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According to a recent report from FlexJobs, the number of employees who work from home regularly has grown by 115 percent in a little more than a decade — nearly 10 times faster than the overall workforce has grown.

Thanks to today’s technology, employers are able to effectively communicate and collaborate with their employees regardless of where they are located in the world. Couple that fact with rising rent prices and the flexibility of remote work, and it’s no wonder that some organizations are doing away with offices altogether.

However, this move raises some important questions: How does the lack of a central office affect talent acquisition and onboarding? How can you build a positive, strong virtual culture with which prospective and new employees can easily identify? How can businesses help new employees foster relationships with their teammates when they never occupy the same room?

Below, we’ll explore how office-less workplaces can handle some common talent acquisition and management issues:

The Interview

If your company doesn’t have an office, the most ideal option is to fly the prospective employee out to meet the hiring manager before making an offer. Even though the employee would be working remotely, meeting a candidate in person is the best way to gauge culture fit.

If travel is not an option, web conferences and video interviews are a must. The prospective employee should feel as if they’re in the same room with you, as this will make the conversation feel more natural. It is important that the process of connecting via video is easy for the candidate. An inconvenient video interview system will only cast your company in a negative light.

While employees may enjoy the convenience of working remotely, they still desire human connection at work. With no office to showcase, it is critical that HR professionals capture and share the company culture during the interview stage. Establishing an online hub where prospective employees can learn about the company and experience the culture for themselves is one effective way to do this.

Onboarding

The onboarding process for a remote employee can be tricky. During this time, HR professionals need to familiarize the employee with company processes, new colleagues, and the work they will be doing without overwhelming them.

In or out of the office, learning is only as effective as the materials that are available. Training programs for remote employees should be intuitive and easy to follow, and important resources should be clearly and easily accessible.

If you’re onboarding multiple employees at once, setting up virtual training rooms can be beneficial. Doing so will empower employees to connect with each other and learn together, creating a more interactive onboarding process overall.

In addition to connecting new employees with one another, make sure new hires also meet seasoned employees who know the company inside and out. Bonding with established employees is an important component of acclimating to the company culture, and the seasoned employee can also serve as a mentor and guide to the new employee. Ideally, HR professionals will work with department heads to ensure new employees are connected with relevant stakeholders across the company.

Team Bonding and Collaboration

A virtual work environment that fosters feelings of unity and peer-to-peer connection is key to both organizational and individual development. Providing employees with an online space where they can chat with their colleagues about specific projects, organizational processes, and their own careers creates stronger bonds between team members and departments.

At the same time, employees have varying work styles and are at their most productive during different times of the day. These differences often become more evident when people are working remotely, and accommodating these differences can improve performance significantly.

Remote-only organizations are not bound by geographic barriers, but they still have a responsibility to build engaging digital workplaces that make employees feel connected to one another and the company itself. With effective collaboration technology, teammates can work seamlessly together while encouraging each other’s learning and development — all in cyberspace.

Daisy Hernandez is global VP of product management for SAP Jam, SAP’s cloud collaboration platform.



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