With Hybrid Work Here To Stay, It’s Time To Rethink Talent Sourcing

Kristina Johnson is Okta’s Chief People Officer, leading the organization’s global People function.

The Covid-19 pandemic prompted a massive shift to remote work, leading companies to quickly embrace a new hybrid work environment. Despite the unexpected departure from the office, many employees have warmed up to the idea of working from home over the past few months. A recent Gallup poll reported that 59% of U.S. workers would like to continue working from home “as much as possible” after the pandemic subsides. Business leaders have taken notice, with companies like Google working remotely into next summer and Facebook offering employees the flexibility to work remotely even after offices open again. In order to meet employees’ new expectations about the workplace, a hybrid work environment is the way of the future.

As a result, companies with a combination of in-person and remote employees have a much larger talent pool to work with. Fewer candidates will be bound by their location, and companies can begin looking beyond their office-centric talent pools to find the best fit for a role. While this undoubtedly opens up more opportunities for companies and employees and fosters diversity by eliminating certain barriers, this shift in the workplace requires hiring teams to rethink their talent sourcing strategies.

Formalize your hybrid work expectations.

As some offices begin reopening and others remain entirely remote through 2020 and beyond, current and prospective employees will look for clear guidelines and expectations around hybrid work environments. Empowering employees to be successful wherever they work creates a flexible and customized environment that best fits the individual’s needs. For instance, a facilities manager will need to be on-site, while someone on the finance team may have more flexibility to operate in a remote setting. Some positions, however, fall somewhere in the middle. A regional sales manager, for example, is tied to the region in which they operate, but that doesn’t necessarily require dedicated in-office workspace.

When formalizing guidelines around hybrid work, it’s critical to recognize the limitations that will impact talent-sourcing strategies. Consider recent graduate hires and those early in their careers who will benefit from time spent in an office. They’ll learn by sitting next to colleagues throughout their training and get comfortable with the dynamics and expectations of a workplace by doing so.

Assess your internal talent landscape.

When searching for talent, it’s critical not to overlook your current employees and their potential. According to a recent LinkedIn report, 94% of HR and hiring professionals said internal recruiting helps companies retain their top talent. If a new sales position within your company opens up, chat with employees on teams like product marketing or product management. These employees already have intimate knowledge of the product, mission and culture, making them more than prepared to transition into similar roles within the organization. Additionally, internal sourcing ultimately cuts down on resources spent on recruiting and training.

Likewise, a thorough understanding of hiring priorities better informs talent acquisition strategies. Consider which roles are most competitive or difficult to fill. If the engineering team is typically difficult to hire for, a deep talent pool is necessary for your company’s well-being. If you’re having difficulty fulfilling a certain role or establishing a viable pipeline of potential candidates, it’s likely time to widen and deepen the search. At Okta, we actively source talent that is “ready now” and curate pools of “ready in the future” talent. Doing so allows us to tap into talent that we’ve been interacting with over an extended period of time, and when the right role opens, we already have a strong pipeline.

Connect with talent in more effective ways.

With location as less of a guiding factor, hiring teams can cast a wider net with new — and more effective — talent-sourcing methods. These methods help to reach candidates outside of the company’s usual line of vision, establishing more inclusive recruiting practices in the process.

Virtual career fairs have been around for quite some time, but they’ve taken on a new importance amid the Covid-19 pandemic. This approach not only allows hiring teams to reach new groups of candidates but also lets attendees have a personalized experience, all from their home offices. These fairs present an opportunity to partner with professional organizations and other groups focused on sourcing diverse talent, introducing new candidates to a company.

Hiring teams should always take the talent hunt to social media, especially beyond LinkedIn. Although job search websites and word-of-mouth remain the most popular choices, one-third of job seekers use social media to learn more about a company, according to Glassdoor. Employees sharing experiences like Zoom happy hours or team-building exercises across platforms showcases a company’s culture. Recruiter-hosted AMAs on social platforms like Reddit can answer candidates’ questions on hiring and the company’s vision for its workforce. 

Internship programs still present a robust talent pipeline, and taking them remote allows even more students and recent graduates to participate. Companies like Dell and PepsiCo have decided to run internship programs entirely remotely. The remote experience may not be the same as in-office, but internships still offer invaluable skills for those entering the workforce and can unearth talent.

Allowing for more creative connections like these, a hybrid approach to talent sourcing models eliminates obstacles like location while also helping support a more diverse workforce. The hybrid model of tomorrow, in short, helps hiring teams focus on what’s most important: finding and networking with highly valuable, skilled candidates.

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