of this key aspect.

The ability to prioritize is equally important. A remote worker must know how to schedule tasks effectively to manage deliverables. Another vital quality is effective in written communication. This can be assessed from the candidate’s emails, application, and CV. Matt Bentley, founder of SEO services website CanIRank says, “When hiring remote employees, the first trait I look for is strong communication skills. Without effective communication teams lose collaboration and efficiency.”

Digital literacy

Remote employees spend considerable amounts of time using computers and online collaboration tools. To be effective they require a minimum level of familiarity with technology. This does not mean that businesses must only hire IT graduates. Rather, employers should assess candidates for proficiency with commonly used tools and platforms. Brie Reynolds, Career Development Manager at FlexJobs points out that instant messaging, video and web conferencing, project collaboration, and document sharing tools are the most common. Depending on employers’ needs and the nature of work employees may also need proficiency with VPN, mail clients, online banking, spreadsheets, and so on.

Hiring fresh grads

Traditionally businesses have loved hiring recent graduates from the best institutions. This practice has its merits and demerits. Young graduates lack relevant experience, yet they often bring fresh ideas and innovations.

The internship has been the traditional vehicle for recruiting college grads. This year most internships have become virtual. Global consulting firm EY announced that more than half of their 15,000 internships would be in a virtual format. Trent Henry, EY Global Vice Chair – Talent said, “Interns will be assigned a peer counselor, as well as a reporting counselor who will both regularly check in on them.” Ecommerce giant Amazon will also provide virtual mentoring to interns through video conferencing. The post-COVID-19 interns are still to join the mainstream workforce. It remains to be seen how successful this virtual format will be.

In conclusion

Business is always evolving. Change is constant. The present situation is a reminder that businesses must be prepared for just about anything. Effective personnel are central to the success of any business. Hiring employees who work from home need not be a challenge; rather it can be an excellent opportunity. Recruitment is no longer bound by geographic limitations. Even smaller-scale employers can now hire the best resources from an endless global pool of talent.

About the author

Boris Dzhingarov graduated UNWE with a major in marketing. He is the founder of ESBO ltd a brand mentioning company. He is also passionate about meditation and healthy living. You can find articles on such topics at his spiritual blog Contact the author.

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