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How to Build a Hybrid Workforce: a Hireology Case Study

A HIREOLOGY CASE STUDY

How to Build a Hybrid Workforce

How team Hireology uses our product to build a hybrid workforce

Founded in 2009, Hireology has worked under a hybrid staffing model since day one. With the tumult that’s occurred over the past year and a half, hybrid work options have become increasingly more popular across a variety of different industries, from retail automotive to tech, even as we return to normal. This has created fierce competition in recruitment, as many job seekers no longer see flexibility as a benefit, but instead view it as table stakes. In fact, Hireology recently surveyed nearly 5,000 applicants, and found that 86% would prefer remote work to reporting into an office. 

But simply pivoting operations to reflect a hybrid work model isn’t as easy as it may seem, and in some ways, is even more complex than a fully remote workforce. Deep consideration has to go into how to keep remote and in-person employees feeling engaged when they are essentially leading two separate work days: meeting rooms have to accommodate video conferencing to include those at a different location; office protocols may have to change to allow for contact tracing or general peace of mind for your staff; and your company culture may have to shift to ensure everyone is on the same playing field. As the Hireology office reopened its doors last week on a voluntary basis, we saw first-hand how much goes into coordinating this kind of shift. 

It’s with that in mind that we spoke to some of our internal team members to discuss the successes and challenges of building a hybrid workforce. In this how-to guide, Anil Harjani, VP of Product, Julie Lombardo, Director of Customer Success, and Terry Adams, VP of People, talk about the Hireology difference when it comes to creating a great hybrid team, how our product helped them facilitate that, and how you can do the same.

Why Remote Works For Hireology

Anil, Julie, and Terry all agree that offering remote work allows you to attract talent that you otherwise wouldn’t have a shot at due to location or circumstance. But providing flexible working options also means you’re meeting people where they are, an important part of operating a great business.

The pandemic has tasked many individuals with additional responsibilities — like child care, physical health and safety concerns, and an increased strain on mental health — and Hireology understands and supports the lifestyle we’ve all had to adjust to. 

“I think it invites more people into the workforce,” said Julie when asked why remote work is here to stay. “It allows for people who have families at home, or that are taking care of parents or siblings, to be more present.”

Julie has personally seen the benefits of a flexible work environment on her wellbeing. “I think what this year proved to me is that if you hire the right people, they’re capable of working, doing their best work, while also multitasking in their lives,” she said. 

Terry started at Hireology in a remote capacity, so she has first-hand experience of the importance of offering remote work. “Hybrid work allows you to offer folks the flexibility that they’re looking for,” said Terry. “It helps us to remain competitive in the job market, but also to truly show our employees and applicants that we hear them and will accommodate them.”

Anil has seen his team succeed in a remote capacity long before the pandemic began, as his team has been utilizing the hybrid model since 2009. “The fact that we are able to attract talent from outside the region means we have a great product and a great employee value proposition, and that’s a huge advantage,” said Anil. 

But when it comes to the true philosophy of hybrid work at Hireology, Anil has a great summary: “Work from home, a coffee shop, or from Aruba… if being your best self means you do some time and location shifting, we support you,” said Anil. “What works for you to be your best is my desired outcome.” 

“I think what this year proved to me is that if you hire the right people, they’re capable of working, doing their best work, while also multitasking in their lives.” 

-Julie Lombardo, Director of Customer Success 

One Culture, Not Two

Hireology has been very intentional with creating a workplace that’s inclusive. Our company culture drives employees to be good people, take accountability, and make decisions that better the overall customer and employee experience. This approach has been paramount to attracting and retaining both in-person and remote employees.

“We’ve built all these different solutions within our culture to help people feel supported,” said Anil. At Hireology, we are constantly discussing our company’s overarching goals and with clear explanations of why and how the goals were set to ensure everyone is working toward the same thing, so location isn’t a factor. We equip our team with what’s necessary to get their job done — like computers, monitors, and internet stipends — and then some — like unlimited PTO, mental health days, and a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion council. 

And our People team puts in extensive effort to replicate the office camaraderie that makes Hireology an outstanding place to work. With these priorities in mind, we’ve been able to keep our teams engaged and connected long before the pandemic began.

When Terry interviews candidates, she makes sure to highlight what makes Hireology a great place to work, like our comprehensive benefits offerings and our emphasis on our employees’ wellbeing. “We offer job shadowing, employee growth opportunities, and resources for mental health,” said Terry. “We also understand the importance of a work-life balance and we put that at the forefront of our employment offerings.”

