Telecommuting has been rapidly on the rise in recent years. Mostly, it’s because advances in communication, data sharing, and other technologies make it ever easier and more cost-effective to get things done without team members having to be in the same location. And, as this happens, we keep realizing there are more and more good reasons to hire remote workers.
Of course, telecommuting isn’t right for every business, job, employer, or employee or contractor. For example, sometimes physical presence is required to perform certain functions, some processes just work best when everyone’s in the same building, and some people don’t do their best work when they’re physically isolated from the rest of the team or some form of supervision.
But if you’ve determined that certain positions can be filled by off-site staff, there are a number of compelling reasons to hire remote workers in these instances. If they outweigh any foreseeable drawbacks, it makes sense to avail yourself of this option.
Here’s a quick look at just some of these reasons to hire remote workers.
Benefits of Hiring Remote Workers
- Telecommuters reduce overhead expenditure. Cutting down on the number of people you have to support on site can mean less required space, reduced equipment needs, fewer office supplies and pieces of furniture, less utility consumption, and other savings.
- Remote workers are more productive. What once seemed counterintuitive is now accepted as fact, thanks to study after study. While not everyone thrives working from home, those well suited to it are considerably more productive, largely thanks to the lack of common workplace distractions (and also because telecommuters are extra concerned about avoiding the appearance that they slack off). Furthermore, because of increased flexibility and not needing to go into the office, telecommuters take fewer sick days and less paid and unpaid time off.
- You have access to a wider pool of talent. If you’re not limited to hiring people within commuting range of your site, and can instead work with people anywhere in the country or the world, obviously you have exponentially more candidates to choose from. For positions that call for a highly specialized skill set, this can be a particular boon. It’s also easier to achieve greater diversity in your workforce this way.
- Telecommuters are happier. Working from home offers employees plenty of benefits. They’re spared the hassle and costs (monetary and time) of commuting, they can work in their pajamas from the comfort of their own home, they have more flexibility, and so on. This is another reason for increased productivity, and it also means higher quality work, more positive representation of your brand, and less employee turnover (and with it, less wasted time and money).
- It’s an eco-friendly approach to doing business. Commuting makes a massive carbon footprint in America, especially in areas where most workers don’t use public transportation. Every commute you eliminate reduces gasoline consumption and environmentally harmful vehicle emissions. A green approach is good for the Earth, and it demonstrates corporate responsibility, appeals to consumers, and appeals to employees—especially younger talent.
Often, busy HR professionals and hiring managers rely on quickly written or cookie-cutter job ads when they need to fill a position at their company. While creating job ads may seem like a place to prioritize efficiency, this approach typically ends up in considerably more wasted time due to the number of responses from applicants that aren’t a good fit for any number of reasons.
Instead, spend more time up front crafting an accurate and informative job title, job description, outline of expectations and qualifications, required and desired skills and experience, and explanation of the company culture. It’s a smart investment of your time and effort, because the resulting job ad will bring in more applications from candidates who are a good fit, and fewer from those who aren’t.
So, here are some tips for writing job ads that attract strong candidates. Use them to reduce the pile of resumes you must sort through and interviews you must conduct before honing in on that perfect person for the job and for your organization.
How to Write Job Ads to Get the Right Applicants
- Start by thinking about what your ideal candidate wants. As in any type of advertising, you’ll be most successful if you speak directly to your target audience, in their language. You must be truthful, of course, but choose your words and what information you include deliberately to appeal to the perfect person for the position. What do they want to know about the job, what do they want to do in their role, and why are you the right place for them to take the next step in their career?
- Conduct a job analysis before writing the job description. While you probably don’t want to try including an exhaustive list of all responsibilities and tasks, it’s important that you have a solid sense of what’s involved. Talk to the person currently in the position if there is one, and/or to employees who will be supervising and working directly with the new hire.
- Discuss your company culture. How well employees fit in with your culture and values has a great deal to do with your turnover rates and overall success. While it’s helpful to say a bit about what you do in the “About Us” section of your job ad, give potential applicants a solid sense of whether they’ll feel comfortable in the environment and proud to work for you.
