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5 Pro Tips for Quickly Pivoting to a Virtual Employee Onboarding Process

The new normal of living amidst the COVID-19 global pandemic is causing many employers to adopt new business processes…and to adopt them quite quickly.

For those organizations who are fortunate enough to continue hiring new employees, one of those business processes is to learn how to correctly onboard remote employees in a distributed workforce.

A hastily created employee onboarding process will put new hires at risk of feeling disconnected from their work and organization. On the other hand, a productive virtual employee onboarding program will forge a connection between the new teammate and the organization; thereby, positively contributing to employee satisfaction and the goals of the organization despite the uncertainty and hardship attributable to our current coronavirus reality.

Are you ready to pivot to a distributed workforce? Whether virtual employee onboarding is a brand new practice at your company, or you’re just looking for ways to fine tune employee onboarding for distributed workforces, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, I’ll discuss five best practices for quickly pivoting to a virtual employee onboarding process.

1 – Create a “remote-first” pre-boarding experience

With so much uncertainty on everyone’s mind, your new hire’s interactions with your organization in the days leading up to his start date shouldn’t further increase his anxiety. Make a toolkit of digital assets to share with a new teammate to make sure he feels adequately prepared and informed on day one. Here are some ideas:

  • Provide an organizational chart listing all employee names, titles and the hierarchy of the management structure. If you are a part of a very large organization, then a chart of the new employee’s department and/or division may be sufficient.
  • Create a task list or training schedule for the new hire’s first few days on the job. Create this in a shared document (e.g. Google Docs) that can be edited on-the-fly to include additional tasks as time progresses, as well as hyperlinked resource documents. With this approach, the employee can follow links to conduct further research to acquaint himself with your company and its organizational knowledge as his schedule permits.
  • Task relevant co-workers with creating video welcome messages to be shared with the new employee in the days leading up to the first day. We use a variety of tools at ExactHire (ranging from completely free to very affordable) such as video capture on our smartphones, and video applications like Soapbox, Vidyard and Camtasia.
  • Share a short, hyperlinked list of your company’s social media profiles with the new hire, as well as expectations about whether he is likely to be bombarded by social media invitation requests in his first week (as this can be a common way for remote workers to connect with one another).
  • Make it clear what equipment will be provided by the company (and by what date), and/or whether the new hire is responsible for bringing any of his own devices to his remote workstation. Ensure that all devices are accompanied by robust instructions on how to use and/or setup appropriate security protocols for effective work within the organization.

2 – Leverage the unique onboarding resources now available to your organization

While social distancing has caused many of us to approach the work setting in dramatically different ways, it has also led to the installation of a handful of new laws and limited regulations meant to help the American working population and employers cope with this crisis. Aside from new laws such as the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has also recently relaxed its normal requirements for Form I-9 compliance when hiring new employees. This change will help employees who have never hired remote workers to examine and temporarily approve employment eligibility documentation with confidence.

In particular, DHS has “[deferred] the physical presence requirements associated with Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) under Section 274A of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Employers with employees taking physical proximity precautions due to COVID-19 will not be required to review the employee’s identity and employment authorization documents in the employee’s physical presence.”

However, not all employers meet the criteria necessary for taking advantage of the option to initially virtually examine new hire documentation. In fact, only employers who have gone 100% remote for all employees may utilize this temporary flexibility in document examination. For more details on which organizations qualify and what documentation is necessary to participate, check out this recent Forbes article.

3 – Make a short list of near-term new hire expectations

To make this pivot toward remote onboarding manageable and relatively fast, focus on only the absolutely critical expectations that you need all new hires to know right from the start. In doing so, make sure you communicate that the current situation necessitates focusing on the “must-knows” initially, but that icing-on-the-cake knowledge and nurturing will be sure to follow as things calm down a bit.

Your new hire will appreciate your candor, and be more likely to establish trust in the organization early because it is helping to flesh out priorities to ensure the new hire’s success.

Here are some examples of employee expectations that may resonate with your team. Be sure to educate your new hire about each of the items below that may be important for his work.

  • Training prerequisites that must be completed before certain aspects of a job can be endeavored (e.g. safety, password security protocol)
  • Preferred methods for co-workers to communicate with each other (e.g. email, phone, Slack, text, video conference, project management tool comments)
  • Mission-critical reports and metrics that must be updated…and with what frequency

Remember that while your ability to equip your new employee with these essential bits of information can shorten his learning curve and improve outcomes, don’t forget that our normal isn’t so normal right now. In fact, it reminds me of an unidentified quote that my co-worker shared on our Slack channel today…one that very appropriately describes the current plight for many of America’s remote workers:

“You’re not working from home; you are at your home during a crisis trying to work.”

There’s a place for grace right now.

4 – Communicate your culture

While company culture can be somewhat nebulous to describe to others, as it is often something experienced for one’s self in-person, there’s no doubt that remote cultures exist, too.

However, it may take longer to assimilate remote workers to cultural norms if you don’t take strides to help them take seed early. Here are some ways to make your virtual culture more quickly tangible:

  • Facilitate video introductions between a new hire and fellow department members and other key co-workers. Make sure all teammates take a turn to introduce themselves, explain their respective roles, and offer suggestions on how they interface with the new employee in his job.
  • Recognize that your organization likely has a multitude of multimedia approaches for communication in different situations. Create a “cheat sheet” of common scenarios to give your new employees a head start:
    • Protocol for out of office messages
    • Appropriate channels for different types of Slack posts
    • Frequency for co-worker video meet-ups and the purpose of each (e.g. is this a project-related call or a virtual happy hour?)
    • General guidelines on how quickly to respond to different inquiries and requests (make sure to allow for time zone differences between co-workers)
    • Location of a schedule of regular working hours for different employees
    • Protocol on whether to use one’s video camera on conference calls (is it preferred or required by various departments?)
    • Acceptable format for email signatures
    • Preferred software applications for different assignments (e.g. MS Word or Google Docs when both are available?)

5 – Implement employee onboarding software for remote hiring success

Depending on the industry in which you work, you likely use a set of software applications critical to the productivity of your business–it’s your tech stack. From CRMs to POS systems, and project management suites to ticketing portals, these varied forms of technology are essential to different industries because they leverage technology to automate and improve repetitive, and perhaps otherwise manual tasks for different employers.

While health clinics may not need POS systems, and safety equipment manufacturers aren’t desperate for software issue ticketing suites, I will advocate that all employers who are currently hiring should consider employee onboarding software.

Moreover, if you are hiring remote employees, onboarding software gives you a significant competitive advantage as you can improve the new hire user experience (aka first impression) as well as minimize documentation errors.

ExactHire’s OnboardCentric employee onboarding software can be implemented either as a stand-alone solution to meet your urgent onboarding needs; or, as a hiring component integrated with our ExactHire applicant tracking system.

As employers face constantly evolving news related to COVID-19, they are adjusting priorities and re-allocating resources on a daily basis. Our team understands the need for fluidity and responsiveness, and we’re equipped to get you up and running with onboarding software quickly.

To expedite implementation and improve your new hire experience despite the current pandemic, we recommend that you start by implementing required new hire forms (e.g. state tax forms, Form W-4, Form I-9, direct deposit, etc.) and allow us to train supervisors who need access right away.

Then, as demands on your schedule decline, our team is happy to work with you to include non-essential nice-to-have new hire forms, discuss onboarding process best practices and conduct more advanced user training with all of your hiring managers. Our responsive team is ready to work as your partner through this crisis.

