Gone Virtual: What HR Pros and Recruiters Really Need to Do to Succeed in a Remote Environment

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HR and recruiting have changed so much because of the pandemic. Perhaps the biggest change of all is that everything has gone virtual.

HR and recruiting, as fields, have always been conducive to virtual work environments, but the COVID-19 pandemic made this virtual work the norm instead of a nice perk. Like professionals across a variety of verticals, many HR and talent acquisition pros who used to work from offices full-time have had to shift to working remotely over the course of the last year. While it’s true that HR and recruiting work can often be carried out from home, transferring key processes like sourcing and interviewing candidates to a virtual environment can be a major challenge — unless you have the right equipment and strategies.

Getting Equipped for Virtual HR and Recruiting

HR pros deal with a lot of personal employee information, which has to be safeguarded. Otherwise, companies can run into a lot of legal — and branding — risks.

Companies are regularly targeted for cyberattacks, and if candidate and employee information were to leak in such an attack, it could be disastrous for an organization. Aside from potential lawsuits and legal liabilities, a company data breach can also irreparably harm a company’s recruiting funnel. What candidate would want to apply to (or work for) an employer that has failed to safeguard applicant and employee data in the past?

In the office, IT and cybersecurity teams usually take care of creating systems to keep employee data safe, but the same is not true when HR pros work from home. However, HR teams can safeguard employee information from their home offices by setting up certain protocols and safety measures.

When working remotely, your home office has to be set up essentially like your business office. Firewalls and administrative protocols have to be updated to ensure systems are secure, and employees have to follow the same security best practices as they would in the office. Any channels used to share information — like Slack, email, etc. — should be thoroughly fortified. Consider working with your IT team to set up clear protocols for the handling of information, including restricted, highly confidential, and unrestricted protocols, depending on the sensitivity of the information at hand.

An Opportunity to Reimagine HR and Recruiting

The shift to remote work may have its risks and challenges, but it hasn’t been entirely bad news. Many HR and recruiting pros have also used this opportunity to rethink the entire HR and recruiting business model. Importantly, remote work represents a chance to get more people cross-trained on more functions, creating a more robust and resilient workforce for the turbulent times ahead.

Check out the latest issue of Recruiter.com Magazine for more career advice and recruiting trends:

In a virtual work environment, with the right technology, colleagues can easily connect and shadow one another to learn about each other’s jobs. For example, through screen sharing, one employee could walk another through the many tasks of a normal day, thereby training that employee in a new function. This cross-training can help a company beef-up any teams that need extra support and cultivate more flexible skill sets among team members.

For recruiting, the pandemic has also served as a bit of shake-up. Many people across the nation lost their jobs due to the pandemic and are now available for hire. The key, as always, is getting the person in the right job. But with so many people on the talent market, that can be harder than you might think.

Many candidates on the market right now do not necessarily have the credentials or experiences they need for the kinds of roles that are open, thanks to the asymmetrical job loss we’ve seen. This can cause a kink in the process of finding talent. Yes, there are more resumes to review, but not enough that are qualified.

One thing recruiters can do is to start thinking outside the box. They can, for example, direct particularly promising candidates to training programs that can help them get ready for these roles. Other recruiters are even rethinking how skill sets from seemingly unrelated fields can be applied to new roles. It takes a little creativity, but it can help make unexpected — and powerful — connections during a tumultuous time in the talent market.

To succeed in HR and recruiting in the new world of work, you’ll need to take a few key steps. First, make sure your home office is as safe and secure as your workplace. Then, take advantages of the unique opportunities offered by this unprecedented moment. HR can spearhead brand new training initiatives that wouldn’t be possible in a physical office, and recruiters can rethink how they connect candidates to companies. The end result may just be an approach to HR and recruiting that is safer and more innovative than what we had before the pandemic.

Dr. Kanya D. Hubbard is owner and operator of Dee Jones, Inc.

Dr. Kanya D. Hubbard is owner and operator of Dee Jones, Inc. She holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from Miller-Motte College and a doctorate in theology from Universal Life Church. She holds several certifications and licenses and has several years of experience in recruiting, staffing, human resources, the medical field, business, and education. Kanya is dedicated to helping people meet their business and recruiting needs by delivering workforce solutions and integrated services and helping clients get work done more efficiently without compromising quality.