Many businesses recognize the shifting expectations of job seekers and their growing desire for remote and hybrid work to create greater work-life balance. As of now, 13% of full-time employees work remotely, but this number is expected to rise to 22% across industries by 2025. Similarly, 28% of full-time employees already work under a hybrid work configuration, but the total number of hybrid workers is expected to rise to 39% by the end of 2023 alone.
Hiring remote employees provides a host of benefits to organizations, including access to an expanded talent pool, increased employee satisfaction, improved productivity, and a significant decrease in overhead costs. Of course, most organizations preparing to update their hiring and work configuration practices have questions about how to hire remote employees, how to leverage digital tools for hiring remote staff, and how to onboard remote employees to ensure early productivity, consistent communication, and alignment with existing company culture.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll offer all of the resources you need to hire remote staff, exercise best practices for hiring remote workers, and ensure remote work compliance when negotiating hiring, payroll, cross-jurisdictional taxes, and other concerns.
Benefits of Hiring Remote Workers
The growth of remote work has enabled businesses to hire contractors and employees outside of a restrictive geographical area. It has also allowed employers to incentivize employees to relocate for a hybrid position based on opportunities for partially remote work, as well as other benefits and perks. This increased hiring flexibility leads to greater access to top talent – hiring the best candidates regardless of where they live, and increasing job accessibility for parents, caretakers, individuals with disabilities, and even existing employees who must adapt to shifting life circumstances.
In this sense, hiring remote workers is also an investment in employee retention and employee satisfaction. Recent research indicates that hybrid employees experience more job satisfaction, well-being, and less burnout than fully in-office employees, and remote employees experience these health and job satisfaction benefits to an even greater degree than hybrid employees. Hiring remote workers can help your organization secure a consistent, stable, and engaged workforce with greater loyalty and productivity when compared to a full-time in-office workforce.
By employing more remote workers, your business also reduces costs related to operating a physical location (everything from utilities to building maintenance and commuting costs). Along the way, if unexpected circumstances occur – the COVID-19 pandemic as a recent example – a remote workforce that is accustomed to operating with greater autonomy is more likely to ensure continued best practices for your business.
Remote workers are generally more productive than hybrid and fully in-office counterparts, partially due to increased focus, lessened distractions, and decreased stress in their working environment. Even so, employers need to support remote workers with strategies to maintain this increased productivity, often beginning at the onboarding phase, which we’ll discuss in a later section.
Challenges of Remote Work – Ensuring Streamlined Payroll, Taxes, and Compliance
Although there are major benefits to hiring remote workers and employees, it’s important to consider the practical and legal dimensions of the process, namely how to manage payroll, compliance, cross-jurisdictional taxes, and related concerns. Working with a qualified HCM provider can help you address all of the following remote work needs:
- Payroll Processing & Compliance – Managing payroll processing not only includes automating withholdings and addressing accounting concerns, but keeping your organization compliant with all regulations that relate your business based on size, jurisdiction, industry, and the residential/working location of each employee.
- Remote Employee Taxes – Although federal taxes tend to be simple for remote workers and employees, navigating local, county, and state taxes for remote workers can be challenging based on the wide variation in jurisdictional requirements. We offer the tools and professional support to simplify tax filing for remote workers and employers.
- Employee Classification – Sometimes employers and remote workers misunderstand the distinction between employees and independent contractors, leading to financial or legal penalties for misclassification. Regardless of the range of workers within your organization, it’s important to articulate any new hire’s employment status in writing and to align tax calculations and filings with those details.
- Remote Recruitment, Hiring, Onboarding, and Workforce Management – From posting compelling job advertisements to screening and onboarding new hires, working with a qualified HCM provider can help your organization attract top talent, onboard new hires to support early productivity, and support performance evaluations post-hire.
Best Practices for Hiring Remote Workers
Hiring remote workers supports improved productivity, employee retention and lower overhead costs. Even so, it sometimes requires a more nuanced strategy to attract top talent, thoroughly screen candidates, conduct digital onboarding, and help new hires feel valued and integrated with your overall workforce.