Demo ExactHire Onboarding Software

Are you ready to improve your employee onboarding experience and respond to the rapidly changing hiring landscape with success? Schedule a demo of OnboardCentric today.

Employer Strategies for Successfully Hiring Justice Involved Job Candidates

My gut tells me that many employers are open to the idea of hiring individuals from the justice involved community, but have historically avoided the opportunity for a variety of reasons. Whether they previously had an abundance of other candidates to consider or were intimidated about the steps involved, many organizations haven’t proactively included this untapped talent pool.

After all, they haven’t been sufficiently motivated to do so. That changes now.

Why you should consider hiring the justice involved population

Today, employers can’t afford NOT to look at every viable employee population. Increased awareness and support for inclusive hiring practices coupled with historically low unemployment suggest that the time is ripe for employers to implement strategies that successfully source and retain justice involved individuals.

Here are a few of the benefits to employers who engage employees who are formerly incarcerated or on work release, parole, or probation.

Better job candidate flow

Low unemployment is especially crippling for industries that traditionally experience high turnover in hourly positions and/or with a contingent workforce. With nearly one in three American adults holding a criminal record (ACLU, 2017), employers who are able to successfully engage this population are poised to win the war on talent.

Text Recruiting | Hourly Workers | ExactHire

Giving justice involved individuals another chance is the right thing to do

The formerly incarcerated combat a pervasive social stigma in many facets of their life, and it often impedes their ability to find work. In fact, according to the same ACLU study, 75% of formerly incarcerated people will remain unemployed a year after release. When someone has served his/her time, society should give them a second chance–not a re-sentence once they are released.

Reducing recidivism pays for itself

According to a 2018 special report from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, across 30 states 5 out of 6 (a staggering 83%) of state prisoners released in 2005 were arrested at least once during the 9 years following their release. Recidivism, or the “tendency for a convicted criminal to reoffend,” is on the rise.

And, it’s no surprise when we consider the absence of sufficient resources to support transitioning justice involved individuals back into society. This makes it hard for the formerly incarcerated to get over what some call the “three hots and a cot” mentality.

Consider that the Gross National Product (GNP) is losing an estimated $78 billion to $87 billion annually as the justice involved remain unemployed, according to the aforementioned ACLU report.

Employer tax incentives

Companies who hire the formerly incarcerated may be eligible for hidden hiring incentives such as the Work Opportunity Tax Credit. WOTC is a federal tax credit available to employers that hire individuals from specific targeted groups that have consistently faced significant employment barriers. Among these targeted groups are “qualified ex-felons” who are defined as individuals who are hired within a year of being convicted of a felony, or being released from prison from the felony.

Create a supportive network to succeed with the justice involved

It’s one thing for companies to be compelled to act based on the benefits mentioned above; however, in order to realize success in hiring and retaining the justice involved job candidate population, your organization must implement an internal infrastructure that can accommodate their unique needs. Additionally, it should utilize established external resources that may already be available in your area to help transition the justice involved back to work.

This is easier said than done, as there is not an abundance of model employers showing the rest of us how to do it. And, perhaps that deficiency is part of the explanation for the slow adoption of hiring this population.

The best intentions are only a fraction of what’s required for success in employing the justice involved. Employers must put systems and services in place to get this source of talent back to work. According to SHRM’s Getting Talent Back to Work Toolkit, employers should focus on

  • Reliable Checks – working with reputable background checking agencies to make sure the data you use to make decisions about a candidate’s suitability for employment is sound.
  • Relevant Assessment – ensuring your organization’s methods for assessing criminal records on an individual basis are relevant.
  • Reasonable Risk – comprehending and assessing the reasonable risks associated with hiring this population so that you can proceed confidently.

Within these three categories, there are many steps organizations may take to set themselves up for a higher percentage of success in employing the justice involved population. Here are some ideas for consideration.

Make connections during the pre-release period

Consider offering a candidate training program for incarcerated individuals six months prior to their release. Just as you would approach tuition reimbursement for an in-demand nursing student, ask pre-release individuals who have been identified as good candidates for a commitment to work for your organization for a period of time so that they may receive important life skills and a starter wage. This type of arrangement can go far in building employee loyalty in a tough employee retention market.

Develop relationships in your community

Employing the justice involved is a careful undertaking, and can be enhanced by positive and close relationships with local sheriff departments and other representatives at the Department of Corrections (DOC), staffing agencies and other transitional support agencies.

Set expectations with internal staff

For success in employing the justice-involved population, you need to dedicate internal resources to properly setting expectations and training existing staff members on how to undergo this initiative in a productive way. Be realistic and transparent around challenges that may surface, and develop strategies about how your company will address those challenges before you find yourselves in the moment.

Make sure that your organizational structure models success for justice involved individuals. For example, don’t have a single working area or department where justice involved employees represent a majority of the unit. This is their time to transition back into the workforce and recognize positive habits and behavior from others who have succeeded in the organization. If you offset that balance, then negative habits can be perpetuated with poor outcomes.

Invest in offering on-site services for justice involved employees

Some justice involved individuals fall circumstance to rising recidivism rates because they don’t have reasonable access to the services and support they need to get a foothold in the world after release. If your organization is serious about successfully employing this population, then consider offering some of these services:

  • Reentry resources – Links to and documentation about existing public reentry services in your community. For example, Orange County, California has a robust post-incarceration resource toolkit on its website.
  • Basic food needs – Make information available about local food pantries and agencies that make sure people don’t go hungry. Help employees apply for food stamp benefits.
  • Spiritual support – Consider on-site chaplain services so employees can nurture any of their spiritual goals and confide in a third party.
  • Medical care – Make sure that employees are afforded time to take care of medical needs and given information about how to obtain access to prescription drugs, including mental health care when applicable.
  • Basic paperwork – Remember that your justice involved hires may need important documents either located and/or reproduced such as birth certificate, Social Security card, personal ID card and/or driver’s license.
  • Substance abuse support – Recognize that some of your justice involved hires may struggle with substance abuse and therefore create an environment that is supportive of substance abuse counseling and rehabilitation so that destructive habits that often lead to crime aren’t repeated.
  • Ride planning – In order to promptly arrive to your workplace, your employees may need ride sharing programs, access to information about convenient public transportation options, and/or an employer-provided bus to transport employees to and from their current residence or halfway house to your job site.
  • Flexibility for required meetings – A common challenge for recently released individuals is maintaining availability for a shift job while also showing up for required probation or parole officer meetings that might happen in the middle of the day. With proper communication, offer these workers flexibility to attend the meetings that are critical for their post-release success.
  • Soft skills training – In some cases, justice involved individuals may have never learned about or been exposed to positive models for appropriate communication, social behavior, or even cleanliness/hygiene. Understand that services around these soft skills may be critical for employing this population with success.

Communicate your intentions clearly

Because much of employers’ hesitancy to hire justice involve populations is attributable to the stigma often associated with the formerly incarcerated as well as the company’s tendency toward compliance and protectiveness, clear communication is a driver of employment success for this talent group.

Clear communication includes both adjustments in traditional employment policy as well as external job advertisements, company culture content and screening and interview process design.

