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Remote recruitment and retention best practices

Recruitment

Recruiting overall goal: Regardless of financial situation or location, every applicant can share their experience, strengths and potential with agencies throughout the hiring process. Those with disabilities are accommodated to remove barriers to participating in the hiring process.

Job posting

Goal: To eliminate barriers in accessing job availability and application for jobs for all potential applicants.

Best practices

  • Create relationships with community partners and other places where people may have internet access or can post potential job information.
  • Host virtual career fairs which target diverse applicants
  • Provide applicants maps to libraries, other free wi-fi near applicant’s location
  • Utilize WorkSource – Find Work Fridays
  • Use recruiting search firms
  • Hire diverse recruiting staff for additional perspectives
  • Use testimonial videos linked to job ads or website
  • Commit to offering permanent telework positions to open up statewide applicant pools
  • Use social media, professional associations, BRGs, associations and groups to build a recruiting network
  • Evaluate applicant pools to determine where improvement is needed for diverse pools
  • Critically review your website to evaluate if recruiting/hiring is prioritized and for accessibility
  • Move "careers" link to the top of page
  • Use unbiased language in job postings

Challenges

  • COVID-19 restrictions enhance accessibility barriers by increasing the need for electronic application and reducing in-person hiring events. This impacts applicant pools, particularly marginalized communities, at a much higher rate.
  • Job posting language and requirements may "bottleneck" the applicant pools
  • Supplemental questions may conflict with job description and goals of filling the position

Resources

Applicant screening

Goal: To eliminate barriers that reduce qualified diverse applicants moving through the applicant screening and selection process.

Best practices

  • Evaluate how diverse/marginalized groups move through the application process – find gaps and address those barriers. This practice is in alignment with State HR Directive 20-02.
  • NeoGov has blind screening coming in the future (take out addresses, names, etc.) to reduce the amount of unconscious bias involved in screening and selection.
  • Make sure the recruiting teams and hiring managers are using competencies to balance experience and education. Don’t exclude anyone that can meet the competencies. Decide if the education requirement is necessary.
  • Competencies are job related behaviors, match skills with evidence of competencies in the applications
  • Intern programs options for less experienced applicants
  • Promote and support informational interviews
  • Tell applicants in advance to keep their camera off; ask the panelists to keep theirs off
  • Create “virtual interview rooms” and offer training and prep to applicants for virtual interviews
  • Consider and try to reduce or mitigate all forms of bias: employment gaps, veteran’s status, name, education, address, etc. equivalencies

Challenges

  • Lack of knowledge surrounding unconscious bias and its effect on the screening and selection process
  • Continued challenges with technology during the screening process. Not being able to log on, etc. This includes the state's continued use of inaccessible technology in processes.
  • No automated ability to "anonymous screen"
  • Pre-screening by phone/Zoom
  • Hiring panels lacking diversity
  • Communication difficulties between recruiter screening and hiring managers (systemic)
  • Gaining larger, more diverse applicant pools that meet minimum requirements

Resources

Interviewing

Goal: To eliminate barriers that reduce qualified diverse applicants moving through the applicant interviewing process.

Best practices

  • Many agencies are looking at committing to more permanent telework positions
  • Provide the questions in advance - the same amount of time for every interviewee.
  • Build in a cushion of more time to assure there is equity between interview candidates in case there are tech difficulties…everyone gets equal time to answer questions
  • Create best practices and require training for panelists around implicit bias
  • Train managers on the importance of diverse panels
  • Consider using DES's Mitigating Implicit Bias in the Hiring Process course.
  • Consider Oregon State’s Search Advocates (two day training): They help mitigate unconscious bias by having a pool of people trained (search committee) that are used across the process.
  • Try other methods (besides testing and interviewing) to evaluate. Use projects, skills evaluation, working problems or scenario question in advance so they can prepare

Challenges

  • Zoom challenges, in-person vs. Zoom, Zoom with no video (black boxes/no faces) - is this ideal? Different dynamic than in-person
  • Webex, Zoom, MS Teams – disruption to tech, the interview, makes it hard for applicants to concentrate on answers/responses
  • Post-pandemic, will remote interviewing be optional? Or do we have to make it the same for everyone?
  • What will be the method moving forward? If it's hybrid what will that look like?
  • Getting the panel trained/on the same page with competency/behavior-based interview goals
  • Selecting a diverse panel

Resources

Reference checking

Goal: To obtain quality reference checks that verify the candidate possesses those competencies that are established as needed in the competency/behavior-based interview process.

Best practices

  • Follow the same guidelines as a competency/behavior-based interview to verify the competencies identified in the interview. This means asking about examples of real accomplishments, challenges and behaviors, rather than asking hypothetical questions. "How did they ..." instead of, "How do you think they would ..."
  • Rely on professional instead of personal references

Challenges

  • Knowing the difference between a reference check and a job verification. A job verification confirms employment, while a reference check often includes additional information such as achievements, strengths, performance, and behavior in the previous job. 

Resources

Retention

Retention overall goal: Regardless of financial situation or location, every applicant can share their experience, strengths and potential with agencies during their employment. Those with disabilities are accommodated to remove barriers to participating in the workplace.

Onboarding

Goals:

  • Hiring managers are equipped with a variety of best practices so new hires/promotions, particularly in remote locations, feel connected, engaged, and welcome over the first year of employment.
  • Hiring managers are equipped with a variety of best practices to support an inclusive work environment where new employees/promotions are able to bring the best version of themselves to the job and contribute productively as soon as possible to the mission.

