In our FIRST LinkedIn Live Strategy Session, Joey dove into what companies are doing during quarantine, including new company norms (like meeting all the fur babies) and serving customers screen-to-screen while working from home. Joey chatted with Michael Sharelis, Graham Gill, Erica Gardner, and Jason Callison.
“It’s a little different to hop on a video and to see somebody in a ball cap or somebody in the background, a dog barking,” Jason Callison, Director of Development at SURETY, shared. “It’s actually created a more personable interaction with customers that you tend to just have this very professional front.”
Breaking down barriers
The pandemic has inspired businesses to get creative and more strategic with their hiring process, their employee interactions, and the way managers conduct meetings. Companies that once huddled up employees in conference rooms now organize conference calls and virtual check-ins.
With employees working from home, traditional work barriers have been flipped upside down. Employees are talking about their mental health more. Managers have become more cognizant of what’s going on with their team and how they can help shift the culture in a positive way to better balance work time and personal time.
“I think that’s broken down some of the business barriers and you realize that folks aren’t just putting on an act when they’re sitting in front of the screen,” Graham Gill, VP of Customer Success at Accent Technologies, said. “They’re real people. They’re worried about their kids. They’re worried about their paycheck. They’re worried about getting through their workload. I think a biproduct of all of this is that we’ve seen a little bit more natural communications that has gone away in the last 10 to 15 years.“
Training the team at home
On top of breaking business barriers, managers have also learned how to train new employees virtually. This presented a unique challenge to make sure first-time managers have all of the materials they need to succeed, while also making sure employees working with that manager stay on track with company goals and tasks using customer service-focused software.
“What we’ve been able to do is help those companies take those products and move from the traditional brick and mortar and use quality assurance now in a more work-from-home model. We’ve seen more of a focus on communication,” Michael Sharelis, Director of Sales at Playvox, said.
Pausing the hiring process can be temporary for companies
While some companies have put the brakes on hiring new employees, this gives them the opportunity to focus on strengthening their existing team and recruiting for positions with a longer hiring process.
“Coming from a small business perspective, we’ve paused all hiring,” Erica Gardner, Head of Recruiting at Beep Inc., said. “We definitely still have roles that need to be filled, but we’ve pretty much scaled it all the way down to…we are only actively recruiting for shuttle attendant positions because that is somewhat of a long recruiting process. The last thing we wanted to do was kill the pipeline and have to start all over again.”
During a hiring freeze, recruiters and HR professionals can keep the pipeline warm by staying in touch with candidates. Calling potential candidates, sending them a personal email or links to resources that might help them in that moment can help maintain the relationships they’ve worked so hard to build.
When the company begins hiring again, they’ll be able to reach out to those candidates they’ve established relationships with in a way that seems natural rather than a random check-in.
Creating opportunities for companies to grow
For companies ramping up their hiring process, remote work offers a great opportunity to grow their team with the skilled, self-motivated employees who can get the job done from anywhere.
“The pandemic has certainly created a lot of challenges for everyone, but it’s also created opportunities, especially when it comes to recruiting,” Jason said. “Companies that are experiencing growth and success like we are, there’s an opportunity to be very strategic, expanding your team with qualified people. “
Companies can find talented candidates who aren’t actively looking for a job but are interested in expanding their skill sets.
“We think there might be an opportunity to find candidates that aren’t typically looking in the market that would maybe entertain a position in a company like ours that has maintained a strong financial position. That’s something worth exploring,” Jason said.
Promoting a flexible work environment
A major positive about virtual interviews, remote coworking, and serving customers virtually is that people are in their home environment with more activities going on in the background.
“There’s also the empathy for the clients and customer,” Graham said. “Not everything is business. In the past, if a cat or a kid or heater or air conditioning would turn on, everyone would get all jumpy. Now, it’s the new norm.”
There are less suits and ties, more t-shirts and sweatpants, virtual backgrounds, and things happening at home (cue the kids and the pets). Employers and hiring managers have become more understanding with this type of environment, helping them choose the best candidates and customers through meaningful virtual conversations.
“You’re getting a different much better taste of everybody’s personalities by seeing them in their home environment,” Joey said. “Everyone’s a little more comfortable. Everyone’s opened up, let their guard down, which is nice in a lot of ways.”
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