Remember that it is a violation of Title VII to reject applicants because of criminal records unless it is job related and consistent with business necessity. Employers have an obligation to clearly define what is job related and consistent with business necessity. They should reevaluate the role and scope of background checks in the hiring process, and use effective job evaluation to identify which criminal offenses will not work with which jobs.

Set realistic expectations with your justice involved candidates

Not every employer is going to be able to employ every justice involved employee. However, there is power and respect in being transparent about the opportunities and potential path available with your organization. I recently attended an event (more on that below) where they talked about the “ABC Jobs” trajectory for the justice involved:

  • Any job
  • Better job
  • Career

Which of those types of jobs can you offer this population? And, if it is just any job that has a low wage, how can you prepare that individual to succeed in that job and then move on to another organization (maybe one with which you partner on these programs) where they can achieve the next step?

This job pathing model can improve your community by creating work that improves individuals, makes your company productive and advances the public good through reduced spending due to rampant recidivism.

Anticipate potential setbacks

There will be ups and downs in any endeavor to create an infrastructure for employing justice involved populations…as there is with any other talent population, too. However, being aware of setbacks through conversation with other employers, local law enforcement, state agencies, etc. will bring to light things you can plan to address:

  • “Ban the box” legislation – Do you have work sites in geographic areas that are NOT subject to “ban the box”? If so, then take another look at your employment application and consider whether any questions about a candidate’s criminal history are potentially deterring qualified, but justice involved individuals from considering employment with your organization.
  • Shift challenges – Is your work shift schedule such that it makes it impossible to accommodate the needs of justice involved individuals who must attend parole meetings? As previously mentioned, take measures now to consider alternative strategies for meeting transportation needs and addressing shift requirements.
  • Recognize bias toward unexplained issues – I recently met someone who is employed with the city government and who was previously justice involved. She explained that it is not uncommon for little, unexpected things to happen that can adversely impact the positive trajectory of a justice involved individual. She encourages others to get the facts before jumping to negative conclusions. For example, she has seen malfunctioning ankle bracelets cause productive employees who have done nothing wrong to be hauled away by police on the job in front of co-workers. Without sensitivity to the root cause of such problems, bias and gossip could lead to a lack of support, or even wrongful termination.

The time is now

Is your organization ready to get serious about considering this untapped talent population? I hope the considerations outlined in this blog inspire exploration of this talent pool and fine-tuning of any of your existing initiatives.

Author’s Note: I recently attended a remarkable “Second Chance Staffing Visioning Event” held in January 2020 at Butler University and in conjunction with Allegiance Staffing. This interactive session was a kick-off to a joint research project between these partners and others to explore the job performance of those with criminal backgrounds while on the job. There is not yet much (or current) research in this specific area and the event brought together individuals from social service agencies, businesses, and the government–including thriving employees who have been justice involved. I’m excited about the direction of this research as it perfectly aligns with making a positive impact and with the challenging job landscape. Given the lack of formal studies in this area, their goal is to conduct a more detailed empirical analysis of the relative workplace performance of justice-involved citizens, as well as identify factors affecting this performance. Such a study requires the assistance of local employer(s) willing to share data regarding employees’ attendance, aptitude, and attitude, and they are currently in the process of securing these partners.

 

ExactHire and BountyJobs Partner to Connect Employers to Search Firms

ExactHire, provider of robust applicant tracking system and employee onboarding software solutions for small and medium employers, recently announced a strategic partnership with BountyJobs, Inc. BountyJobs is a leading third-party recruiting platform for collaboration between employers and search firms with over $2 billion in placement fees to recruiters and the world’s largest recruiter marketplace.

This strategic relationship with ExactHire is one of the latest in the fast growing BountyJobs partner network, seeing 500% growth in 2018 and resulting in the largest partner network of any recruitment marketplace. This network connects innovative technology providers focused on improving the way companies recruit, attract and retain talent. This mix of partners has been hand-selected to help support the key constituents of the 2-sided BountyJobs Marketplace; employers and recruiting agencies. The BountyJobs solution is available as a featured job board within ExactHire’s HireCentric ATS.

ExactHire helps businesses improve HR outcomes with integrated applicant tracking and employee onboarding platforms. Tools for automated job posts, applicant management, and custom reporting dovetail with a platform that eliminates paperwork and task redundancy for employers and new hires alike. And now, through ExactHire’s partnership with BountyJobs, clients can extend the candidate search beyond traditional job boards with convenient access to a network of over 10,000 third-party recruiters. The result is a fully optimized hiring and onboarding process that produces better applicants and enhances the employee experience.

A Scalable Solution for SMBs

“The recruiting, candidate assessment, and employee onboarding software offered by ExactHire is a scalable yet robust platform for SMB and mid-size organizations,” said Jerry Aubin, CEO at BountyJobs. “This cloud-based resource optimizes HR processes into a simple solution for both hiring and succession planning.”

“We are always looking to improve candidate sourcing for our clients, and we realize that sometimes using a third-party recruiter is necessary,” said Harlan Schafir, Co-Founder and Chief Visionary Officer at ExactHire. “Our partnership with BountyJobs offers ExactHire clients a streamlined approach to engaging with recruiters and sourcing exceptional candidates. We’re excited about the partnership for ExactHire, but more so for our current and future clients. This is a valuable addition to our services. It differentiates us from other HR software providers.”

How to Connect with BountyJobs

The new relationship, which marries data-driven hiring solutions and traditional talent acquisition, creates an innovative approach for employers when making critical hires. To take advantage of ExactHire’s partnership with BountyJobs, access the Featured Job Boards area within the Job Board Favorites tab within HireCentric’s Jobs Dashboard. There, you’ll be invited to initiate a relationship with BountyJobs. Or, follow this link directly to connect with BountyJobs today.

ExactHire HireCentric BountyJobs Featured Job Board

 

HireCentric ATS BountyJobs Referral | ExactHire

 

For full details on this new strategic partnership, please see the original post on PRWeb.

6 Ways to Turn Today’s Silver Medal Candidates into Tomorrow’s Gold Medalist Hires

How often have you progressed through the hiring process and ultimately realized that your final two candidates were almost evenly matched–one just slightly nudged out the other for the gold medal employment offer? While it’s great to be in that kind of position as the employer, it can be tough to turn down a talented second choice candidate.

However, these “silver medal candidates” pose a significant opportunity for your company and great care should be taken to continuously engage them. You never know when you may need them to step up to a gold medal platform in your organization.

Have you already had the opportunity to groom silver medal candidates into eventual hires? Or, perhaps you were previously a second choice candidate that was later given the opportunity to finish first for a different role. If so, then you understand that with thoughtful practices in place, your employer can leverage a silver medalist pipeline to edge out competition by sourcing top talent quickly and in a cost effective manner. In this blog, I’ll share six behaviors that you can implement to foster enduring positive relationships with your silver medalist applicants.

1 – Set expectations from the start

So much of the content I write underscores the importance of setting clear expectations in the hiring process–but it’s so true. This critical step begins before you ever know someone will end up as your silver medalist candidate for a role. An expectation that is a part of any respectful hiring process is that the recruiter or hiring manager should tell the candidate

  • the milestones involved with the hiring process,
  • an estimate of process duration, and
  • the method by which the candidate will be informed of his/her status during and at the end of the cycle.

The added bonus of setting expectations well is that this behavior naturally forces accountability. After all, a recruiter who doesn’t follow through with what he says he’ll do is going to damage his reputation, as well as the employment brand of the organization.

