Hybrid work has influenced most aspects of the employee lifecycle to at least some extent – and recruitment is no exception. HR teams and organisations need to think through the implications of shifting to a hybrid model on each step in the hiring process.
Job Description: The job description is a non-exhaustive list of what a particular role requires. A good one will cover title, duties, responsibilities, purpose and scope. In a hybrid environment a clear job description is of critical importance – and it needs to include the necessary outcomes and outputs of performance. First of all, what is the employee required to do? What metrics apply? What is the employee required to deliver, over what timescales? Secondly, what is the employee required to be? What behaviour and competencies must they demonstrate whilst undertaking the role? Finally, what is the desired result from the work? What should the employee influence or change? What should the consequence of the work be? When performance is less visible, this information provides clarity for employee and manager, and a benchmark on which to measure contribution at performance review time.
Advertising: Whilst it might have been seen as a little progressive before the pandemic, it is no longer enough to just have a statement on your careers pages that says ‘we support flexible working’. Candidates want to know exactly what kind of flexible working they will be able to access if they get the job. Even saying ‘we have a hybrid working model’ might not be sufficient. Employers need to be specific, and clearly state how often employees will need to undertake in-person work, being transparent with policies and principles.
Day 1 Flex: Now flexible working is more normalised, the current UK statutory framework for formal flexible working applications looks increasingly out of date (not to mention out of touch). Talented candidates are not going to wait six months to ask for flexible working – and take the risk that their request will be refused. Any organisations that still includes this requirement in their policies and practices should urgently reconsider this position.
Conversations during the process: Managers need to know exactly what information to provide about flexible and hybrid working opportunities. They need to know what they can agree to, and what, if any, requests that they need to clarify or take further advice. They also need to have clarity on whether flexible working opportunities are contractual and permanent, or informal and temporary (for example, where organisations are undertaking a trial or pilot into new ways of working).
Interviewing: Hybrid work isn’t for everyone. Assessing candidate suitability for hybrid work should be part of the process. Where a role is hybrid, an ideal scenario is to build in both an in-person and virtual stage to the process. Is the candidate comfortable with the necessary technology for hybrid work? Can they present, collaborate, communicate and engage in both spheres of work?
Monitoring: Organisations need to know the outcomes of hybrid work on recruitment. Hybrid, and other forms of flexible work, can open up the labour market to those who cannot (or do not want to) work a traditional 9-5 office based job. How is hybrid work contributing to inclusion and diversity? How have candidate profiles changed as a result – who is applying now, compared to before hybrid work opportunities? Is hybrid work increasing applications – and specifically is it increasing the quality of those applications? This data can inform views on how successful hybrid work is in terms of attracting talent, but also identify areas for improvement.
Internal Moves: In some organisations, especially in relation to hybrid work, there might be just one form of flexibility available (eg everyone works a 2/3 home/office split). In other larger and more complex organisation there may be multiple ways that employees can work flexibly both in time and place. It is important to understand the impact of hybrid on internal movement. Are employees applying for internal opportunities that give them greater access to remote or other forms of flexible work, including those that are not available to them in their substantive post? What does this mean for the organisation overall?
These are just a few of the practical considerations of hybrid work on the recruitment process; the employee led demand for hybrid work means that – for knowledge workers at least – flexible forms of work are now a firm part of the Employee Value Proposition. This needs to be reflected throughout policies, processes and practice.