During a recent discussion I had on flexible work arrangements, the question of “How to identify candidates that can work flexibly?” came up. It was a genuine question as the employer’s intention was to look for those one or two traits that a candidate should possess which would help foster a culture of flexibility in the organisation.
However, I felt that we might be stereotyping candidates by trying to look out for certain traits. In recruitment, we like to hire the best talent for the job; thus, flexible working should be a choice that the employee can exercise. It is well known that teleworking increases staff retention and helps to attract new talent, while for employees, the freedom of controlling their working day and environment reduces the desire to seek employment elsewhere.
Different employees would have different needs when it comes to planning their work day. The real question should be how, as an employer you can help your employees, particularly new hires integrate work-life balance through your organisation’s flexible work arrangements.
Personally, I’ve hired employees from companies without a flexible work culture and I’ve not encountered difficulties in helping them assimilate into a flexi-work environment. To do the same, here are the top tips you can follow:
1. Start early. Candidates usually have to go through multiple rounds of interviews, and in my experience, we use technology early in the recruitment process – from first screening through to final interviews. A successful flexi-work candidate will demonstrate a level of comfort or willingness to adopt technology, and by offering a number of ways to join an interview, the experience can be a seamless and un-daunting one. Some of these options include joining a meeting from home via a cloud-based solution such as Polycom RealPresence CloudAXIS. If the candidate instead comes to the office for an interview, we would then schedule back-to-back meetings with other interviewers who may be based in other regions. In this case, candidates will experience taking a video conference from one of our meeting rooms equipped with a room solution such as the Polycom Group Series.
2. Hands on experience. For every new hire we make, they are equipped with technology solutions for video, voice, and content collaboration. As part of their orientation, they are shown how to use solutions such as Polycom RealPresence Desktop and RealPresence Mobile, and how to have this setup to work from home or on the go. As part of a global organisation, new candidates will also meet their regional counterparts via video within the first two weeks of joining. This is the perfect opportunity for them to get some practice and hands on experience with collaboration technology, and become comfortable with meeting face-to-face with colleagues across any distance.
3. Home setup and video etiquette. There is one major factor that we need to be mindful of – not everyone’s home is “video friendly” and this could be the first time your employee is using video conferencing technology. The key to flexi-working is to make it really “just like being there”, and as with any face-to-face meeting, proper etiquette needs to be followed. Help your employees set up and frame their view, so they are visible and there are no distractions in the background at home. Considerations such as lighting and audio levels also come into play, as do on-screen body language and showing up promptly to a meeting. You can read one of my previous blog posts for more on video etiquette.
In conclusion, a flexible working culture should enable and empower employees to be equally or even more productive than an employee in the office. With advances in technology, meeting and collaboration experiences are rapidly changing to make flexible working a way of life, keeping employees connected and productive no matter where they are.
Would you like to know more about flexible working?