2 – Promptly communicate

To reinforce the expectations set at the beginning of the hiring process, employers should communicate with candidates regularly and promptly. Even with multiple job requisitions open and oodles of candidates, there’s no excuse not to touch base with applicants thanks to the communication automation tools that are capable of candidate personalization available in applicant tracking systems.

While it can induce less stress to communicate with candidates earlier in the process, it can be trickier to do so with the final two candidates…particularly if the top pick is reviewing an employment offer you already extended while the silver medalist waits to hear if she is still in contention. If a deadline passes while you wait on an answer from your gold medalist, message the silver medalist to explain that circumstances have changed and that you will touch base with her again in a reasonable amount of time. Then, make sure you do.

Timely communication shows your respect for the candidate, and even if she doesn’t make the cut this time, she’ll remember how you treated her and the resulting word of mouth will more favorably represent your company.

3 – Reject expertly

No one likes delivering bad news, but when there are only two candidates left in your hiring process and they’ve both invested a great deal of time completing employment applications, taking assessments and interviewing, you owe the silver medalist a formal let-down. Call him–don’t just email (or worse yet, an automated email)!

And if that’s hard, make yourself accountable heading into the final phase interview by telling him (in the expectations period, remember?) that he will receive a phone call either way at the end of the process.

Then, also follow up with an email thank you and let him know of your sincere, continued interest in him for future roles within your company. Tell him how to learn about future job postings via your ATS job alert feature, and be honest about how often you might hire for positions that fall into his wheelhouse.

4 – Connect for future follow-up

During the phone call and email thank you, let the candidate know that you’re open to connecting on social media (if you haven’t already) so that you have an easy means of staying in touch with each other in the future. This is a great way for the candidate to be exposed to future career-related content that you may personally post or that is shared from your company social media profiles.

If your organization isn’t likely to be hiring relevant roles anytime soon, offer to help the silver medalist by connecting her with others in your network through virtual introductions.

To help prepare the candidate to go for the gold at the next job opportunity, make her aware of resources that might help her improve her job-related skills or knowledge (e.g. certification study courses, industry-related member associations, etc.).

5 – Nurture candidates with technology tools

Use your applicant tracking software features to designate talented second place finishers as great future candidates for other roles. Use applicant status codes or tags to mark them as “#silver,” for example. Or, better yet, “#futuregold!”

Then, it will be easy to target this group of candidates to share culture- and job-related content with them periodically. Take it a step further and observe how they interact with social media posts and engage in follow-up. Make note of their connectivity in their candidate profile within your hiring software so that future hiring managers and recruiters in your organization have a rich record of not only their potential qualification for other roles, but also their organizational engagement.

6 – Put silver medalists on the fast track

A surefire way to disengage silver medal candidates is to make them reinvent the wheel to apply to future roles that interest them. Consider that they’ve already gone through your entire selection process, so there must be opportunities to put them on the fast track for certain roles.

If you proactively source them for a new position, do the equivalent of giving them a “bye” in your recruiting tournament and start them at a later stage in the hiring process. The one exception to this may be if your organization/industry must adhere to certain compliance requirements that necessitate each individual experiencing every stage for a position.

Nevertheless, your applicant tracking system should make it easy for them to optionally pull forward previous resumes and standard application questions, while giving them the opportunity to answer job-related questions that are unique to the new role for which they are applying.

If they previously took an employee assessment that you use for many job categories, then there’s no need for them to retake it. And, especially if they are interviewing for a similar position the second time around–and you specifically invited them to apply–consider taking an informal approach with a coffee conversation to gauge the candidate’s interest, and to find out what’s new as it relates to the position and their career.

 

With proper grooming of silver medalist candidates, it will cost fewer staff hours to assess and hire the best candidates for the position because they will already be ready to go in your talent pipeline.

Choose Right HR Software | ExactHire

Employer Considerations for Posting and Managing Evergreen Jobs

When you think about where you spend the bulk of your time in the employee recruiting process, is a big chunk reserved for a certain type of position? If so, this role is probably an evergreen job.

Just as an evergreen tree appears green and alive all year long, evergreen positions require a constant flow of candidates because they experience high turnover and/or are positions that a large percentage of employees occupy. As a result, many companies keep these requisitions perpetually open on their job listings page in order to populate the candidate pipeline.

Evergreen jobs and turnover

Sourcing a steady flow of candidates to fill evergreen roles is essential–they are the positions critical to business success. Industries such as restaurant, healthcare, retail, call center and non-profit regularly source applicants for evergreen jobs such as server, home health aid, cashier, customer service representative and direct support professional.

Organizations often struggle with high turnover in these positions due to factors such as

  • the role being available on a part-time basis more frequently than full-time,
  • job seasonality (or seasonal availability of candidates),
  • low barriers to entry that make it easy for candidates to get a similar job elsewhere, and
  • low unemployment leading to more accessible wage increases at competitive employers.

Evergreen job hiring challenges

Hiring employees to fill evergreen positions can be tricky for a variety of reasons.

Misleading reporting

If you tend to keep the same job listings open all the time while regularly hiring candidates, it’s easy to unintentionally skew reporting in the name of ease. While the same job listing ID may remain open for a year (which can save time on reposting the job every few months), it will be harder to report on which referral sources, job description text (if you tweak it frequently with overwrites) and other factors lead to the successful hiring of multiple individuals because they are all tied to the same requisition. A good rule of thumb is to close out an existing evergreen requisition when a candidate is hired for that role, and then use the previous requisition as a template for easily creating a new one.

Job boards vs. organic search

While external job boards such as Glassdoor and Indeed favor fresh job listing IDs that aren’t reposted too frequently, search engines like Google spotlight tenured job description pages that have evergreen content (e.g. new imagery, comments, video, and other structured data). So what’s the right answer? Temporary job listing ID pages or persistent job description overviews?

You can benefit from both. Use your applicant tracking system to refresh a job listing for an evergreen role by closing old job listing IDs and using them as a template to create a duplicate job listing (with a new ID) every 60-90 days. Then, consider adding evergreen content pages within your ATS portal or on your corporate website that

  • list details about what to expect in the role,
  • answer frequently asked questions about the job,
  • highlight video testimonials from other employees in that position, and
  • link to a list of the job listing(s) currently open for that role.

With the dual approach, job seekers stand to find your recently posted job listing on external job boards, as well as via keyword-specific search queries on search engines.

Hiring compliance can be impacted

Care should be taken with determining how the frequency of evergreen requisition posting may impact an employer’s Affirmative Action Plan (AAP) compliance efforts. If the same job listing ID is kept open for an entire year–and we assume at least one candidate is hired from that requisition–then the entire year’s worth of internet applicants must be included in the applicant pool considered for adverse impact. In contrast, if a single requisition is kept open for only one quarter, and only one person is hired during that time, then the pool for adverse impact analysis is smaller which is generally preferable.

By periodically opening new requisitions–even when a hire does not take place in a period of 60 or 90 days–employers put themselves in a better position for compliance and limit their exposure. NOTE: If no applicants from a quarter’s requisition are hired, then the job ID can be closed and none of the applicants must be reported in the AAP data.

Managers at different locations

In the world of evergreen hiring, the location at which a future employee may work when he first applies to an evergreen position isn’t always apparent. And, depending on the industry and size of organization, different hiring managers likely manage candidate screening and/or interviewing at various locations.

