Thanks to the pandemic, many companies made the necessary steps to temporarily have some or all of their employees work remotely, and for the most part employees everywhere are enjoying the freedom. Now, employers such as Amazon, PwC, and LinkedIn are embracing the flexibility of a remote or hybrid work model.
Why? Well, companies are making this change for several reasons. First, if they don’t, they risk losing their top talent to the companies that are going this route. Second, it’s a great recruiting tool for attracting those other companies’ top talent. Third, it enables employers to hire from anywhere, greatly increasing their pool of applicants. Fourth, it’s cheaper, saving more than $11,000 per employee per year, by some estimates.
Hiring remote employees is not as simple as you may have first assumed, though. There are several federal, state and local laws you’ll need to consider as well as hiring processes that will need to be adjusted. To help you get your thoughts in order and wade through all the potential issues that may arise, we’ve put together a remote work policy checklist for hiring new employees. As you adapt to this new normal, this checklist will help keep you on track.
Your Remote Work Policy Checklist
Hiring and training employees may look a bit different when onboarding can’t happen in person, especially if you’re planning to grow your remote workforce without out-of-state applicants who will remain out-of-state. For the hiring process, make sure you’ve reviewed and updated your policies regarding out-of-state laws related to:
Nondiscrimination or Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Regulations. In addition to Federal regulations, protections may vary between states and local municipalities regarding: marital status, sexual identity, or gender identity or expression.
Ban the Box and Fair Hiring Legislation. Some states and municipalities prohibit you from asking about a candidate’s criminal history before extending a conditional job offer. Avoid asking applicants any questions that could open the door for a lawsuit.
Background Checks, References, & Drug Tests. Every state has their own laws regarding these procedures. These laws dictate matters like which positions have a drug testing requirement, when you’re allowed to request screening, and who has to pay for drug tests. Some states even have rules about obtaining public records or credit reports, so be sure to do your homework.
Offer letter content. More than half of states in the US have legal requirements about information that must be communicated to employees, such as notice of pay, hours of employment, scheduled paydays, and other employee benefits.
New hire reporting. Federal law requires employers to report basic information on new and rehired employees within 20 days of hire to the state where the new employees work, but some states require it sooner. If you choose to register as a multistate employer, your process for reporting new hires may also be a bit different.
Interview Process Policies
During the application review and interview process, remember that the qualities you normally look for in in-office workers may be different when it comes to remote employees. For that reason, it’s important to update your hiring policies and procedures to ensure you’re process results in you hiring the best person for the job.
Make face-to-face interviews a requirement. Even if it’s only done virtually via a video call, being able to see them, and them you, will allow you to interpret their personality and how well they’re likely to fit into company culture.
Outline the interview questions that should be prioritized when hiring remote workers. It’s even more imperative that employees working on their own be self-starters, have great organizational and communication skills, and be able to effectively manage their time.
Create skills assessments or institute a trial period to learn about candidates’ capabilities. Remote employees won’t receive the same level of mentorship that in-office employees would, so it’s extremely important that they have the skills you’re looking for because it will be much harder to teach them afterwards. Run through scenarios with them to see how they would respond, ask them to complete a mock assignment, or even bring them on as a contractor initially.
The way you onboard and train new hires may also require changes to be made to existing policies and procedures. You should consider:
What your plan of action will be for training new team members. Create a training schedule and make sure you’ve communicated it to everyone who will be participating.
Whether the training should be synchronous or asynchronous. Your program could also be a combination of both. For example, you can incorporate morning check-in meetings with trainees and self-paced training sessions with quizzes.
Which employee training tools you need to administer your training program. You may opt to only have pre-recorded videos or a written guide, or you may want to implement a more involved onboarding process that calls for a tool such as a learning management system (LMS). Regardless of your choice, everyone should know which tools you plan to use and how they can access them.
How you intend to measure learning outcomes. If new employees must pass some kind of assessment or evaluation, make sure this is communicated in advance, and you have an established method for “grading” their performance.
Other Remote Employment Issues
Reviewing hiring and training policies is far from the only section of your policy library that will require an in-depth policy review when your company transitions to remote work. Everything from employee reimbursement to tax-related policies will require attention moving forward, but once you’ve taken the time to prepare for this change, your remote work program will run smoothly.
If getting through this remote work policy checklist seems like an overwhelming task, taking advantage of a policy and procedure management system like ComplianceBridge will be a huge asset for you. Our platform provides a centralized location for storing and managing all of your policies. Create and approve new policies, schedule automated review cycles, distribute new policies to the impacted employees, and much more.
In an era when employees are moving to a virtual workplace, why shouldn’t document management do so, as well? Discover an easier way to manage policies and procedures from anywhere. Request a demo with ComplianceBridge today.