Isn’t it strange how suddenly during the Coronavirus, we don’t hear so many negative comments about flexible working?
Often a topic of great contention, flexible working has divided opinion. Some organisations and managers embrace it while others are loath to giving their staff too much free rein. I wonder what the naysayers are now thinking at a time when most people are working from home and can’t be monitored.
I’ve always been a proponent of flexible working. Clearly, as the word ‘flexible’ implies, this involves a certain give and take on the part of the company and employee. Like with most things, you have to strike a balance, but overall, the evidence is overwhelming in favour of flexibility, particularly the benefits for work-life balance.
Some managers will often play the trust card. Working from home is a recipe for slacking and skiving, they say, and productivity is bound to fall. But as Professor Adam Grant reminded me on Twitter recently, if you lack trust then what does that say about your hiring judgement and motivational skills? Could it be that you’re projecting your own work habits onto your team?
Up close and personal
While it’s certainly not an ideal time for recruiters, used to as we are to meeting face to face with clients and candidates, remote hiring can also be particularly effective. Think about onboarding and assessment. For those companies having to recruit during these contactless times, creating an engaging and interactive candidate experience is vital. Thanks to cloud based software and ethical use of AI, companies can make smart hiring decisions while showcasing their employer brand and culture.
Employers and hiring managers can also take advantage of video technology to view a candidate’s CV. Not only is this cost and time effective, it’s an efficient way to evaluate different facets of a candidate’s competencies, not least their personality, attitude, enthusiasm and communication skills. If hiring for a role that requires languages, that ticks the box too in helping to shortlist suitable candidates.
The moral of the story is that just because we’ve now moved to a new norm of remote working and hiring, the human touch element doesn’t just disappear. In fact, it makes us all more aware of how much we need to focus on personal relationships and interacting with people in an empathetic way.
If we’re to compete for the best talent, then we need to adapt to this virtual new world of recruitment and working.