- Use a descriptive job title, rather than employing generic terms like “Associate.” The job title is, of course, the first thing most people see when perusing job ads. As such, it has a lot of influence over who decides to read your ad in its entirety and who keeps scrolling along. Keep the title honest, though; never make a job sound more senior than it is. Avoid using creative or unusual words or titles, as people are much less likely to find your job ad via search if you do.
- Identify the big-picture role the candidate will play. Before getting into all the job details, explain where this position fits into the company’s broad mission. Make it clear how the employee or contractor will move the company toward its goals, and what ultimate value they need to bring to the organization to be successful in this.
- Describe the responsibilities and expectations. This doesn’t mean you have to list every task that will be performed, though it’s a good idea to at least convey the primary ones. But rather than getting bogged down in specific tasks, clarify what the person in this role is expected to accomplish on a larger scale. This helps give candidates a better idea of whether this is a role they want, and whether they are truly qualified for it.
- Lay out the requirements for the job. Tell potential applicants exactly what they must have in terms of skills and experience to be considered for the position. Stick to things that are non-negotiable, though. For example, don’t say they must have a degree if you prefer it, but are willing to consider an experienced candidate without one (as so often happens); you may deter a lot of excellent applications this way.
- Address the “nice-to-haves.” Every employer has certain qualifications and traits they’d like to see in their candidates, but that aren’t required to be hired or to succeed in the job. This may be because they can be learned on the job, there are suitable alternatives, or they simply aren’t essential to the position. Regardless of the reasons, do include information about “bonus” qualifications, as they make it more likely that the job ad will compel your perfect candidate to apply, and they also help people get a more well-rounded sense of the job.
- Outline the benefits of working for you. To be matched with the perfect candidate, you have to sell your company just as much as the candidate will have to sell him or herself. While everyone appreciates things like a “competitive salary,” PTO, and health and retirement benefits, go beyond this (but again, keep it honest). Benefits like professional development opportunities, paid travel, regular happy hour get-togethers, catered lunches, paid gym memberships, and others that show that you invest in your employees’ happiness and well-being are guaranteed to help attract top talent. Don’t overlook them when writing job ads.
We all know that it’s against the law to discriminate against people based on their age in hiring and employment practices. But we all know that it happens anyway, even if it only occurs subconsciously in many instances.
And we all know that ageism in the workplace has only gotten worse as digital technology has become more integrated into more jobs. While older employees were once highly valued for traits like their personal and professional experience, their breadth and depth of knowledge, their work ethic, their professionalism, and their likelihood of staying with the company longer, they’ve increasingly become seen as a liability for not being as well-versed or adaptable in the realms of digital tech as Gen Xers and especially Millennials.
Of course, these are stereotypes. As such, there may be some truth to them at times, but more importantly, they’re an unfair way of judging people that can easily lead to poor decisions.
The reality is, it’s well established that a diverse workforce is a more innovative, productive, engaged, and happy one. This doesn’t just mean having a good gender balance, people of different ethnicities, and individuals from different walks of life, though; it also means having a mix of people of different ages and yes—even entirely different generations.
So, here are some ways to promote age diversity at your organization and for avoiding ageism in hiring practices. They’re not intended as any sort of accusation; as mentioned above, age discrimination often happens without your even being aware of it, not as a result of conscious, deliberate choices. These tips should help reduce or eliminate inadvertent ageism.
How to Hire a More Age-Diverse Workforce
- Include age in your diverse hiring strategy. While many businesses have formal or informal plans, practices, statements, and objectives set out for diverse hiring, these often don’t make any mention of age.
- Mention age diversity in your job ads, too. This helps age diversity stay top-of-mind for human resources personnel and hiring managers, but it also helps encourage applications from older job candidates.
- Watch out for ageist language in job ads. Certain terms and phrases can have a deterrent effect on older applicants, and may even make your organization sound ageist. For example, “digital native” is a popular one these days. Similarly, language like “energetic” and “fresh ideas” read like synonyms for “young” to older job seekers.
- Use language that values older workers in job ads. Certain words and concepts reassure older job seekers that they’ll be given fair consideration. For example, emphasizing things like long-term experience, a culture of mentoring, the ability to work independently, or leadership abilities speaks to candidates with decades of work history.
- Don’t cap how many years of experience you’re looking for. Sure, it frequently makes sense to say you want someone with “at least 3 years of experience.” But if you say you want someone with “3 to 5 years of experience,” that upper limit turns away a lot of older people with more experience who assume you only want someone younger.
