October 4, 2022

How To Hire *gasp* Onsite


Episode Highlights

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At Hirewell, we’re apologetic Team Remote homers. But that’s because it works for our business. It’s our preference.

We recognize that a lot of orgs can’t actually do full remote. For a variety of very valid reasons, which often go unacknowledged in the pro-remote, social media echo chamber.

Hiring onsite (or even hybrid) is unequivocally harder to do. But not impossible.

What are some of the keys to help you pull it off? Jeff Smith and James Hornick play the other side in episode 52 of The 10 Minute Talent Rant, “How To Hire *gasp* Onsite”

Episode Transcript

All right. The 10 Minute Talent Rant is live. I’m James Hornick joined by Jeff Smith, and we are on the clock. The 10 Minute Talent Rant is our ongoing series where you break down things that are broken in the talent acquisition and hiring space, maybe even pitch a solution or two. Before we dig in, all of our content can be found on talentinsights.hirewell.com.

This week’s topic, episode 52, <Gasp> How to hire on site? How do we hire on site Jeff? Big 180 this week. Yeah. We also need to talk about how absurd of a topic this is to begin with. Like three years ago, do you think we’d be talking about how do you hire on site? You know what I mean? Anyways, what a world.

Yeah. Is anyone else- okay taking this aside. Is anyone else just sick of the remote takes? Like I know it’s just not- we are team remote homers. We made a million of these takes ourselves. But I think the world’s kind of sick to death of them. I also think there’s been a little bit of a pivot, which I want to talk.

Yep. I think that, here’s the deal though. A lot of the people who are like hardcore pushing, “We have to go back to the office” they get dunked on a lot, but they do have some good points. Like we talk to people who have been remote. They enjoy the work life balance. They enjoy not having commute, but they are missing some things.

They’re missing mentorship, they’re missing some communication. They’re missing onboarding. They’re missing shooting this shit with their coworkers and that type of stuff. Yep. At the same time, I think we have to recognize there are some companies that do things just vastly different in a good way that have to be on site.

Like those of you familiar with GEs rotational program, the things they do. We have a client that uses very similar methodology for their leadership or their management general- they have a generalist management model. They train empathy by design. What that means is they’ve got an environment where people are packing boxes and developing the website and working the call center.

And to go into management, you have to have actually sat and done all these jobs, most of which have to be done on site. That way, when you become a leader in the organization you know exactly what everyone else does because you’ve literally sat in their shoes before. You can’t do that remote. I mean, it’s great when you’re an organization like that because you’re not reporting to someone who’s like- but whatever. You have to do that kind of stuff on site.

Yep. Those kind of companies have an excellent answer to the big question all remote workers have, why? Why should I be on site? And the problem is, is that’s not most companies though. Like most organizations who are on site and hybrid, have done an absolutely terrible job of answering the why anybody needs to be in the office, which we’ll talk about in a minute here.

Before we lose all the job seekers out there who are like, I can’t believe these guys are talking about onsite work. Jeff- we’re great advocates. A couple points for like job seekers and candidates out there. Jeff, if you want to kick us off here is for the preamble. Yeah, so like lots of companies are doing really interesting things and I think they keep stalling because

specifically of the lack of onsite collaboration. We are not immune to this, by the way. Like we have struggled a little bit with pushing like big strategic kind of initiatives through, because we’re just, we’re not looking- not to use a war term. We’re not looking our adversary in the face. Like it’s an important part of getting from point A to point B.

I think like the second that people sniff like the slightest hint of having to go to the office to brainstorm or whatever, it’s like a master revolt. Like, “Oh my God, this is terrible. I can’t do this.” It’s one thing if you’re maintaining like a nice well oiled machine ecosystem. It’s a totally another thing to go through like a full transformation

without having some sort of onsite interaction. So I think these big moves, overarchingly require a ton of dialogue, a ton of collaboration, and a lot of debate. All of those activities are best done in person. So secondly, people just crave interaction. And we’ve all been somewhat secluded for the last two, two and a half years.

So I’m not saying don’t, don’t go and take anything just because you need to be around other humans day to day. But if you know that you thrive in an onsite environment, go seek out a good fit with a company that’s doing cool things. It doesn’t have to be any more complicated than that. So we’ve established that like you’re interested in that candidate.

The best question then to your interviewer is, to your point, why. Why do you value onsite, an onsite workforce? If the answer is some way shaper like, “It’s always been this way” or “It’s a cultural reason” without any real business justification, run. Run now. That’s a micromanagement. That’s a power thing.

I think if the answer is thoughtful and it’s rooted in solving problems in a structured way, you’re onto something. So hopefully the job seekers stick around now. James, let’s talk a little bit about what advice we have for our employees. Okay. Let’s start the dunks now. Okay, cool. So first thing you have to realize and understand that the candidate pool is going to be thinner.

