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    A Guide to Remote Employer Branding

    For years, we’ve framed the virtual workplace as “the future of work”—a distant vision, and one many employer brand managers overlooked, despite the fact that more than half of workers worldwide were spending at least half their workweek telecommuting. However, as HubSpot’s Senior Manager of Employer Brand Hannah Fleishman reminds us, “The future is here.”
    COVID-19 has forced companies with little experience supporting a remote workforce to embrace working from home. Some were better equipped to make this transition in stride. Before COVID-19 closed offices around the world, HubSpot was already positioning itself as a leader in remote employee experience. Of its 3,500 employees around the world, 400 were full-time remote, making HubSpot’s remote workforce its third-largest “office.” That success wasn’t an accident—a major component of its success was its commitment to remote employer brand.

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    If employer brand describes how your values and culture differentiate you competitively, then remote employer brand describes your remote workforce’s place in that culture, as well as the competitive advantage you offer to remote candidates. As Fleishman puts it, “How you market and position your company, not only as a great place to work but a great place to work remotely, is really important as that becomes more competitive.”
    Before 2020, the remote employee experience was an afterthought at many companies. For years, HubSpot was no exception. Framing remote work as “the future of work” allowed companies to deprioritize it in favor of more immediate goals and concerns.
    However, supporting remote employees is becoming increasingly urgent as more and more job seekers opt to work from home for health and safety reasons. “Because of this pandemic, we can expect that candidates are going to expect more remote work opportunities.”
    Employers shouldn’t expect the importance of remote employer brand to subside as the pandemic subsides, either. According to Fleishman, an internal survey revealed that 61% of HubSpot employees are planning to work remotely more even after in-person office life resumes.
    To follow Hannah Fleishman’s work on remote employer brand, follow her on LinkedIn. You may also want to check out her previous interview Inbound Recruiting: HubSpot’s Approach to Employer Branding. For help creating data-driven, actionable strategies you can use to make real change in your company, talk to us.

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    Adapt or Fail: Why Employers Need to Redesign their Workplace Culture

    The Coronavirus pandemic has dramatically changed the way people live and work — forcing British businesses to pivot to new, digital, and remote ways of working. But, while many of these continue to manage, how many will truly thrive in the months – and perhaps years – to come?
    Today, as many companies pass the eight-month mark of remote working, and with no clear end in sight, working from home is no longer the exception, it’s the rule. But despite the advantages remote working has to offer, our latest research revealed that ‘hidden fractures’ are emerging among workforces, which risk causing irreparable damage to cultures and productivity.
    To ensure their businesses remain resilient – and prevent them from being permanently held back – it’s clear that employers need to take a proactive approach to manage and, in some cases repair, their workplace culture. The time to take action and rethink the employee experience is now; and here are four things employers should focus on:
    Design for remote
    First and foremost, business leaders need to design for remote. Indeed, when it comes to creating a positive company culture – that’s vital for a stable workforce – the same old tactics that were used pre-pandemic won’t work. Employers need to redesign the employee experience to ensure that people feel supported and connected with other team members as well as part of the same experience, wherever they are.
    For instance, just because your workforce isn’t together in the office, it doesn’t mean you can’t create meaningful experiences at key moments in employee life-cycles – at a distance. That could involve providing a new hire with a starter pack and a virtual buddy during onboarding, sending a bottle of fizz to newly promoted staff, or bringing the team together virtually to give a heartfelt farewell to a colleague who’s leaving. If effectively supported, these key moments can positively shape sentiment towards employers, roles, and colleagues.
    Continuously build familiarity
    When people are working in the office, familiarity — that is, feeling part of a team and being able to talk to colleagues and be heard — helps breed successful teamwork and a trust-based culture. But with everyone working from home, it’s easy for relationships to become momentary and transactional — a short video call here or an instant-message there, followed by weeks of nothing. And yet, familiarity is a critical outcome of employee experience, so businesses need to find new ways to weave it into every touchpoint.
    In our research we found that things like recognition for work well-done (33%) and being able to access support and guidance when needed (31%) aren’t just ‘nice to haves’ — they are the most important elements for creating a next-level workplace culture. When these are absent, the workplace culture is viewed as negative – and trust levels nosedive.
    But it doesn’t have to be this way – employers can continue to build and nurture relationships and instill a sense of familiarity by other means. Digital culture platforms, for example, could offer the solution many are looking for. These allow employers to create a space – outside of work channels – dedicated to building culture and familiarity, that all employees can participate in, as and when they please. If they’re to re-create familiarity in their remote workforce, businesses need to think differently and innovatively about how they can keep workplace connections alive and drive meaningful conversations and interaction.
    Strengthen employee networks
    As much as relationship-building is important, it’s also vital to nurture and support the development of peer networks that employees are reliant on for support, guidance, and reassurance. In fact, the cracks in networks are already starting to show, with 51% of employees saying they feel it’s harder to reach out for help from teammates when working from home. This should be a key concern for employers because when employees feel unable to lean on their peers for support and guidance, they can become increasingly anxious and more reliant on their Line Managers as a result. This, in turn, can create pressure points within the organization, causing productivity to plummet.
    Pre-pandemic, peer networks that extended outside of work teams were commonplace – something that has been altered by home-working. At a time when many people feel less visible and connected, it’s clear that businesses need to re-examine their remote working models and create the right channels to ensure employees feel seen, heard, supported, and trusted – and to help them to connect and thrive.
    One way to do this is by celebrating and acknowledging employee wins and achievements in a way that is long-lasting and is seen and heard by everyone across the business. Whether it’s highlighting their achievements over a company-wide video call or updating the team on a digital newsfeed that can be read by the whole organization, employees will feel recognized and appreciated. It’s by adopting these types of creative culture initiatives that employers can help remote workers to feel more ingrained in their business and encourage a more positive and connected workplace culture, no matter where employees are working.
    Measure and track culture
    Finally, in order for employers to effectively keep their finger on the pulse of workplace culture, it’s critical that they measure employee experience and culture. But traditional employee surveys aren’t necessarily the best option, as they’re often slow to implement and can cause survey fatigue when overused. Instead, managers and business leaders should look for ways to harness real-time and consistent culture analytics. By implementing pulse surveys more intelligently (and less frequently) they can benchmark measurements and use findings to help build and maintain an effective and happy remote workforce.
    For many organizations, returning full-time to an office is unlikely to happen any time soon and we believe that in the longer-term many companies will embrace hybrid working practices, as employees look to get the best of both worlds during their working week. But whether businesses are planning for it or not, it’s important to realize that remote working is here to stay, and not just in the short term. In order to protect their workplace culture and their company, employers need to redesign their thinking and adapt their employee experience to this new reality. Those that fail to evolve risk being held back and those that embrace the change will stay one step ahead, now and in the future.
    By Marcus Thornley, CEO of Totem.

