If you’ve been reading our posts on remote and asynchronous work, you’ll notice our repeated emphasis that remote isn’t working from home. Remote is an entirely different format with its own moving parts; if you merely twist it into a version of work-from-office, you won’t succeed.

Changing how you hire people, and onboard them can be daunting, especially in a remote setting and many times over if you’ve never done it before. But we’ve got you covered.

I’ve divided the process into two broad parts – recruiting and onboarding. To make remote and asynchronous successful, the kind of people you hire, your recruitment process and onboarding all matter.

On recruiting

For a successful remote experience, one of the critical factors is recruiting the right people. As with any other endeavour, the participants make it or break it.

Who are you looking for?

Every organisation has a recruitment methodology that works for them. We’re sure you do too. You don’t have to turn your process upside down when you go remote. Just make sure you know what kind of skills, background, personality, approach and experience you want, and apply it to your remote context. Once you have a clear idea of your requirements, make the job description as transparent and direct as possible so applicants know what they’re going for.

I responded to an ad Bee put out on Linkedin. And the thing that got my attention, so much more than the clear description of the role, was that it featured Bee’s political inclinations – (left-leaning, in case you were wondering).

What do you want to ask them?

During the interview process, set expectations. Make sure candidates know what it is like to work in a remote format. Each company has their own flavour. Make sure you clearly explain yours.

Some might fit your job description to a T. Still, if they’re used to regular supervision and constant monitoring, they may find it challenging to transition to an environment that relies heavily on asynchronous communication and self-regulation.

The last thing you should do is jazz up the pros of remote and dilute the cons. Don’t paint them a rosy picture – give them the truth as baldly as possible. Everyone who applies to Bee gets the same remote-first-as-a-horror-story treatment. Like I was. I was told in no uncertain terms that the remote can get lonely and feel very isolating. How the absence of real-world intraoffice camaraderie can affect you. I was empowered to make an informed choice, so when I started, I knew some of my challenges were all in a day’s work.

What drives your final decision?

When you have to choose from a pool of potential candidates – who do you pick? The one who’s never worked remotely but checks all the other boxes, or the one who has remote experience but might not be able to meet every one of your requirements. Each case is unique, but when making your final choice, don’t forget to factor in the value of previous remote working experience.

Bee usually deviates to the latter. It helped a lot that I was used to remote, can work independently, and am in sync with Bee’s remote philosophy. Decide upfront what your non-negotiables are when it comes to choosing your future colleagues. Take it from there.

On onboarding

New recruits all need some handholding as they get used to how you do things. However, with remote and asynchronous, it’s twice as challenging. You will hold their hand through the first couple of weeks, but you don’t want to infantilise them either. It’s not easy to strike a balance, but it can be done.

Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.

At Bee, one of the first documents shared with potential recruits is a document titled ‘Read this first (I told you, we’re painfully literal). This handbookpaper, as it’s referred to internally, is a living document that is updated as circumstances evolve. It outlines our holiday policy (we choose our regional holidays, sick days are not tracked), our ‘asynchronous, not intrusive’ communication style, our approach to picking our schedules (we work the hours we want as long as it adds up to 40 hours a week), moonlighting and our honour system.

By laying things out clearly from the beginning, you can avoid awkward situations or confusion about what can or can’t be done in your remote work environment.

Share resources and tutorials

Know that weird term coined by dudebros and startups – always be hustling? At Bee, it’s ‘always be learning’. Learning is a big deal at Bee. And the only benchmark of progress and performance. We’re measured on how invested we are in being the best we can possibly be in our chosen field.

All Bees have access to a range of learning materials. We’re encouraged to seek out courses that support our role and specialisation. These resources are open to everyone, irrespective of their area of expertise. We’re encouraged to certify ourselves. Since joining Bee, I’ve been a regular on HubSpot, delving into content marketing courses in the hopes of upping my game. A collective culture of learning sure boosts motivation and confidence.

Encourage peer to peer learning.

Every person on your team has skills and ideas that others could benefit from. Make the best of this situation by creating an environment that encourages a free flow of knowledge between colleagues. Encourage them to get in touch with one another for advice, resources, inputs, suggestions and feedback. This not only improves the quality of everyone’s work, it also fosters community, a difficult task already in a remote setting.

Be patient, and make room for error

Every new hire is a leap of faith. Your recruits will sometimes make mistakes, learn some things quickly, and take more time to get used to other things. Your patience, feedback and support can go a long way in making the onboarding process considerate. Making space for the hiccups, in the beginning is beneficial in the long run.

Going remote and working asynchronously isn’t easy. You’ve got to have a clear plan, and you’ve got to allow for teething trouble. You’ll make hiring mistakes too, and when you do, make a decision that’s right by your team’s and not just in your or the recruit’s interests. With remote, as with any work format, the team’s interests outweigh all else.

Have all the information you need? Now go out there and find your tribe.

By Proiti Seal Acharya

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