- Refrain from asking for birth dates or graduation dates on applications. This signals an interest in age, and it also creates an easy opportunity for subconscious age discrimination during the process of sorting through the applications.
- Don’t only look for new hires where you mostly find young people. Career fairs at colleges are a great source for new talent, but don’t overlook job fairs hosted by municipal, job placement, faith-based, and other organizations. Consider listing job ads in the local newspaper. Also, be careful about only advertising jobs on social media networks.
- Avoid getting too hung up on specific tech tools. If you’re overly focused on how much experience job candidates have with a particular software program, app, or other tool, you’ll automatically weed out older candidates. Stay focused on the real skills that matter.
- Use imagery of older adults. Make sure they’re pictured on your website, in your marketing collateral, and elsewhere in organizational materials. This sends a clear signal that you have an age-inclusive company.
- Steer clear of stereotypes and assumptions. Just because an applicant is in his or her 50s or 60s, that doesn’t mean they’re no good with technology. It also doesn’t mean they hope to retire soon, or that they do things more slowly, or that they’re “overqualified” or not genuinely interested in the job, etc.
- Don’t be skeptical about why an older worker would look for a new job. This is especially true if it seems like they’re taking a step down from their current or last position. There are plenty of good reasons for wanting a change, wanting to get “unstuck,” wanting to get back to actually doing work they now only supervise, and so on.
- Be careful of the “culture fit” trap. Company culture is hugely important. But it doesn’t mean assembling teams of people who are all the same in any demographic sense. It’s about values, approaches to decision-making, definitions of success, and other meaningful attributes. Don’t get caught up in thinking that older individuals wouldn’t fit in with your culture because of their age—or in using that as an excuse not to interview or hire them.
As many as 15 to 20 million jobs are filled by temp workers at any given time in the US. And long gone are the days when temps only held entry-level and highly generalized positions; today, they perform even the most specialized jobs and take on executive-level roles for companies of all sizes, across all industries.
This is because employers have increasingly caught on to the many compelling reasons to hire temporary workers.
Of course, temp staff isn’t always the right fit. Every business must take a close look at their specific needs at the moment and in the foreseeable future. Temporary help is only one option, along with others like independent contractors, contract-to-hire, and direct-hire part-time or full-time employees.
Below are some of the best reasons to hire temporary workers, which can help you decide whether this is the appropriate route for filling current openings at your organization.
Benefits of Temp Workers
- Fill temporary vacancies without stressing other resources. An employee’s temporary absence (e.g., illness, maternity leave, extended vacation, helping out at another location) may create a need for a defined period. Expecting existing staff to pick up additional responsibilities can tax them, affecting their job performance and satisfaction. Temp workers are often a perfect solution in these situations.
- Respond flexibly and scalably to fluctuating staffing needs. Many companies experience changes in the number and types of employees they need by season, with new or completed projects, and other factors. Hiring temporary workers lets you meet increased demand while avoiding waste when there isn’t enough work to justify the payroll expenditure.
- Evaluate potential permanent employees with no commitment. It’s standard practice to start out with a trial period (often 90 days), but hiring into a permanent position creates expectations and can lead to uncomfortable situations—and concerns about documenting solid reasons for firing. Temp workers can be trialed without these issues, and you can resolve problems easily with a call or email to your staffing agency.
- Keep things moving while you look for the perfect fit for the job. When hiring, it can be difficult to balance the desire to hold out for that one ideal candidate and the need to fill the position. One of the most overlooked reasons to hire temporary workers is to buy time to find, hire, and onboard the right person without letting the work go undone—or be handled by someone whose time and attention should be directed elsewhere.
- Hire help more cost effectively. A staffing agency sends you pre-qualified job candidates, cutting down significantly on your need for in-house interviewing and vetting. This extra layer of professional screening also helps ensure you get the right person for the position. Additionally, temporary workers are often more affordable in terms of salary, because you’re not providing benefits, and because HR/payroll matters are handled by the staffing agency.
Although big data and artificial intelligence continue to transform the recruiting industry, professionals have less trust in AI than in human recruiters, according to a survey released today by a new survey by executive search firm Korn Ferry International Inc. (NYSE: KFY).