Unless internal expectations are clearly set about how managers access a candidate pool that may be shared by different branches, the candidate experience could be hampered by poor communication from a variety of different locations vying for the same candidate. This can be exacerbated in a tight labor market with low unemployment as general managers compete for workers in high turnover, hourly, part-time positions.

Within the retail and restaurant industries, in which some brands have both corporate and franchise-owned stores, careful attention must be paid to limiting franchisor access to job applicants for franchisee-owned locations in order to avoid vicarious liability. When implementing hiring technology in this situation, it’s critical to understand how different applicant pools will be separated for administrators. At the same time, it’s important to avoid a confusing application process for job seekers who perceive all locations to be one brand.

Best practices for managing evergreen positions

Now that we’ve reviewed considerations for posting and managing evergreen positions, let’s cover best practices to improve the chances of your success in hiring individuals for these roles.

Understand what causes turnover

Only by analyzing factors that cause your employees to leave, will you be able to adjust their experience to prolong tenure and benchmark success. Consider the impact of job factors such as your organization’s

  • work schedule flexibility
  • pay rate relative to competitors
  • ability to communicate the proximity of public transportation, and
  • opportunities for continuous learning and advancement.

With an understanding of the primary drivers of turnover, you can re-imagine the employment experience to mitigate these factors. Proactively communicate how you address these items with job seekers in your career content and utilize an applicant tracking system that makes it easy for job candidates to search positions near their bus route. For example, the new hiring software platform that ExactHire is building allows candidates to optionally enter their address to see nearby locations with open job suggestions.

Geo-fenced Job Listing Search | ExactHire

Set internal expectations about hiring efficiency

Recruiters will have a greater impact on organizational success when they rally hiring managers around what to expect from the hiring process. These conversations include topics such as

  • what the hiring market looks like and which factors impact organizational turnover (e.g. what it’s going to take to keep employees),
  • the current velocity of hire and a reasonable expectation for number of hiring processes that can be managed successfully at once (e.g. should we hire more recruiters or consider Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO)?),
  • how promptly assigning statuses to candidates and entering hire dates in an ATS is critical to calculating time to hire and team efficiency,
  • the ideal dollar amount to plan for employee attrition in the operating budget, and
  • how to manage headcount appropriately–is it a set number of positions per job opening or can it flexibly fluctuate depending on need?

Consider job listing duration

Close out aging job listing IDs at least every three months or whenever you make a hire for the position–whichever is sooner. The impact of this practice is two-fold:

  1. By separating batches of applicants for an evergreen job into 90-day chunks–each with its own separate requisition–you limit the likelihood that the OFCCP will take a closer look at your data in an AAP audit because your data pool is smaller (i.e. a separate pool for each job listing ID) and therefore not likely to be statistically significant.
  2. By reposting evergreen jobs periodically with new job IDs, you’re ensuring that the posting date appears relatively recent to potential job applicants. However, even a 30-day old position may deter eager job seekers. Consider including text that describes the role as an evergreen position within the body of your job description. By letting candidates know that you’re always sourcing for this position, they will be less likely to overlook a couple-month-old job listing.

Create a landing page for evergreen jobs

To balance the effects of reposting job listing IDs on a quarterly basis, give your evergreen roles a surge of search engine optimization (SEO) by creating permanent job overview pages (on either your ATS or your corporate website) for the positions that are always (or soon to be) in supply. Include page elements such as

  • relevant keyword-rich content in headers and body text
  • video testimonials from employees in the same role
  • a frequently asked question section to answer common job-related inquiries
  • an overview of the steps involved in the hiring process
  • the unique benefits of the position, and
  • call-to-action buttons directing page visitors to a filtered list of the specific requisitions currently available for this type of role.

Reduce hiring funnel friction

Put yourself in the shoes of a job seeker and assess whether it is easy to find your jobs, easy to apply and easy to communicate with recruiters and hiring managers. While making the selection process efficient is a priority for any kind of job, it is mission critical for evergreen positions since a large volume of candidates must be sourced to meet the company’s hiring needs.

  • Easy to find – Easily share your job listings to external job boards and social media streams within a modern applicant tracking system, but also consider paid recruitment marketing avenues such as retargeting display ads that show content to job seekers who previously interacted with your employment brand.
  • Easy to apply – Utilize two-step applications to allow candidates to provide the basics in the first half of the application process. Shortening an application’s first phase will drive better applicant conversion. Also, select pre-employment assessments that don’t require too much time for an applicant to complete when presented at the point of application. Longer assessments can be utilized later in the selection process.
  • Easy to communicate – Meet job seekers where they are…which often is on their phone rather than a laptop. Incorporate text messaging into the candidate communication process as many individuals interested in evergreen jobs may be screening their calls and failing to set up their voicemail inboxes.

Incorporate pre-employment testing

Know what employee success in your evergreen roles looks like by assessing your current superstars and distilling their results down to the key traits that most heavily predict performance. Then, benchmark for these traits by creating a model profile within your employee assessment tool and use the assessment at the point of application or before a formal interview. To determine placement within the hiring process, consider the impact of a cognitive or behavioral testing tool vs. a job skills testing resource on your candidate funnel–which type(s) would produce the most compelling outcomes?

Nurture your evergreen pipeline

Since employers are always sourcing candidates for evergreen jobs, they must experiment with innovative approaches to engaging past applicants and attracting new job seekers. Create a special experience for people who are interested in being a part of your organization by inviting them to your talent community. These are the individuals who keep raising their hand with continued interest, like your recruiting content on social media and respond to your recruitment marketing efforts.

Here are some ideas for engaging them as applicant VIPs:

  • Use tags within your applicant tracking system to highlight their interest so that you may invite them to apply to specific job listing IDs as roles in their evergreen area of interest open at locations near them.
  • Invite them to opt in to an applicant insider newsletter with articles about new roles, culture and organizational goals.
  • Invite them to join a social media group focused on careers at your organization.
  • Create targeted recruitment marketing campaigns that reinvigorate their interest in your organization.

 

Although your organization has roles which will always be evergreen, your approach to sourcing candidates for these jobs will be ever changing.

How to Use Video to Engage Applicants and Employees

There’s no denying the appeal of video. When I’m doing research for a home project, planning a purchase or trying to teach myself how to play a new board game, I prefer to watch an engaging video rather than read through text or scan images. Not surprisingly, many job seekers have the same preference as they research and engage with potential employers to determine which will suit their career aspirations.

How can employers use video in the hiring process and throughout the employment lifecycle to entice job seekers to consider a position? How can video engage employees to remain employed? Consider the following tips to leverage the strengths of video throughout your employment experience.

Recruiting

Employee testimonials

Identify your true employment brand ambassadors and invite them to produce testimonials for your career site. Ask them to speak about the invigorating challenge of their work and the unique, tangible and intrinsic benefits that your organization offers to employees. Most of all, make sure they convey the specific reasons they choose to work for your organization.

Job description overview

A key aspect of successful candidate recruitment is not only selecting the right individual for the company, but also allowing job seekers to understand what they are getting into when it comes to job responsibilities.

Create a video that summarizes the key responsibilities of a position, but then go a step further and discuss what job success looks like for a new hire at three months, six months and one year of employment. These career opportunity digital assets are excellent content resources to share on company social media channels, too.