Additionally, we work to make sure our entire company — remote and in-person employees alike — feel like they are on the same playing field. “We don’t have the remote team and the onsite team, it is all Hireology,” said Adam Robinson, Hireology’s CEO. “When we first created this model, we had to ask ourselves what we needed to do to bring that cohesive culture to life. It required a lot of trial and error, and honestly we weren’t great at it at first, but now a decade later I think we’ve figured out what it takes.”

Hireology prioritizes four main focus areas when it comes to ensuring our culture is inclusive for every employee: core values, technology, connection, and trust. This helps ensure our employees are all on the same page, have consistent opportunities for success, and love coming to work each day.

“We don’t have the remote team and the onsite team, it is all Hireology.”

-Adam Robinson, Hireology’s CEO

Connection Matters

Working remotely can present a challenge to team camaraderie, as you don’t get the same face-time with your colleagues as you would in the office. 

But Anil, Terry, and Julie make sure to sprinkle in some fun activities to keep their teams enjoying themselves and building connections. 

“Connectivity is huge for me,” said Anil. “It’s not all business all the time.” He’s recently put together team bonding activities, like a headphone assembly kit and ice breaker games, that help to promote a work hard play hard mentality that Hireology prides itself on.

The Customer Success team also made sure to participate in fun events each quarter so the team had an opportunity to relax together. They ran a virtual 5k, competed in a “Chopped” cooking competition, and took part in a charity event called “Lasagna Love” where they cooked and delivered meals to families in need.

Terry’s team was able to get together before the office officially opened, which helped her and her team get better acquainted, and since Terry started during the pandemic, it was the first time she met many of her teammates, which meant a lot to her.

Connection isn’t only important once a new hire is brought on. During the hiring process, Terry and the People team rely on connection to help create the best candidate experience possible. “We want to keep in touch with applicants and to make the experience really personal, so we use phones first,” said Terry. “Email doesn’t always allow for the same personal connection that a phone call does, so we always try to pick up the phone before sending an email.”

Julie also loves that staying connected with applicants can speed up the hiring process in a pretty dramatic way. “We have a recruiter that does a lot of the candidate engagement between interviews with hiring managers to stay in touch, give updates, ask if they have questions. And we try to move really fast — our goal is to fill all roles within 30 days of opening them, so this constant connection helps keep everything moving.”

“We want to keep in touch with applicants and to make the experience really personal, so we use phones first. Email doesn’t always allow for the same personal connection that a phone call does, so we always try to pick up the phone before sending an email.”

– Terry Adams, VP of People

What Makes a Great Remote Employee

When it comes to the characteristics of a great remote employee, Anil looks for individuals who have outstanding self management skills. 

“I think you’ve got to have the ability to feel comfortable in having self discipline and self management around your time, around your day, around your own efforts, because you’re not going to have your boss walking by, or your colleagues saying, ‘How is that project coming along?’” said Anil. “You’re going to be given more space as a virtue of the organic factors [of remote work], and that space is on you.” 

This makes it essential for Anil’s new hires to be organized, have great time management, and execute on projects with little oversight. He also pays attention to non-verbal communication, like if his applicants make eye contact, and their comfort level with being on virtual calls. Anil knows that remote employees have to rely heavily on virtual meetings to not just manage tasks but also facilitate conversation, drive change, and orchestrate decision making, so he looks for employees who have a good grasp on the medium.

Julie wants to trust her team to get their work done without being micromanaged, so her ideal candidate is someone who can manage themselves well. “We hire adults, so I look for adults,” said Julie. “I don’t think I should have to tell you the hours that you need to work to get your job done, or that if you can get your job done in three hours, you need to come to me because you could handle more. These are grown-up things that grownups should be able to handle, and I don’t need to micromanage.”

Terry relies on transparency to find the right candidate. “If we tell people exactly what we expect, we get the same in return,” said Terry. “It’s a two-way street, so if we want employees that will be honest and open, we have to start that during the hiring process.” 

And here are a few of team Hireology’s favorite interview questions to make sure we’re hiring transparent, organized, self-starters: 

  • Tell me about the last time you were bored. What did you do about it?
  • Talk to me about a project where you had ambiguous instructions. What was that like for you? How did you deal with it?
  • If you receive two offers, what makes you choose one over the other? 

Remote Onboarding Made Simple

The first 90 days of the employee lifecycle are the most important, as what happens during a new employee’s first three months shapes how long they plan to stay with a company, how successful they will be in their role, and how they contribute to the workplace culture. So, ensuring the onboarding process goes smoothly is essential. 

But remote onboarding can be tricky without the right process in place, as communication can be limited without the opportunity for face-to-face meetings. Hireology has taken the time to create an onboarding process that’s exciting and stimulating to all employees, no matter where they are.

“The feedback I hear often is that remote onboarding is the best onboarding, because we put so much more thought into making sure people feel included and welcome,” said Anil. 