Best practices

  • Review engagement data using the Statewide Employee Engagement Survey dashboard; include demographic analytics. Use this to address potential sources of disengagement in the onboarding process.
  • Connect new employees to the Statewide Business Resource Groups (BRGs) during the New Employee Orientation process.
  • Create a sustainable/accessible long-term onboarding resource webpage/sharepoint for managers and new employees.
  • Use a welcome interview to set the groundwork for ongoing conversations.
  • Create an "Ambassador/mentor/buddy" structured system
  • Assign "Zoom-work buddies," - each day have one staff work with new employee for 2 hours, so when they have quick questions they can ask right then. Reduces the feeling of isolation and gives a chance for "get to know you" moments.
  • Give each employee a 15-minute "water-cooler" set time once a week for the first month or so.
  • Establish a "water-cooler" support group for employees to share best practices around working at home with school-age children, enjoying time with pets, etc. to help make connections. 
  • Asking onboarding employees to take pulse surveys from HR once a week for 12 weeks to see how their experience is going, and gather suggestions for improvement.
  • Conduct "Stay interviews" at the 30-day point (critical) and 6 months.
  • Ground initial professional development conversations in strengths-based competency development (the same competencies used in the interview), and continue development and performance metrics for retention.
  • Ensure people aren’t separated for lack of skills/knowledge which the agency should be providing through training, but that they are separated for job-related behaviors-competencies
  • Use a new employee orientation buddy program where new employees are paired with a current employee to assist with those day-to-day questions, tasks, and to assist with orienting them to the agency culture.

Challenges

  • Needing to change the poor historical practice of short-term onboarding “sink or swim” mentality.
  • A command-and-control management practice which is at odds with modern data-based engagement model and practice.
  • Historical budget models do not support time to interact with employees (1:1s). Not allowed or discouraged use of 1:1 time.
  • Challenges to provide social connection remotely or even in-person, which leads to isolation issues
  • Technology (Zoom etiquette, fatigue, bandwidth)

Resources

Development practice

Goal: Managers are equipped with a variety of training, best practices and resources, to prioritize retention through development strategies in the employee lifecycle, particularly in remote environments.

Best practices

  • Consider reviewing and integrating SHRM's Engagement recommendations
  • Making sure connection happens
  • Consider personal values alignment activity
  • Coaching and career development
  • Support and reinforce the State’s Employer of Choice RAMP model – (Relationships, Autonomy, Mastery, Purpose) in long-term onboarding practice
  • Support operationalizing relationship building at work
  • Connect new employees to the BRGs. (agency and statewide)
  • Practice coaching 1:1 – in remote environments it is more difficult to connect, especially if not using video. Be intentional.
  • Discussions, not questions. For example: What are three developmental areas you are interested in? What steps have you taken? Use SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-based) goals as a way to coach with encouragement. Identify what goals they want. Not just what they need.
  • Make an agency newsletter about developmental trainings available
  • Create conversations around career pathways and find ways to support, even if that means the current position is a stepping stone to something else. Change mindset to manage to current reality - few employees will stay long-term. That’s not a realistic expectation in modern career-building. If we want a growth mindset in our employees, we have to support a growth mindset environment and expectations.

Challenges

  • A command-and-control management practice that is at odds with modern data-based engagement model and practice.
  • Historical budget models do not support “time” to interact with employees (1:1s). Not allowed or discouraged use of 1:1 time.
  • Often contingent on the employee knowing what they want. Hard for employees to know what they need and they may be afraid to ask for it when they figure it out.
  • Managers fail to realize the importance of career development as a primary engagement factor and find ways to support the employee.
  • Managers don’t know how to "coach" someone to development goals. Just doing a SMART action plan isn’t enough.
  • Managers don’t coach to individual needs.
  • Goals don’t end up being set by the employee, the manager tells them what they need to do – no discovery, no buy-in.

Resources

Performance and evaluation practice

Managers are equipped with a variety of training, best practices and resources, to prioritize retention through performance strategies in the employee lifecycle, particularly in remote environments.

Best practices

  • Support and reinforce the State’s Employer of Choice RAMP model – (Relationships, Autonomy, Mastery, Purpose) in long-term onboarding practice
  • Operationalizing relationship building at work
  • Connect new employees to the BRGs (within agencies and statewide)
  • Have discussions, not questions. Ex: What the three developmental areas you are interested in? What steps have you taken? SMART action coaching style with encouragement
  • Self-identified goals are important here as well. Need to clearly outline expectations but also have other ideas and goals. Optional sections are often left blank, but these are really important to fill in and have a conversation. These impact an employee’s sense of purpose
  • Servant leadership style/person-centered practice ... make support and expectations clear. Need to see measured progress.
  • 1:1s needs to be a blend of performance and development conversations to build trust and engagement with manager
  • DEI competency evaluation as part of the annual performance evaluation – consider tiered progression, starting with supervisors. How are they managing those conversations?

Challenges

  • Many employees want to know how to get on career paths but do not understand how they can connect in their own agency or how it might connect across the state.
  • A command-and-control management practice that is at odds with modern data-based engagement model and practice.
  • Historical budget models do not support time to interact with employees (1:1s). Not allowed or discouraged use of 1:1 time.
  • Remote management creates more distance from conflict or performance concerns – "out of sight out of mind" mentality.
  • Strain from COVID pressures may impact a manager's time and ability to support teams effectively.
  • Little or no recognition for good performance.
  • Managers are too process-centric, not balancing people and process

Resources

Last updated
Thursday, June 24, 2021
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