If you use an applicant tracking system to manage your recruitment process, you may already have access to easily embed videos into job descriptions and share them with third party job boards. Other ideas for video overviews include having a top ten list of reasons to work in a specific role for your company; or, a short segment on what to expect from the hiring and selection process. For example, will the candidate be asked to take any assessments and how many interview stages are involved–and with which company staff members?

Here’s an example of how ExactHire used video in the hiring process when we were looking for web developers. Make sure that the tone and style of your video aligns with your organizational culture. For us, quirky is appropriate!

You could even automate a video email that outlines next steps to send to the candidate after applying online.

Interviewing

Candidate communication

Remember that the quality of your organization’s candidate communication is being closely evaluated by job seekers. It is the first impression that will indicate how responsive and communicative the employer will likely be once a candidate is hired as an employee–it’s the perception of job seekers (and, in my experience, often the truth).

Make applicant correspondence personal by using video email to invite applicants to progress in your hiring process. If you enjoy a remote work culture, using video to facilitate interviewing is critical in moving the selection process along quickly enough that you don’t lose qualified candidates to other offers.

Even if your office isn’t full of telecommuters, if you involve multiple employees in group interviews, video conference calls can open up additional calendar slots by eliminating the need for stakeholders to buffer schedules for commute time.

Closing the deal

In this competitive market, your top candidate will often have another offer when they are considering a position with you. While compensation, benefits, and role will heavily influence the candidate’s choice, you can use personalized video messages to encourage the candidate to join your team and share examples of how your employees embody organizational culture.

Consider sending a team video highlighting a recent company potluck, holiday event or fun competition. You could even send a personalized video email from the CEO to let the candidate know that leadership is excited to invite them on board. Make sure the candidate understands that by accepting an offer with your organization, he or she could enjoy these same moments with co-workers who care, too. It is these seemingly little gestures that often make or break the deal when another offer is on the table.

Pre-boarding

While many organizations pull out all the stops to woo candidates during the interviewing process, unfortunately too many then fail to keep the momentum going with frequent connections with new hires during the pre-boarding phase. Pre-boarding is comprised of the time period between when the candidate accepts an employment offer and experiences his first day on the job.

Office orientation

Even if you previously gave an interviewee an office tour, sharing a virtual video office tour helps incoming new hires orient themselves with the location of various office items before they experience their first day. Check out MOBI’s compelling virtual tour of their headquarters building:

Setting expectations

To minimize new hire jitters for your new teammates, create videos to help identify what the new employee can expect in her first week of employment. Preview the types of activities she’ll be experiencing and consider inviting mentors or other people with whom the new hire will be meeting to have a segment in the video. Other discussion points might include information about

  • dress code,
  • location of bathrooms and gym,
  • availability of office snacks,
  • beverages and the location of the kitchen, and
  • an overview of the types and frequency of company and department meetings that occur throughout a month.

Make sure that the new hire’s supervisor engages with him during the pre-boarding phase as well. While a phone call or interactive video conference is great in this scenario, if schedules make connecting difficult then a thoughtful video welcome message from the hiring manager can serve as an attractive alternative. Leveraging video during pre-boarding may help to reduce the likelihood of new hire ghosting!

Onboarding

Once your new hires officially begin work, make sure that their employee onboarding experience excites them and prepares them to be productive as soon as possible. Effective employee onboarding involves activities that introduce new hires to teammates and the organization, allow them to become familiar with the resources they’ll need to do the job, and further set expectations about performance and pace.

Training

To support these activities, offer videos that help train new hires on organizational procedures and teach them how to use different tools necessary for their role. If you use employee onboarding software to automate your onboarding workflow, then use the platform to create employee tasks that prompt new hires to watch these videos at the appropriate time during their onboarding phase.

Video is also a great way to facilitate introductions between new hires and remote workers when an in-person “nice to meet you” isn’t practical.

Employee Engagement

Daily connections

Speaking of remote workers, my organization is quite remote friendly and therefore we have to be intentional about creating opportunities for employees to regularly connect with one another. While we used to rely heavily on email and instant messaging tools to catch up on a daily basis, in the past year we’ve started regularly doing video calls with one another for daily “stand-up” meetings in various departments. Even though these meetings often last only five minutes, the chance to make eye contact with your peers and sneak in some “water cooler” type talk has been an important enhancement to our remote work culture.

Open window

Some of our departments take video calling a step further and have weekly “open window” time when they all log in to a video chat for an hour to simulate what it would be like to sit in cubicles next to each other. They use the time to catch up, but sometimes they just work silently until someone has a comment or inquiry.

Offboarding

While the hope is that employees will be successful and engaged for an extended period of time with your organization, the reality is that circumstances sometimes call for offboarding employees. Whether it is a voluntary or involuntary termination, there are opportunities to positively support your employment brand based on how you approach the situation.

Voluntary

In the case of someone who has resigned, solicit teammates to put together a best wishes video to send off your departing employee knowing that he was truly valued. After all, you never know if you’ll have the opportunity for a boomerang employment situation in which the person returns to work in your organization at some point in the future.

Involuntary

In the event that the employment separation isn’t voluntary, a video message to existing department members can be an effective means to properly communicate the tone of the situation and assure existing employees that everything will be okay despite the seemingly sudden departure of another employee. This approach is preferable over a static email in which tone can be interpreted inconsistently by various recipients.

Video: An Employee Engagement Tool

These are just a few tips for using video in your hiring process and for employee engagement. Experiment with different video themes for your own organizational processes.

Your culture, core values and current business opportunities will guide you in a direction that aligns with the interests of your applicants and employees.

This content was originally published on Covideo’s Blog.

Tech-Based Employee Experience E-book

How to Not Screw Up Remote Employee Onboarding

Whether your team’s hiring its first remote employee or its 79th, don’t skimp on putting thoughtful intention behind your new hire onboarding program for remote workers.

Go ahead, pick out your worst fear about hiring remote workers below.

  • If I can’t see them, will they just do their laundry instead of work?
  • Our employees need to be “on” during our regular working hours, how can they if they’re roaming coffee houses around Europe with a 6-hour time difference?
  • Company culture and connectivity will suffer if we can’t play ping pong in person together, won’t it?

Did you have trouble picking just one? That’s okay, so did ExactHire when we started allowing employees to work remotely over seven years go. Our organization has come a long way since then, and–with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic–we have adopted the mentality of “remote first.” That is, truly distributing the workforce in such a way that remote work is the default setting–not just an option available to some. SaaS companies like StackOverflow and HelpScout are worth further investigation if you’re considering this cultural pivot for your employer

Remote first = distributing your workforce in such a way that remote work is the default mode.

Another relevant read is Remote: Office Not Required by Basecamp Co-Founders, Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. This book details Basecamp’s evolution into a remote first organization, including both the pitfalls and unexpected wins along the way. There’s no shortage of inspiration on how to make remote working arrangements possible for your organization these days.

In this post, I’ll focus on how to not screw up employee onboarding once you’ve committed to hiring a new fully-remote employee. For someone who is brand new to your organization and away from the office from the start, consider these items for your onboarding checklist.

1 – Make expectations and goals crystal clear

In the absence of in-person onboarding activities, picking up on body language and being a bystander to water cooler talk is more challenging. Therefore, organizations should put themselves in the shoes of new hires and brainstorm the details that new employees won’t necessarily absorb on their own.

Being transparent about expected working hours (despite time zone of new hire), explaining how organizational culture manifests itself and sharing milestone targets about what job success looks like at three months, six months and beyond are just a few of many possible details.

