Can't offer remote work? Here's how to attract candidates anyway

attracting candidates when you can't offer remote work

As if the tight labor market wasn’t frustrating enough, you are now competing with all the employers who have committed to remote work. And with shifting generational trends, like Millennials and Gen Z not lining up to be truckers or TSA workers, you’ll need every tool available to attract and retain talent. We recently talked to thousands of workers and hiring managers, in partnership with the Harris Poll, and we found that the top five aspects workers look for when switching jobs are: 

  1. Remote work 
  2. Flex time 
  3. Short commute 
  4. Paid leave 
  5. Training opportunities 

At the same time, the majority of hiring managers (61%) say they want to accommodate employee requests as a result of the pandemic but don’t have the resources to do so. If you can’t offer remote work, and you require employees on site at, say, a shipping logistics center, what can you offer to make up for this? Consider what it is about in-person work that makes working from home so popular, then get creative with how you can accommodate or make up for those benefits.  

Compensate — literally.

If the nature of your company’s work is not only in-person but also physically demanding or even hazardous, pay and benefits will get you the most mileage. You can be sure you’re offering competitive wages by using real-time labor market data.  

Rethink the commute. 

Employees who work from home now have extra time on their hands to leisurely get up and shower, read the news, eat breakfast, exercise, take their kids to school, take the dog out, pick up around the house — OK, so it’s not always so leisurely.  

And that’s why it’s been so welcome. That 19th-century union slogan, “eight hours for work, eight hours for rest, eight hours for what we will,” no longer fits today’s workload. As the majority of U.S. households are dual income, and 39% of survey respondents hold multiple jobs to make ends meet, that “what we will” has shrunk to something like “30 minutes of Netflix and pass out.”  

So how can you give workers back their time? How can you turn being stuck on a highway into something valuable?  

If they must drive to get to work, could you offer a company car instead? Could you pay extra for commuter benefits? What about in the form of airline “miles” for vacation? Or free oil changes and car washes? Or, for those workers concerned about the environmental impacts of their commute, perhaps there’s an electric mode or rideshare effort you could support.  

How about some extra vacation days while you’re at it? An hour of commute every day adds up to roughly 30 days a year. What if, in your job posting, you advertised six weeks of paid time off? That would surely get folks lining up.  

If your employees are not driving themselves and are instead taking public transit, that would be a great time to encourage upskilling courses. The commute doesn’t have to be a deterrent if you think creatively.  

Relax the dress code. 

Many a think piece has been penned on post-pandemic office attire, though not as much for non-office jobs. The key draw with WFH wear is that it doesn’t require much thought and is comfortable, with many workers saying they’re more productive when their clothing isn’t so stiff. (Imagine that!)  

If your work site requires a certain uniform, could you relax that a bit? Does the company logo-emblazoned button-up have to make it to the warehouse if the worker didn’t have a chance to wash it because they instead had to help their kid with math homework? Will a regular T-shirt suffice?  

Think about what is absolutely necessary for workers to be productive. 

Cut down on decision fatigue. 

As with clothing (and the shopping and laundry to maintain said clothing), meal planning is also a pain when it comes to leaving the house for work. Having an on-site chef or partnering with a nearby restaurant on a regular group rate could remedy this. Another way to alleviate end-of-the-day fatigue is to offer a meal kit subscription to places like HelloFresh or Blue Apron. If workers know they just have to show up and do their job, without all the other decisions like what to wear (Is it supposed to rain?) and what to eat (Forgot to get lunch meat again.), they’ll be more focused, have more energy and are less likely to face burnout. 

Promote a culture of trust. 

Sure, in-office employees might step out to pick up their sick kid from school or get to the bank before it closes, but the working-from-home dynamic changes when an employee can take care of their business without, well, making it their boss’s business. As long as they’re getting their work done, that element of trust remains strong. And that may be something lacking in an in-person workspace that’s worth examining. Foster a culture of trust and flexibility, and your existing workers will stick around — and help you attract new ones. 

For more insights, read the full report. 

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