Remote Recruitment Strategies
It’s important for employers to consider how to best source and attract top talent while competing with other organizations. This process begins with formulating a compelling and detailed job posting that deeply explores and articulates job expectations while highlighting the many advantages of the position: improved work-life balance, any applicable benefits/perks, and a description of the tools or processes your business uses to support remote work. Emphasizing your organization’s investment in the well-being of employees and how remote work aligns with company values can also increase interest in the open position.
Often, it’s best to utilize specialized job boards and websites that exclusively cater to candidates seeking remote work in your business’ industry. If you can make job postings available (or simply introduce your business) on social media platforms, groups, or forums where remote workers connect, this can also help your business find qualified candidates. Of course, in addition to these more targeted approaches, it’s also useful to speak with your current team members about potential candidates, or to contact former high-performing employees/contractors who previously worked in an in-office capacity. In both cases, potential hires could be incentivized by the promise of increased workplace flexibility and remote work configuration.
Screening & Evaluating Remote Work Candidates in a Virtual Setting
Since any newly hired remote worker will be managed outside of a conventional office setting, it’s essential to seek out, identify and confirm characteristics that make an applicant an ideal fit for remote work. This could include all of the following qualities:
- Autonomous and self-motivated – The ability to operate independently and productively without the need for micromanagement or regular reminders/guidance regarding tasks, projects, or long-term goals.
- Capable of communicating well using digital tools – Whether it’s by email, messaging software, or video calls, your potential employee should feel comfortable and capable of communicating using software and other digital tools.
- Adaptable – Due to the nature of the work configuration, your remote employees should be slightly more flexible about working odd or additional hours as needed to support business operations during peak seasons or under other exceptional circumstances.
- Organized and Efficient – Potential remote employees should be diligent and reliable in terms of time management, meeting deadlines, and setting reasonable work-life boundaries to stay healthy, productive, and engaged with the business’ key goals.
Once you’ve selected promising candidates, the virtual interview process should be conducted using a videoconferencing tool that is comfortable and convenient for both you and the candidate, ensuring accessibility and smooth communication during the call.
The qualities we’ve listed above should be the focal point of the interview and the basis for many of the interview questions. For instance, questions about the candidate’s ability to work independently and descriptions of any past experience working remotely are all reasonable requests. You should be clear about communication expectations, especially if you are working in distinct time zones/locations or using team messaging software. Of course, it’s essential for your business to establish clear protocols and processes for supporting remote workers, fostering remote collaboration, and using digital tools to support remote workers.
Onboarding Remote Employees
Onboarding (specifically digital onboarding) is arguably the most essential part of the remote hiring process because it must replace, approximate, or even improve processes that have traditionally been conducted in-person and in-office. Our onboarding software and professional support streamlines this process by eliminating manual tasks and supporting easy new hire access to training modules, digital company resources, and team-building tools. Digital onboarding software also supports the completion and smooth integration of all employee documentation to align with other HR processes like benefits enrollment, performance management, payroll, and more.
Beyond setting up introductory meetings, a clear training program, and easy access to other company resources, digital onboarding is the best time to model how your team communicates, practices company values, and assesses individual and team performance. Increasingly, organizations are establishing 30/60/90-day onboarding plans to support this process, helping remote employees stay connected with a designated team member or supervisor, and creating more opportunities for early performance evaluation and clearer communication about short- and long-term career goals. Using all of these tools and processes during the onboarding process can help new remote hires feel fully integrated into daily business processes and prevent the isolation or “siloing” of team members.
Attract and Retain Top Talent
Adapting to the expectations of job seekers and locating promising remote candidates to support business growth can be a challenge without qualified professional support and technology to simplify the entire process. We offer extensive HCM solutions to support talent management, digital onboarding, remote payroll, and all other aspects of managing a remote workforce.
Ready to enjoy peace of mind about recruiting, hiring, onboarding and supporting your remote workforce? Start the process today to streamline HCM and focus on business growth and improved employee retention.