While nearly three quarters of those surveyed, 72%, said AI should be used during the recruitment process, more than two-thirds, 68%, said it wouldn’t be fair if AI alone chose who should be interviewed without the input of a human recruiter.
Forty-one percent said they feel uncomfortable dealing with AI instead of a human recruiter as part of the process; 76% said they trust AI less than a person to guide the job search process.
“AI, when coupled with machine learning, is an incredibly strong tool in the journey to source and select the most qualified candidates, but it’s just that, a ‘tool,’” said Matt Heckler, general manager of global client platform solutions at Korn Ferry. “The best recruiters use big data and AI to free time by automating tasks such as sourcing. This gives the recruiter more time to focus on what matters: creating and filling roles that help organizations fulfill their strategic agenda.”
The professionals surveyed reported the top benefit of working with a recruiter is the ability to build strong relationships. While 90% of respondents said technology cannot replace the human interaction required to recruit effectively.
Respondents did cite benefits of using AI in the recruiting process. When asked what they value most from AI being used in recruiting, 30% said it makes the process go faster; and a quarter believe it helps take bias out of the equation.
“As AI continues to become part of our everyday lives, we can expect to see an increase in the adoption and integration of this emerging technology to help talent acquisition professionals be even more efficient and effective,” Heckler said. “From freeing up time for strategic thought and relationship building to helping talent acquisition professionals better understand their markets, the intelligent use of technology provides an exciting path for the recruiter of the future.”
The survey was conducted in late May 2018 and included 431 professionals across a range of industries.
Credit: Korn Ferry and SIA
The millennial generation is fast approaching the top of the list for the American workforce over Generation X and Baby Boomers. Like it or not, millennials and their nuances will shift the global workforce as we know it with their new ideas and an overall lack of interest in traditional corporate structures. At the risk of boxing in an entire generation of human beings, it is safe to say that this group does share a similar set of attitudes that are shaking things up in the workplace. All of the attributes that make this generation potentially great are the same ones that are making life difficult for employers.
There is no lack of opinion or of corporate studies and reports about the nature of these digital natives. Blame often lands on the parents for their helicopter approach. This may have led this generation to need a coach rather than a ‘boss’. They don’t want to see a division of power because they want all of the decision-making power upfront. As children they were taught that they were equal with adults as early as kindergarten, that they deserved respect and input before they had any life experience to back it up. While this attitude may seem harmless, it may have left permanent mark of entitlement. Others point to the college campuses, where admins are allowing “safe places” to shield students of uncomfortable topics. Campus complaints include parent phone calls to professors concerning grades that any young adult should have already learned how to address on one’s own.
This is the most diverse, educated, tech savvy, and entrepreneurial-minded generation yet. Shouldn’t we be celebrating the possibilities? But, the possibilities have always been endless for this group. Technology has altered how we focus and what we pay attention both in good and bad ways. This speaks to the root of the problem when it comes to the lack of dedication millennials can give to one project. Twenty percent of milllennials are in creative fields and many have small, personal businesses on the side to make additional income. They have financial back-up plans coupled with a general lack of loyalty to one company and while employers are dealing with a faster than average shift in how business is conducted.
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There is a reported lack of follow through and absenteeism that make up just a few of the consistent complaints from employers. The largest group in our workforce is demanding a new work life balance and has grown up with technologies and social media. Subsequently they communicate differently, preferring to email and text while avoiding face-to-face communication. Employers have made concessions by allowing more flexible schedules, flailing attempts to create cultures that are hip and ‘Google’-like to attract talent, and but are slow to supply the upgrades that enable the tech communications that millennials want.
In a world where the likelihood of your current position being taken by a robot in the next 20 years is quantifiable, this is simply not just a case of supply and demand where people need jobs and companies need workers; so who has the upper hand? The individuals who are hiring and managing the millennials are often Generation Xers that have had to adapt at a nonstop level to a changing environment and have done so without the coaching the millennials expect. Employers want workers who can face a challenge and get things done while learning to compromise on the rate of growth one can expect at any given company.
This generation expects and demands a new type of relationship with the employer and with work, one that they are already accustomed to and is unwilling to give up easily. Both sides have to reconcile with each other’s interests and values.