It’s just a fact. We’re never going back. The world is never going back to the pre 2020 era ever. If there is one company anywhere in the country offering full remote, the people in your market, in your town and your city have more competition and more options than just you. So just because you’ve gone back doesn’t mean everyone is.

The point I’ve made a few times, we pulled some data from Sourcewell on this using Java developers as an example. Like one and a half percent of Java developers throughout the whole country are based in my hometown in Chicago. So you’re cutting out 98.5% of the available talent once you go remote.

But not only that. That one and a half percent doesn’t have to work in Chicago. They can work wherever the hell they want to. Mm-hmm. So that’s not to say this is impossible, but you have to manage your own expectations. One, whether you’re building an internal talent acquisition team internally, or you’re using an agency, it’s going to cost more money, time and effort than it did before. Or second plan,

you have to build a robust LND strategy. You have to be able to train people up quickly. Forget about being able to like- you’re not going to find the perfect fits you used to be able to find. At least not in every case. You have to be more able and more ready to kind of train people and build them into the type of roles you’re hiring for.

Yep. Second, intentional messaging. We’ve touched on it already. Instead of mandating being on site some, most, all of the time, it is necessary, necessary to explain the business case for why the onsite work is beneficial. Like I’m not, you don’t, no one wants to go to a cube at their office and do this, sit on zooms all day. It’s stupid.

So when the messaging is focused on these high touch, high interaction activities, your folks will be more bought into the value of those activities. So think of it as using your tool, like use the office as a tool to achieve the objectives versus the objective just being in the office itself per se.

Like we have a great client, McMaster-Carr, you referenced them a little bit. They use a high hybrid model with a high level of intentionality. So some days are better on site, some days are better remote. But the key is the focus. When everyone is managing a lot of tasks in these like large Zoom environments,

they’re not focused on the task at hand. I mean, I’ve got three things going on right now. It’s- I just tuned, I just tuned you out for a whole 30 seconds there. Exactly. We’re just, we’ve all been there. We’re doing it right now. Like people have other stuff going on. When you get in a room, there’s just more focus.

So when days when strategy and group like efforts are the intention, they should be done on site. I get that. There’s value in that. So everyone’s actively engaged. There’s like a mandate to shut your devices off so that you have to like talk to each other. Days that are heads down, hammer out work, remote is the tool. Use that tool as well.

And you can get far more done without the distractions. You can’t hate Zoom calls and well on Zoom fatigue without admitting like how we got here and that there’s something wrong. Yeah. Next point. The flip side of that, like do not lean into lame ass shit as reasons. So that’s how you should do it. How you shouldn’t do it is, unfortunately there’s a lot of companies I’m seeing flip back to the 2010 playbook of talking about we’ve got beer on tap and we’ve got ping pong tables and we do sports leagues and stuff like that.

I mean, Jeff you’ve got all the toys and beer at home that you need with your kids. If that’s what you’re looking for, like- I can go jump on a- I can go jump on a trampoline right now. No. No matter how cool you think your environment is, someone’s basement and their living room, whatever is probably better.

These are not perks. There’s just distractions that like creating an illusion that it’s going to be fun. No one likes forced fun. Let’s stop trying to pretend like we can just create these group activities, everyone’s going to enjoy it. Yeah. Anyways. The real perk- like I was asking, I was talking to some people the other day like, “What are real perks that would get you excited?”

And like the one that people seem to chime into is childcare. If an organization can do onsite childcare, like that would be something that would actually turn some heads. It’s going to be costly. I don’t know if you can do it, but there’s a real perk as opposed to a bullshit perk. Anyway.

Totally. So finally, let’s rethink the idea of productivity and how we’re defining it. So like I’ve seen a lot of claims from business leaders that people aren’t as productive remote. We haven’t been able to find a study that actually backs that up. But Microsoft put out, I mean a hysterical report last week. 87%- 87% of remote employees feel more productive or productive

in their setting. 85% of leaders don’t have confidence that their teams are more productive. Like therein lies the massive disconnect. Yeah. And like another example on that is just that, like if you look at productivity from the lens of some days again, or your heads down days ,pushing stuff out versus onsite days or whatever.

Look at those days you spend on site in terms of collaboration to troubleshoot what’s going wrong with the bigger picture of the technology environment you’re trying to create. And then keep your remote days that the heads down, productivity days. Don’t try to match them all, combine them all into one thing because you’re never going to be able to convince anyone that everyone’s going to be more productive on site.

But if you cut down the bullshit back and forth they have to do on a daily basis because they’re not on the same page and they’re doing double work and that kind of stuff. That actually makes some level of sense. All right, fine. All you employers, we’ve given in for a second, right?

Yeah. We are short on clock. That’s a wrap this week. Thanks for tuning into the 10 Minute Talent Rant, part of the Talent Insight series which is always available to replay on talentinsights.hirewell.com as well as YouTube, Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify, and Amazon. Jeff, thanks again as always. Everyone out there, see you soon.

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