HR Went Remote in 2020 with Array of Virtual Tools

Roy Maurer By Roy Maurer October 19, 2020
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woman working from home

​HR transitioned its traditional functions to virtual formats as companies pivoted to remote operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, using technologies expected to endure after the health crisis has passed. 

"Many companies were already trending toward increased work-from-home opportunities as a perk to attract and retain talent well before COVID-19 hit," said Andrew Challenger, senior vice president of global outplacement and executive and business coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

"Due to the pandemic, companies that were trending toward work-from-home sped up their plans and those that were not even considering the possibility tested and implemented remote-work capabilities," he said. "The pandemic also created the need for employers to move their hiring and onboarding processes online, and many have successfully done so. The genie is out of the bottle."

These tips from SHRM Online can help HR professionals navigate remote work to meet their needs and support a productive workforce.

Do's and Don'ts of Video Interviews

The fundamentals of interviewing over video are not that different from in-person meetings, but there are a few things to keep in mind to do it well. Experts offer the following best practices for conducting seamless, engaging and successful video interviews.

Virtual Onboarding of Remote Workers Is Critical

Onboarding is the foundation for new hires to build relationships in the workplace and help them to have a voice, which is more important when work is remote. Virtual onboarding should be seamless, dynamic and informative, but providing a superb onboarding experience virtually can be a challenge for employers doing it for the first time.

Virtual Presentations, Meetings Require New Approaches

As more people work from home, many are being asked to take on tasks and use technologies such as leading team meetings and presenting online rather than in person. This shift requires thinking about how to design online presentations, keep remote audiences engaged and troubleshoot technology issues that arise.

Career Fairs Go Virtual

Some companies are still hiring during the pandemic, and many are turning to virtual career fairs and hiring events to find candidates. Being able to connect with job seekers in a chat-based virtual environment has been a tremendous asset since in-person events have become a challenge to pull off.

Help Remote Workers Get the Feedback They Need

Research shows that employees working from home often receive less performance feedback and appreciation for their good work than those in the office, which can take a toll not only on engagement and productivity, but also on employee mental health.

Some organizations are turning to technology to nudge managers to offer feedback or appreciation, suggest situation-specific questions for managers to ask to guide performance or development conversations, capture feedback, and help managers publicly recognize team members for work well done.

HR Moves Learning and Development Online

Many learning and development professionals who had leveraged online systems only infrequently before the COVID-19 crisis have developed a new appreciation for the advantages—and the obstacles—of delivering learning content, coaching sessions, performance management and certification processes virtually.

Remote Work Necessitates HR Technology Acumen

The emergence of technology platforms such as apps, collaboration networks and conferencing tools as a lifeline for remote workers has exposed a lingering problem in HR: the need to develop new technology competencies to serve the evolving needs of their organizations.

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