One of the most discussed workplace trends of 2023 has been hybrid work.
Its benefits to employees and employers—many workers enjoy the flexibility work-life balance it provides, and leaders love the connection and collaboration of in-person time—have caused thousands of businesses to implement a hybrid work approach this year and into 2024.
A 2023 study found that about two-thirds of current employers require employees to work from an office—whether that’s full-time or part-time—and up to 90 percent of employers will have employees work from the office in some capacity by the end of the year.
But to bring employees into the office every week means they have to be local to the office. There are many companies who hired remote workers over the last couple of years who now need to (re)build teams that can work in the office on a hybrid basis.
So, with some help from Lawrence Dearth, Insight Global’s President of Recruiting, let’s talk about how to rebuild teams locally. But first, let’s talk about why businesses are doing this in the first place.
Why Are Companies Rebuilding with Local Talent?
Building an all-local team is nothing new in the world of business. But just as the pendulum swung away from fully in-office jobs toward more remote work from 2020 to 2022, the oscillation is finding a new home somewhere in the middle.
Insight Global is now seeing that nearly 90 percent of new job postings we manage have been for non-remote jobs.
But why is the staffing trend shifting this way?
Dearth says it’s a product of the current job market conditions. “Over the last couple of years, job openings were extremely high, as were quit rates. Companies used the remote work incentive to capture talent, but companies can be more selective now,” he says. “With job openings lower than previous years, and quit rates normalizing, companies can hire employees who are willing to come into the office more easily than the last couple of years.” An August 2023 report also found that working on a hyrbid schedule can lead to higher levels of productivity.
And with the trend leaning towards hybrid or in-office roles getting paid similar compensation to remote roles, companies are often opting to have employees work in person part of the time.
The in-person approach, Dearth says, can lead to:
- Better collaboration
- Better productivity
- More training and mentoring opportunities
- Higher trust and connection between employees
Tips & Things to Keep in Mind When Building Teams with Local Talent
Now that we’ve discussed why many companies are shifting back toward hybrid and local talent, let’s talk about how to do this successfully. Here are five tips and pieces of advice to follow when building your local teams.
1. Be Up Front About Your Expectations
The most important part of building teams locally is making sure you are up front with your policies and needs when it comes to:
- Remote work
- Hybrid work
- Full-time office work
- Work hours in the office
- Work hours when remote
What do each of those scenarios look like for your team? What types of roles work best in each situation? What jobs can be more or less flexible based on things like cybersecurity, client interface, and floor coverage?
This can change from company to company, but it’s vital you are up front about these policies and your expectations. Can someone work 7-4 in the office—but 10-7 at home? Be clear.
“Have the why behind these working environments clearly outlined,” Dearth adds. “Not only do employees need to know what expectations are for hybrid or fully in office work, but they need to know why these are the strategies.”
These reasons can include (but are certainly not limited to):
- Training opportunities
- Visibility with leadership
Whatever your reason, communicate it with everyone and keep it consistent.
2. Have Local Teams Interviewing Candidates
If you’re going to ask employees to work on-site, showcase your office and team during the interview process.
Many HR teams developed—and got really good at—the remote interview process during the last few years. It was an absolute necessity during a global pandemic, and many parts of a remote interview process are still great to include in your own process today. (More on this in a couple of sections.)
But to find talent that’s comfortable working in your office, it’s important to have people who know the local talent market and interview candidates that are interested in being on-site at the work location.
“It is really hard to be able to uphold a hybrid policy if you’re leading a fully remote interview process,” Dearth says. The exception might be for someone who would relocate to come to work with you and, therefore, couldn’t easily commute to the entire interview process.
If you have local teams interviewing candidates, bring the candidates on site. This allows the candidate to come in to gauge what the commute, workspace, and general office environment look like.
“Having local recruiters or HR teams interviewing talent on-site reiterates your commitment to your policy,” Dearth said. “It builds real genuine relationships and tangible elements of the company to job seekers. And for the people you do want to offer the job to, more of them will accept and work on site for you.”
3. Ensure You Have Local Staffing Providers
This goes beyond the walls of your organization. Sure, your on-staff recruiters should be able to find local talent, but partners with deep local networks matter now more than ever. Do you have access to the niche candidate for a role you haven’t hired for before?
“Ensure that your talent strategy has local talent providers,” Dearth advises.
This is where staffing companies can come into play.
“Look for staffing agencies that have physical office locations in or around the markets you need talent, support other customers, and have large consultant alumni networks.”
4. Policies Need to Be Reflected from the Top Down
“Leadership is here to serve” is one of Insight Global’s shared values. That means being there for your employees, but it also means setting the example.
Policies need be enacted from the top down, Dearth says. It’s disheartening for employees to be told they need to come into the office—whether that’s for one day or five days or anything between—and their leader is not there.
With the manager there, the employees can:
- Work closely with the boss
- Build genuine interpersonal relationship with their supervisor
- Have natural opportunities for training and development they wouldn’t otherwise in remote settings.
- Ask ad hoc questions and work collaboratively with other team members
But having employees both current and future buy in, that starts with the leaders—from executives on down.
5. Go Through Your HR Workflow and See What Can Be On Site
We alluded to this earlier, but if you’re building teams with local talent, make sure parts of the hiring process are local, too. If you’re asking a candidate to work on site three days per week, but all of the interviews, onboarding, and training happen remotely, what does that say to the candidate?
Your human resources teams can go through the entire hiring workflow and identify what parts can remain remote and what can be in-person. This will help bring candidates and new hires on site, easing some the candidate’s anxieties of starting a new job and potentially reducing backouts, Dearth says.
On the flip side, not every part of the hiring process needs to be on site, either. Initial screenings, new hire paperwork, and some virtual trainings can be executed flawlessly remotely.
“But don’t do a virtual orientation out of convenience,” Dearth said. “Make your orientations in person. Plan pre-boarding activities that allow the new hire a better understanding of the people that they’re going to be working with and around.
Need Help Rebuilding Your Teams with Local Talent?
Insight Global can be your partner when it comes to rebuilding teams with local talent. We have nearly 70 offices across North America, and we have more than 20 years of expertise in recruiting in local markets.
Let us know your hiring needs, and we can find you the local talent you need.
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