For example, in Remote, the authors talk about how it’s important for Basecamp to give its new hires a heads up that they may be bombarded by social media follower requests when joining the organization. Because their company is remote first, it has become common for employees to connect with one another on social media in order to get to know each other more quickly in the absence of traditional face time in the office.

2 – Make over communication a way of life

Nothing can trip up a remote working arrangement more quickly than a shortage of sufficient communication. If your company wants to make remote work work, then you need to embrace many modes of communication (“different strokes for different folks”) and in particular, abundant written communication.

Particularly if your remote employees are spread across different time zones, a bigger portion of your company’s internal communication will be asynchronous–with employees reading email, chat messages and Slack updates anywhere from minutes to hours after they are originally sent.

To amplify the effectiveness of asynchronous communication, be clear about your needs and consider capturing screenshots and creating short videos to better explain tasks and challenges to co-workers when big time zone differences diminish the ability to connect in real time.

Consider your communication culture and whether it makes sense to go to the extent of asking people to update their status when away from Slack, instant messenger, etc. While ExactHire doesn’t quite go this far, we do have an internal document that lists general working hours for all employees since individual availability varies widely depending on the day of the week.

3 – Organization is everything

While we’ve already established that communication is critical, committing to written communication goes deeper than the one-off messages and company announcements that happen on a daily basis. In the same way that ExactHire maintains a support knowledge base full of training documents for our customers about our products, employers with remote workers have an even greater responsibility than traditional employers to document policies, project statuses and resources in an internal knowledge base.

And, it’s not just about basic documentation, but also the style or approach you take for documentation and communication. For example, at a previous employer I was quickly indoctrinated into the organizational norm of referring to all employees by just their initials in written communication, as well as the practice of hiding unwieldy URL addresses behind anchor text in interoffice emails. Mind you, this was a decade ago…before it was a tech-based cultural norm to go to such formatting lengths.

Internal consistency in communication supports effective organization.

Additionally, having easy-to-use tools to track items is essential. For example, in addition to Slack, ExactHire has leveraged platforms such as Google Docs, Trello, Basecamp and Jira for internal collaboration on a daily basis in recent years.

4 – Paperless employee onboarding

For both new hires and existing staff members, the employee onboarding process is full of opportunities to miss details. Take the pressure off of remembering which employees should be prompted to complete which new hire documents, tasks and forms by leveraging employee onboarding software.

An effective onboarding platform automatically presents the right paperwork, onboarding tasks and training prompts to different new hires based on factors such as their geographic location, FLSA status, security clearance and role type. Because additional to-do items are only presented to new hires and internal onboarding process stakeholders when certain basic prerequisites are already satisfied earlier in the process, the experience for the new hire is positive and stress for the staff member is minimal.

5 – Create inspiration with preparation

It’s stressful enough for a new hire on her first day at a new job in a traditional office. Now imagine how much more awkward a remote employee’s first day on the job can be if the employer is unprepared for her arrival.

Prepare new hires to hit the ground running quickly by sharing a super detailed onboarding plan and training schedule with them before their first day. Include links to your internal knowledge base and make resources for additional learning easy to find and searchable. This written documentation will easily fill the gaps between video conference calls and virtual job shadowing sessions with co-workers.

From a hardware standpoint, outfit new employees with the equipment they need to start work on day one. Your approach to this will vary depending on whether you ship a computer, phone, headset, etc. to your remote employees or have a policy in place that allows them to bring their own device (BYOD) to work. Regardless of your approach, make sure that all equipment and software access follows internal security protocols and that new hires are trained on how to handle secure data and what to do in the event of a breach.

Be sure to give new hires access to relevant communication groups, recurring calendar events and internal online resources in time for their first day–along with instructions or a description of each item’s objective. There’s no quicker way to alienate your remote employees than to forget to add them to your monthly all-hands meeting call, and then interrupt it fifteen minutes in to invite them to join last late.

6 – Tell your culture story

Fostering connectivity can be a struggle in a remote-driven workplace–especially in an organization that has transitioned from a traditional in-person office to a distributed workforce. While veteran employees instinctively understand the core values, mission and unwritten ways of doing things, newly hired remote employees won’t become a thread in the organizational tapestry without understanding its roots and also being prompted to share their own background.

Create a series of videos about key aspects of the company’s past that can be embedded into the onboarding process. Host a monthly company trivia session where employees log into Google Meet or Skype to answer questions and compete for swag.

Telling the organizational story to new hires is a best practice, but savvy employers will also build in the opportunity for its diverse new employees to make their own mark and share their own background. This might be accomplished with a virtual employee directory that features fun facts about new hires; or, occasional “lunch and learn” webinars that invite new employees to do a show and tell about their own city/country or hobbies and interests.

7 – Promote peer mentoring

Mentoring is not a new concept for employee onboarding; however, adopting it as a practice for a remote workforce is an emerging trend. From job shadows with veteran employees in a new hire’s first few days to monthly milestone check-ins with a designated “buddy,” virtual mentoring has a great deal of possibility for remote-friendly workplaces.

When creating a virtual mentoring program, account for factors that may influence likely success between mentor and mentee; such as, time zone difference, job role, interests and behavioral tendencies as evident from an employee assessment.

Take 1-on-1 mentoring a step further and invite mentors and mentees to quarterly tweet-ups or video conferences in which newer hires have a forum in which they can ask questions of mentors in real-time and within a group format. By listening to the questions and answers of peers, as well, new hires will likely shorten their own learning curve.

8 – Make time for face time

When done right, remote work allows employees to focus for longer periods of time without interruption. While distractions may occur in both the office and at home, there’s a distinct difference between immediately responding to someone knocking on your door versus waiting a few minutes to finish a task before responding to an email.

Utilize video conference platforms such as Zoom or GoToMeeting to allow all employees to synchronously connect whenever the need arises. Perhaps your cultural norm is even to ask employees to always use video chat rather than voice-only phone calls when connecting for a meeting. However, when planning such video calls, and to be considerate of potential time zone differences, be intentional with the time allotted to focus on social connectivity rather than just covering things that might be more efficiently discussed via email.

Even in modern, 100% remote first workplaces, there’s a place for in-person interaction. Many employers that have largely distributed workforces still make time at least once per year to gather in person for social connection–as an entire organization. And while this type of event can inflate the company travel line item significantly, that is the tradeoff between having the overhead attributable to a physical office location versus employing a remote first approach. If that approach would break your budget, then consider smaller meetups between departments instead.

9 – Feed off of feedback

Emojis were once reserved for text-happy teenagers lamenting their latest breakup; however, in recent years they’ve earned their place as a remote work mainstay because they help express tone and emotion in a situation that might otherwise omit context for one’s mood.

And while it might still be a stretch for some to include them in email messaging, they thrive in messaging platforms such as Slack. And, they’re particularly helpful in a remote workforce when employees may have never met in person and do not yet understand the nuances of their peers’ personalities. Emojis are one way of leveraging feedback on a micro level so that remote employees can gauge how they’re communicating or performing.

On a macro level, employers hiring remote employees must give and receive feedback early and often throughout the onboarding process.

  • Gather new hire input in the pre-boarding phase to make sure that incoming employees have a firm grasp of the resources available to them to get started.
  • Hold virtual town hall meetings for new hires three months into their employment tenure for ideas on how to improve remote employee onboarding.
  • Make sure that supervisors have a regular cadence of offering constructive feedback to direct reports throughout the first year of employment, especially.

