How to win the war for talent in a remote working environment

Pubished 27th May 2021

Originally posted on Business Leader, written by InterQuest Group Chairman, Gary Ashworth.

It’s a strange new world we’re living in, and we need new talent to help us manage it. But how do leaders attract and retain the best of them, especially remotely in this post-COVID economy?

How do we look after our new staff when most of them haven’t met the person who hired them, or their colleagues, except through a computer image smaller than a beer mat? In many cases, they’ve not even been to the offices where they’re meant to work!

How can staff feel a sense of belonging without sharing a joke at the water cooler, comparing TV shows or basking in the misery of England’s latest failure on the football pitch?

It’s the art of subtlety, not staff handbooks, that glue the best workforces together, but there is little subtlety in the virtual world. Zoom calls are blunt instruments.

Everything needs to be amplified, spelt out and double checked. We need to really listen for any weak signals or reservations from people we’re interviewing or staff we’re appraising.

So, what can you do to hire the best people?

1. Spread your net wide

Implement a proper campaign that includes a combination of internal referral rewards, in-house talent attraction plans plus external recruitment help for key roles.

2. Branding

The precise look and feel of the recruitment page on your website should be different from your external corporate message.

3. Testimonials

Case studies from happy recent hires should be easily discoverable when candidates are checking you out online.

4. Process

The entire recruitment process and timetable from initial contact to onboarding needs to be clear and straightforward.

5. Grow them yourself

Consider implementing a coaching program to develop your own juniors into roles with current skills gaps. Staff are likely to give their best years to the people who train them.

And how can you keep them?

1. Build three-way relationships

Find ways of involving their colleagues too and foster a culture of belonging. It’s not just about you and them.

2. Keep it fun

Combat low morale and isolation by encouraging collaboration.

3. Amp up the rewards

Pay, benefits and career progression need to be emphasized more regularly.

4. Tell people everything twice

Confirm things in writing as well as talking over a call.

5. Resolve disputes quickly

Things will things fester if not tackled early. Resentment grows faster than the weeds in your garden.

Organizations must accept that the hiring market is one that is very different to anything they will have experienced before. The war for talent is fierce, your hiring strategy must adapt to fit today’s requirements, or you’ll simply fall behind.