As companies begin bringing employees back to work, the new normal is sure to look different: working from home more, lower capacity at the office, and less face-to-face communication. These adjustments will be difficult, but company veterans will be able to adapt. For those entering the workforce for the first time, on the other hand, these changes may seem overwhelming.
As a college student set to graduate in 2021, the new normal for recruiting and onboarding has been on my mind. How will companies demonstrate their values if recruiting is done virtually? How will we know if a company is a good fit if we can’t tour the office? Once committing to a company, how will we form relationships with our coworkers? How will we get to know company software if we can’t turn to our office neighbor for advice?
I originally applied for an internship at Workhuman® because I want to work at a company that is doing good for the world. Workhuman’s mission convinced me to apply for the position, but it was the workplace culture that pushed me to accept. I remember immediately feeling at home the first time I came into the office. As I sat in the reception area, countless people smiled and introduced themselves. The office was bright and open and so were the employees. There was energy in the air that made me feel welcome.
Had I applied to Workhuman post-COVID-19, I wouldn’t have had that experience.
Culture is key.
College graduates entering the workforce are looking for a company that brings humanity to work. In fact, a recent study conducted by Deloitte found that “a positive work culture is a top demand of GenZers. When job hunting, over half rated it the most important factor.”
The fight for top talent continues, and recruiters need to find ways to show their culture in a virtual environment. Workhuman’s employer brand manager, Christina Spadaro, reflects, “top talent, especially those in Generation Z, want more than just to punch a clock and earn a paycheck. They care about culture, including how they will be recognized, what kind of team environment they will be a part of, and how the mission of the company aligns with their personal values and goals.”
Although the new normal may seem daunting, there are actions both organizations and candidates can take to keep the humanity in virtual recruitment.
Show, don’t tell.
If potential candidates are unable to visit the office, the next best way to demonstrate workplace culture is through visuals. Consider creating a video that exemplifies your company’s internal culture using pictures or videos from past events. This video should show who works for the company, why they care about their job, and what the company does to appreciate them.
Showing off the company and its humans will give potential candidates a candid look into what they can expect as a member of the organization. Although new graduates are likely to start their position remotely, they will value the opportunity to see what the day-to-day may look like in the future.
Facilitate real conversation.
Interviews allow candidates and recruiters to share their professional sides, but work is about more than just that. People want to bring their whole selves to work, and the virtual recruitment process should take that into account.
One of Workhuman’s recruiters, Jacqueline Mills, explains that “connection and face-to-face interaction is an innate human need” and may be missing in a virtual interview. To tackle that obstacle, consider implementing a virtual meet and greet for applicants to get to know a few employees from around the company. This will give them the chance to ask questions, find commonalities, and connect with potential coworkers on a more personal level.
Taking additional time to have these types of conversations will benefit companies and candidates. Candidates will be able to get to know the personality of the company. For organizations striving for higher employee retention rates, it’s important to recruit people who are aligned with the goals of the organization and feel comfortable bringing their whole selves to work.
Plan for the future.
As some employees transition back into the office, don’t forget about newly hired employees. The transition will likely be a bit nerve-wracking for them. After all, it’s different meeting people on Slack as opposed to the office kitchen. Think about creating a platform where new employees can ask and find answers to commonly asked questions. According to Christina, “employee resource groups provide a huge opportunity for employees to maintain connection and lean on one another.”
Do the research.
A candidate should always do their own research about the company before an interview. Jaqueline suggests potential candidates check out LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and other sites to learn more about a company’s mission and culture. She also suggests preparing questions with the intention of discovering “what the company is like from those you are interviewing with.”
Research is especially important now, with issues of racial and social justice on the forefront of public consciousness. Pay close attention to the content an organization is releasing and what messages that sends about its values.
New graduates may be recruited and onboarded virtually, but eventually people will start going back into the office. Candidates should ask questions about virtual and in-person operations to be better prepared for whatever the future may bring.
Candidates should also reach out to their network. Search LinkedIn for current employees from your university or city and ask them questions about the company culture. Find out what it’s been like working remotely at the company.
Trust your gut.
In the end, both the organization and the candidate should feel like they are a good fit for the position. For candidates, trust your gut. For recruiters and hiring teams, remember your audience. Future business leaders want to work in a place they feel valued, recognized, and welcomed, especially during these uncertain times. Working in a post-COVID-19 world may change day-to-day operations, but one thing it won’t change is the need for more humanity in the workplace.
About the AuthorMore Content by Sarah Bloznalis