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    Why the US Suspension of Foreign Work Permits is Good News for UK Companies

    As the legalities of employment in the US continue to evolve, the conviction that the future of work will be remote becomes stronger.
    In June, the US President decided to halt access to several employment-based visas, including H-1B visas for high-skill workers. This decision was quickly slammed by leading US tech companies, including Google, Twitter, and Tesla.
    Indeed, many organizations depend heavily on H-1B visas to recruit a diverse pool of high-skill talent from abroad. Without access to those visas, companies must look beyond their borders for the talent they need as they simply cannot compete in a globalized market without access to global workers.
    Documents such as green cards and work visas make it possible for businesses of all sizes to look beyond their local talent pools. Without H-1B visas, companies (especially those in industries with talent shortages, i.e tech) will suffer. However, these jobs will not simply disappear. Companies will still hire the talent they need – just not in the US.
    With the availability and acceptance of remote work opportunities growing, this latest decision presents a great opportunity for businesses from across the globe. They are now in a unique position to access a wider pool of talents than ever before while breaking free from governments’ regulations. This could be the chance for companies who are facing a shortage of skills, an issue particularly prevalent in the UK, to recruit candidates with the relevant skills.
    A chance for the UK to solve its digital skills shortage
    While the UK employment market remains resilient despite the uncertainties brought by the Covid-19 crisis, UK businesses continue to face a talent shortage, especially in the tech sector.
    In a recent report, The Open University found that up to nine in ten organizations are facing a shortage of digital skills, which has a direct impact on their productivity, efficiency, and competitiveness. Stats from the IET concur with this finding: in 2019, more than half of UK engineering and technology companies said they believe a shortage of engineers threatens their business.
    There are now hundreds of people, with in-demand digital skills, who have been affected by the new US policy. This means that more candidates are now available to fill the thousands of open vacancies within the UK tech sector crying out for skilled talent. UK companies seeking specialist talent should ensure they are among the first in line to attract them.
    By recruiting candidates affected by the latest change in the US, UK companies have a chance to shrink the digital skills gap they currently face.
    The question is how?
    The opportunity is massive yet recruiting and bringing foreign talent into the country can be cumbersome. Currently, UK companies looking to employ foreign talent must meet various requirements depending on candidates’ nationalities, skill sets, and contract lengths, in addition to holding a sponsor license.
    This can be difficult, especially for start-ups or small businesses without the necessary resources to carry out this process. Until recently, many large US companies offered support for visa applications as a perk to speed up the process of bringing talent from abroad into the country, locking out smaller companies and international organizations.
    To compete, the UK has established a series of visa schemes to attract foreign tech talent, such as the Tech Nation Global Talent Visa and the Start-up Visa. However, for UK companies who want to take advantage of the opportunities brought by the recent changes to the US visa system, a more immediate solution exists.
    The opportunities of global remote work
    By turning to global remote employment, UK companies can act quickly to recruit talent from anywhere in the world, bypassing the need for visas altogether. Self-serve platforms for global employment enable companies to recruit knowledge workers independent of their locations.
    Technology can now entirely manage global payroll, benefits, compliance, and taxes on behalf of companies, freeing them from the administrative burden of global talent management. Remote work offers opportunities to employees no matter where they live, allowing businesses to hire the best talent regardless of location.
    There is no doubt that other companies, especially in the US, will also jump on the remote working bandwagon to remain attractive among high-skilled workers. UK businesses should, therefore, seize this opportunity as quickly as possible and ensure remote positions are readily available to a wide range of talent.
    By doing so, they will be able to compete with other companies, not only within the country but from across the globe, for a chance to close their digital skills gap.
    By Job van der Voort, CEO and co-founder of Remote.

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    Searches for ‘Remote Work’ Increase Significantly During Covid-19

    Covid-19 is changing people’s work preferences with many now looking for roles that give them the flexibility to work from home. New data from LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, finds that job searches for remote work have increased by 60% globally since March. Companies will need to adapt to existing policies and offer greater […] More