The past several years have seen a historically tight labor market, with record-low unemployment and record-high job openings. Attracting and retaining great talent was a herculean task, as organizations fiercely competed against one another to build their teams. Now imagine that, but instead of hundreds of competitors, you’re up against millions of competitors for the same talent. Because that’s what’s about to happen. 

Nearly three in four CFOs plan to shift employees to permanently remote positions post-COVID-19. And many of the most coveted employers—like Facebook, Slack, and Dropbox—are announcing their transitions to remote-friendly workplaces. 

While offering remote work opportunities allows you to recruit candidates from anywhere in the world, those same candidates can now work for a company anywhere in the world. If you want to attract and retain a great remote workforce, it’s crucial that you build a thriving remote culture, and let it be known.

1. Build the foundation of a thriving remote culture

Your remote company culture represents the attitudes and behaviors you expect employees to share, so you may create a similar work environment regardless of location. This begins with defining your core values, and extending them into everything you do at your company. If, for instance, you value curiosity, you may have a robust learning and development program, and encourage employees to try new things.

You should also consider things like:

  • Communication: Lay the ground rules for communication, so everyone is on the same page. If your company is big on collaboration, perhaps you implement core work hours so teams can schedule meetings with ease. Or, if your company places a high emphasis on work-life balance, you may find it better to encourage asynchronous work and flex schedules whenever possible.
  • Employee benefits: Be intentional about the employee benefits you chose for remote employees, and how they align with your values. For instance, Tower Paddle Boards has a 5-hour workday in the summer, aligning with their values which include, “Be fun-loving & social” and ”Be open-minded & think differently.”
  • Processes and policies: Things like a remote work policy and remote employee onboarding process can help provide a consistent employee experience for all remote (and colocated) workers.
  • Technology: The right tech stack can better enable remote work while building your culture. For example, a performance management tool with 360 reviews could help you build a culture of feedback.

2. Measure success and adapt

Regular employee feedback is crucial for creating a thriving remote culture. Conduct regular surveys to learn what you’re doing well, what employees care about, and where you have room for improvement. 

For instance, a longer employee engagement survey may be done a few times each year to learn what may be impacting employee satisfaction and retention. Then shorter Pulse surveys may be used to learn more about problems identified, and to measure progress. 

Feedback is particularly important over the first six months to a year of transitioning to remote work, but there will likely always be room for improvement. Collect feedback however you can—including manager one-on-ones, new hire surveys, and exit surveys—and keep eye on your metrics. Things like a bump in voluntary turnover rates can signal issues with your remote culture, allowing you to adapt quickly. For instance, an increase in your 90-day turnover rate could signal the need for a stronger employee onboarding program.

3. Showcase your remote work culture as a core differentiator

Building an intentional, thriving remote culture can be a huge selling point for in-demand candidates, who have many choices around where to work. Make sure you promote it in a variety of places:

  • Your career site: Include information about your remote culture on your main career page, in job descriptions, or even on a standalone page. 
  • Social media: Encourage and share employee-generated content on social channels, like LinkedIn, Instagram, and Glassdoor. 
  • Press: Share fun details about your remote culture with interested publications, and submit your company for accolades. 

The more content you’re able to produce, the better. Consider employee videos sharing what it’s like to work at your company, blog posts about how you transitioned to remote work, and photos of employee workspaces. This can all help candidates discover your company and consider an opportunity.

Final thoughts on remote culture

The competition for talent is on. Ninety percent of remote workers would like to work remotely at least some of the time for the rest of their careers. But simply offering remote work isn’t enough to win great remote talent when they have so many different opportunities available to them. You have to stand out if you want to win these candidates, and a thriving culture and strong employer brand will help you get there.

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