Why remote work is a key component of your 2021 recruiting strategy

According to the October 2020 Recruiter Index, remote work will be a critical component of economic recovery across a multitude of industries. In fact, candidates are increasingly inclined to list remote work capabilities as one of the most important factors of a robust job offer (second only to compensation). So, if top talent is looking for a flexible work environment, what does that mean for your company?

Planning for and executing a permanent remote strategy involves coordination across all departments and teams, from payroll and HR to tech and the executive office, and can involve a variety of considerations.

One blog post is not nearly enough space to share everything one needs to know about both the challenges and positive changes that are ahead for managers and executive teams as we transition to a larger portion of the workforce working remotely full time.

But, what we can do is cover a few key takeaways you’ll want to share with your internal team as you think about your 2021 recruiting strategy.

Get your recruiting process right

A vital place to start is the recruiting process: How do you secure top talent while your team is working remotely? 

A clean and straightforward process will help you attract and recruit higher-quality talent. Today’s top candidates won’t waste their time with companies that have messy or ambiguous internal processes as this is a direct reflection of how a company operates in other areas of the business. Therefore, an impeccable candidate experience is critical to your success. 

Building out a well-oiled recruiting ops machine takes a great deal of time and effort, but it’s a critical step to landing better candidates who are invested in your company. And a strong operational workflow will help you do so consistently. At the end of the day, your team’s goal is to close top talent and do it faster than your competitor. So why wait for an elusive “perfect time” to rework your ops game?

Prioritize people and hire a CTO — Chief Talent Officer 

As Scouted’s Co-founder and CEO has shared her expertise on before, the role of a CTO is to ensure all levels of management, starting with the C-suite, are aligned with a unified blueprint for attracting and developing the best possible workforce. This person is a key figure in establishing an overarching company culture.

Questions of whether employees are happy, engaged, growing, productively challenged, connected to mentors: this isn’t just HR’s concern anymore; this is every manager’s concern. And addressing these talent management priorities are integral to the advancement of the business.

Especially in a remote work environment, having a strategic leader who serves as a point person for not only understanding but also navigating the longer-term culture and people goals of the organization is critical to a successful company environment. 

Be ready to share how you’re maintaining company culture

Having a strong corporate culture that ensures overall employee happiness and productivity is crucial, even in the best of times; but it just might also be the key factor that helps companies make the transition to a successful remote workforce, too. 

Providing connection, support, and space to your employees doesn’t have to be an overly involved metier. Implementing things like a morning “hello” in slack or setting aside time for weekly banter will help employees recoup some of their in-office relationships and connections. 

And, don’t forget to prioritize mental health and wellbeing, in whatever capacity makes sense for you and your team. 

Build confidence in your managers

Many of us are learning to manage in a remote environment for the first time — ever. And with this new terrain comes new challenges to navigate and situations to figure out. Helping your management team understand things like the importance of communication, letting people fail, or building trust will ultimately drive a more productive and cooperative place for all.

If your budget allows for it, consider offering management and executives educational courses or career coaching to sharpen your listening and communication skills. Showing managers that you are there to build their skill sets will help them feel more confident in their new remote position. 

Know that cash is not always the key to closing the best candidates 

Financially speaking, it’s been a tough year for many companies. And recruiting and department budgets might be a bit tighter than they were in previous years. But, it’s important to remember that, you can still close top talent on a condensed budget

Scouted’s CEO, Jacqueline Loeb, offers this advice:


“After minimum financial needs have been met, it becomes about tapping into a candidate’s values and motivations, and this is where I see companies constantly fall short: Companies fail to effectively sell the opportunity to the candidate.”

Think about the value-add items outside of the base cash salary. What can you offer a future employee that they can’t find anywhere else? 

DEI efforts are even more important

Just because we are all working from home does not mean that Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts should be sidelined. In fact, being attentive to whether or not you are building and fostering an inclusive culture can be even more important in a remote environment.

The best way to build a team with diverse ideas is to ensure that the team itself is representative of the world we live in. Including people with different life experiences and cultural backgrounds is a key component in bringing different perspectives to the table in a fundamental way. And a team that reflects the diversity of a company’s customer base is more effective in making key decisions, leading to better adaptability, creative solutions, and innovation for the company as a whole.  

And, keep this top of mind: Diversity is not synonymous with inclusivity.

This is a critical distinction that is often lost or overlooked. Spend time with your talent or people team working through the important questions: What can we do to make sure that our employees feel comfortable, stimulated, appreciated, and part of the team? How do we foster inclusive working environments?

Don’t forego the summer intern programming

Given the move to remote work and the uncertainty of where your business might be in the long term (or near term), you might be thinking about cutting your summer or fall internship programs. But, just know that Internship programs are still important – and matter to the success of your company.

Now, more than ever, we need to be intentional and proactive in our curriculum  – and have an explicit plan for the entirety of the internship experience. Attention needs to be paid to connectivity and mentorship that otherwise would naturally come through immersion and proximity. The shift to remote work has changed how we interact with and behave in the workplace, and that will certainly challenge typical internship methods. 

So, yes — implementing a successful internship program will have its challenges. But, if interns were previously a large funnel of new talent for your company, it’s likely worth spending the time and resources to get it right. 

Know that this might be permanent 

And, know that whomever you hire right now remotely just might remain a remote employee.