Anil also creates a docket that covers everything they’ll be doing for the first month of onboarding, including content to go over, such as Hireology blogs and industry news, and twice-daily meetings to make sure that all their questions are answered and they feel comfortable as they ramp up. 

“Explanations are so clear that there’s not a single day that goes by where [my new hires] are not sure what’s going on,” said Anil. “Which is really important because I can’t just pull them into meetings casually or have passing conversations with them. I have to structure it a little bit more than that.”

“The feedback I hear often is that remote onboarding is the best onboarding, because we put so much more thought into making sure people feel included and welcome.” 

– Anil Harjani, VP of Product

For Terry and the People team, onboarding is all about thorough planning and thoughtful communication. 

“When onboarding new team members, there are definitely more logistical requirements than when everyone’s coming into the office, so we have to do a bit more planning,” said Terry. “We of course have to ship them computers, and we also want to send them some Hireology swag to welcome them. We just have to continue to keep communication strong and make sure they’re still as excited for their first day as we are.” 

Going the extra mile to make sure her new hires feel comfortable helps make for a better onboarding experience, as well as facilitates a smoother transition into their new role. 

How Our Platform Helps with Remote Hiring

At Hireology, we rely on our own platform to hire new team members, so we of course need our product to facilitate a remote hiring process.  

“In many ways, we built our product out of a function of our own experience,” said Anil. He uses the Hireology platform and mobile app to move candidates through the hiring process quickly, because he knows top talent is gone in the blink of an eye.

“There have been times I’ve run someone through the process and within 24 hours they were extended an offer,” said Anil. “Others have been within three and six days, but when I find the right candidate, I move at lightning speed because I don’t want to lose my shot, and that wouldn’t be possible without the use of the platform.”

“The same thing we love our customers love,” said Julie. “We build things for businesses who operate a people-first business model, because that’s how Hireology functions as well.”

When it comes to hiring on the Customer Success team, Julie saves a lot of time by using Hireology’s applicant rating system. “Being able to easily see my new applicants versus applicants that I’ve already rated is great, and we use star ratings to signal to our recruiter whether or not we want him to screen somebody for us.” 

Julie’s absolute favorite feature of Hireology is the ability to post new roles to multiple job boards at once. “Not having to post all the job boards one by one makes it a lot easier,” said Julie. “And it helps us make sure we’re marketing our jobs in all the right places.” 

“The same thing we love our customers love. We build things for businesses who operate a people-first business model, because that’s how Hireology functions as well.”

– Julie Lombardo, Director of Customer Success

Anil, Terry, and Julie make sure to continuously engage with their candidates throughout the hiring process through in-platform messaging so that they know where they stand. This helps especially with remote hiring because candidates haven’t had the opportunity to connect face-to-face, so constant communication is key in building that great candidate experience.

Julie particularly likes the built-in interview guides to ensure consistency and fairness when selecting candidates, because when you’re hiring remotely it’s easy for hiring managers to cross wires and repeat questions since you’re not in the office which impacts candidate experience. “Interview guides make sure we all ask distinct questions and keep the process unbiased since every candidate is answering the same questions,” said Julie. “We are able to pay more attention to answers and really score our candidates that way.” 

And the automatic reference checks make the People team’s jobs a lot easier because they don’t have to hassle references for responses — it’s all automatic.

The People team also relies heavily on the onboarding feature within Hireology to make sure their team is immediately up to speed and feels connected, even in different locations. New hires are sent all paperwork digitally before their first day, so that once they start their job they can focus on the excitement of learning their role and meeting their team members. And the best part for Terry is that Hireology syncs with our payroll software, which means all employee information is seamlessly transferred over, alleviating hours of work for her team. 

How You Can Hire Your Hybrid Workforce

After more than a decade of hiring remote employees, we hope that our knowledge of what it takes to create a great hybrid workforce helps you build your own. 

Here are some of the main takeaways from team Hireology: 

  • Provide flexibility and autonomy to your employees 
  • Build a culture of trust and inclusion so that everyone feels welcome
  • Foster connection throughout every step of your hiring process and throughout the employee lifecycle
  • Look for employees that are driven, organized self-starters to ensure work gets done
  • Put as much emphasis on your onboarding process as your hiring process to retain your team
  • Start onboarding before day one so employees aren’t bogged down with paperwork on their first day
  • And most importantly, use a hiring platform that makes your entire hiring process more streamlined so that you don’t lose out on great candidates

Take the Leap With Hireology

Whether your company is currently hiring remotely or you’ve not yet made the jump, Hireology is equipped to help you hire your best team. Schedule a one-on-one consultation where we can walk you through how Hireology’s experience with remote hiring and our hiring platform can help you get the right people in your open roles. 

 

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