Adjusting To Remote Totality during the Covid-19 Crisis

In response to the uncertainties presented by the COVID-19 outbreak, many organizations have asked their employees to work from home. With close to a quarter of the global workforce working remotely, organizations are now facing unsurmountable challenges with little time to prepare. This phenomenon extends beyond the “speed and quality” challenges that can emerge while managing a remote workforce.

So what’s the problem? Many companies have not set a clear set of guidelines for reliable execution when it comes to hiring new talent. With major shifts in the workplace, remote work will become a critical tool for recruitment and employee engagement.

“Remote totality” is the new and current process of filling a job role in today’s market as a hiring manager. From end to end, it’s the attraction, screening, recruitment, onboarding and training hiring managers must now do completely remotely. As many workers are being laid off, there are more people than usual looking for jobs. In response, Addison Group has been heavily working with its own clients to fill critical roles they need – especially in the contract space. With this, hiring managers must adjust to this new form of remote totality in order to keep their hiring process moving.

The scale and scope of remote totality are unprecedented. However, the global spread of the virus reveals that organizations are not set up for this. Business travel has decreased or come to a complete halt. More employers use video conferencing to operate across various time zones. And, if things weren’t bad enough, many organizations have asked their workforce to work remotely.

Are organizations ready for remote totality? The answer is probably not. So, how do you prepare your organizations to respond to the current disruption, and also use it as an opportunity to reimagine the future of work?

When it comes to change management in times of crisis, a single strategy simply does not work. Neither is handing the workforce a laptop and requesting them to work from home. The first step is to plan as if the only way to remain 100 percent operation will be for expanding wide-scale quarantines. Prepare a plan for worst-case scenarios. Make a note of jobs and tasks that could potentially get disrupted.


For instance, administrative tasks cannot be handled remotely. But the COVID-19 crisis has proven this to be untrue. Yes, administrative tasks require physical presence, but those can be carefully planned to avoid any gaffes. A majority of administrative tasks can still happen effectively outside the traditional model of work.

Set up an organizational protocol in advance. Make a note of specific collaboration/communication tools and technologies. Discern gaps, provide training before people begin to use these tools. Find out if there are any data-security issues, and if possible, address them beforehand. Your communication plan needs to outline how to get in touch with everybody; provide training on how the workforce is expected to respond to clients; and how and when the teams will coordinate.

Use data to reflect on what worked, what did not, and why. This should also help you prepare in advance for more questions once the crisis has passed.

The HR Digest connected with Chris Vennitti, President of the Mid-Atlantic Region at Addison Group to get insights on how hiring managers can make the adjustment to remote totality effectively, important factors they need to be aware of and how to optimize their hiring process in this setup.

Advice for adjusting to remote totality

For companies that must move toward remote totality, it is essential that they have the tools and processes in place that allow them to attract, screen, recruit, onboard and train job candidates completely virtually. While most of these processes have historically been accomplished without needing any face-to-face interaction, onboarding and training present new challenges.

Even for employees who plan to work remotely, onboarding and training typically occur in physical office environments rather than online. Hiring managers are being challenged to successfully introduce new hires to organizations and set them up for success without ever meeting them face-to-face. While possible, remote totality will require unprecedented levels of communication and collaboration across hiring teams.

The need to develop a plan and lean on the support of IT to put the proper technology in place to successfully achieve remote totality is a must. With flexibility and adaptability, the hiring process won’t see many disruptions.

Common mistakes companies could make during the transition

During this transition, it is imperative that expectations are reset. Remote totality is a new concept for many hiring managers and will require making adjustments to regular processes.

However, as more Americans search for work, it’s essential to get this process right earlier rather than later. Negligent hires will only slowdown business operations and waste money; so being even more thorough in the hiring process is a necessity during this transition.

Talk with employees, establish a plan and put processes in place that don’t allow you to cut corners.

Optimizing hiring, onboarding and training process

It takes a village to raise a child and this is no different. Hiring, onboarding and training job candidates is accomplished between many departments and teams, so creating plans that utilize communication and collaboration tools will help optimize the hiring, onboarding and training process. The first few hires may be tough, but use the experience to develop a roadmap that will make the succeeding processes much easier.

Any virtual recruitment success stories?

The actual work (i.e., sales and recruiting) has increased three times since the move to remote totality. It has challenged our staff but we are seeing more productivity and better communication than ever before. Teamwork is abundant and this “new normal” will likely shape future hiring processes across the world.

As more and more interactions occur digitally, we will continue to discover new forms of communication strategy. The solution will not come from newer technologies (although, Silicon Valley developer will continue to help us bridge this gap). Rather, the solution would be in understanding how human-to-human interactions work; in developing a unique skill set that is reflective of our current needs.

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Priyansha Mistry
Currently editor at The HR Digest Magazine. She helps HR professionals identify issues with their talent management and employment law. | Priyansha tweets at @PriyanshaMistry

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