Successful Remote Employee Onboarding

Make your objective to create experiences in which remote employees feel as assimilated and supported as traditional in-office employees. Remember that it will take some experimentation, careful hiring and an open mind. If you don’t get it exactly right the first time, gather feedback to make an adjustment and try, try again!

Download ExactHire's Employee Onboarding Checklist

Indiana Is First to Bar Local ‘Ban the Box’ Ordinances

On April 27, 2017, Governor Eric Holcomb signed Senate Bill 312 (now PL 210-2017) into Indiana law, which will become effective July 1, 2017.  This legislation aims to assist employers who hire within Indiana to have more consistency in the hiring process. Currently, employers must adapt to city, county, municipal and township ordinances that vary in timing as to when or if conviction related questions can be asked to applicants in the hiring process. This legislation ultimately prevents local governments from passing differing versions of Ban the Box legislation throughout the state.  As usual, employers must continue to adhere to state and federal employment laws in their hiring processes.

Employers who hire in Indiana still need to include expungement language when asking about convictions within an employment application to adhere to existing HEA 1482 legislation.  As discussed in this SHRM article, unlike local Ban the Box laws, a state legislature can provide employer immunity or protection if the employer hires an ex-offender and the person commits another crime. According to The National Law Review, SB 312 states that criminal history information regarding an employee or former employee may not be introduced as evidence against an employer in a civil lawsuit based on the conduct of the employee or former employee if the criminal history information does not bear a direct relationship to the facts underlying the civil action, or if the conviction has been sealed, expunged, reversed, vacated, or pardoned, or if the criminal history information relates to an arrest or charge that did not result in a conviction.  With this in mind, the expungement language on the employment application potentially provides an additional layer of defense for claims against an employer.

State employment hiring practices in Indiana, however, will be changing.  Governor Holcomb issued an executive order for state employment that would ban the box regarding convictions until the applicant proceeded to the interview phase of the hiring process. This too, becomes effective July 1, 2017.

ExactHire does not provide legal counsel so if you have questions as to how SB 312 affects your hiring practices in Indiana, please consult your company’s legal team.  If you have any questions or changes regarding your HireCentric ATS employment application, please contact the Support Team at support@exacthire.com.  

6 Learning Benefit Ideas That Won’t Break the Bank in 2017

It’s the end of the year once again. And if you’re like me, you might be reminded of all the things you endeavored to accomplish in 2016…but just didn’t get around to starting/doing/finishing. Especially if any of them were official new year resolutions. And while I failed at some endeavors, but succeeded to form other productive habits, one thing is clear: my ideas with the best chance of success are the ones that take just a little bit of time, not a ton of money and can be easily turned into a healthy long-term habit. Sustainable learning is one such habit that has every chance of being successful–and not just for me.

“What you see depends on where you stand.” – Albert Einstein

Wise words, indeed. Furthermore, consider Isaac Newton’s statement “if I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Gaining new knowledge to broaden our perspective is a great place to start when considering little habits with potentially big impact in 2017. In this blog, I’ll share six learning opportunities you can encourage your employees to utilize in 2017 that range from free to affordable for small and medium business.

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1 – Feed their brains with Feedly

Does the thought of scrolling your email inbox forever strike fear into your heart? Or…gasp!…having to click to view the next page of emails? If I had you at “scroll,” then imagine the liberation of capturing all the compelling blogs/articles from your favorite e-newsletters (that you never have time to read before they pile up in your inbox) in a separate, easy-to-find spot that can be searched anytime? Enter Feedly – your new favorite RSS reader for all the content you don’t want to miss. While Feedly does have paid options if you really want to get into easy content sharing and annotating, I enjoy the free version on my desktop and smartphone app. Make news of this resource available to your team and encourage them to share the insight they gain from staying up on the latest content in your industry.

2 – Never miss a good read

Once you’ve mastered Feedly, you’re bound to run across book reviews and/or interesting quotes from novels that you might like to read as you peruse the latest blog content. Don’t make the mistake of logging a mere mental note to check that book out next time you hit the library or Audible. Instead, create a profile on the free social network for avid book readers, Goodreads. Whether I keep a tab open in my browser or quickly access the phone app, Goodreads is always there for me to quickly categorize a book as “want to read,” “currently reading” or “read [it].” Better yet, by connecting with my peers on the network, I can quickly find books that may appeal to me. In a business setting, fellow co-worker bookworms can share and inspire ideas for goal planning and/or content for in-office book clubs.

3 – Auditory learners have options, too

Not everyone is the type of person to just curl up with a good book or e-reader; however, many more are willing to give listening to books a try. Especially if you have employees with lengthy work commutes, or those who are looking for a distraction during their next workout session, consider offering an optional subscription benefit for an audiobook service like Audible or Scribd. At ExactHire, we have a partial benefit that allows employees to pay only 50% of the cost of a subscription to ebook and audiobook provider, Scribd. We selected Scribd because it is only $8-9/month for three books and one audiobook, yet has an increasingly prolific catalog of business- and personal development-related books from which to choose. Because there is a cost to the employer for this benefit, we ask employees to do the following in exchange for the partial reimbursement:

  • At least once per quarter, write a blog that either reviews a book, or at least references an idea from a relevant book read during that quarter.
  • Share insights gained from books read to inspire new ideas and actions during departmental and strategy planning meetings.
    So, for only about $13.50 per quarter, I get to read and/or listen to as many as 12 different books of my choice…without any waiting lists. I satisfy my work requirement for the quarter, and then catch up on my personal to-read list, too.

4 – Seize the day – get that certification

While the price of obtaining a professional certification will vary depending on the credential one seeks, relative to the cost of tuition reimbursement for an employee, certifications are an affordable learning benefit that allow your teammates to improve their skill set. Some members of the ExactHire team hold various credentials, including HRCI’s PHR/SPHR, SHRM’s SHRM-CP/SHRM-SCP and the Google Analytics certification. In fact, a big congratulations goes out to our very own Darythe Taylor, who earned her SHRM-CP designation last week!

Aside from well-recognized professional certifications, in this world of SaaS software there are myriad providers who certify power users of their own software platforms. So, encourage the administrators of your organization’s key software platforms to explore advanced training and/or certification from your provider(s).

5 – Learn anywhere, any time with Lynda

Need to boost the knowledge base of your white collar workers? Look no further than Lynda.com from LinkedIn to give your team access to unlimited courses about everything from web development to business to design to marketing. Plans start at just $19.99 per month for the basic offering. Or, research and consider other similar services/sites such as Udemy, Codecademy or Khan Academy.

6 – Fingertip fast

Earlier this year, I learned about a free pilot program from Google called Primer. Its promise is easy to digest, marketing-specific training in five minutes or less. While this appeals to me (especially when I’m waiting to pick my kids up from practice and have time to kill on my phone), not everyone is interested in marketing learning. For a broader array of subject matter resources, check out the TED app to catch up on the latest TED talks. With such a wide variety of topics from which to choose, there is bound to be something for everyone on your organization’s team. Who knows, maybe a talk will inspire a rousing debate at the next all hands meeting.

Make accessible learning resources a priority for your workforce in 2017. It’s a great way to engage employees and create a culture that champions development and innovation. Here’s to standing on giants’ shoulders!

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