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How to Discuss Hybrid Workplace Policies with Candidates

Pre-pandemic, job candidates were primarily concerned about benefits, culture, and pay. While those critical factors are still on the table, many candidates now worry about office safety protocols for the hybrid workplace. 

Consider that 68% of workers argue the hybrid workplace model is ideal, according to research from Prudential. That alone would indicate that candidates are excited about in-office flexibility. However, a somewhat conflicting survey from Envoy demonstrates that 66% of their respondents were concerned about returning to in-person work.  

Despite the prevalence of unease, it is your responsibility as a recruiter to attract talent to your company. Right now, that means you’ll need to discuss various questions candidates may have regarding what’s expected of them on the job and what health and safety measures are in place. 

Here are four ways you can reassure candidates that the company is taking every measure to make the hybrid workplace a safe and supportive environment for employees: 

Be thorough when answering questions

The workplace is not returning to normal. According to recent PwC research, over 60% of executives expect to raise spending on virtual collaboration tools and manager training, 50% want to invest in hoteling apps, and 48% are looking into communal office spaces for returning to work with a hybrid model. 

Every company is undergoing significant changes right now. It makes sense that candidates ask so many questions to gain a firm grasp of what the position could look like. 

So regardless of your personal beliefs about COVID-19 safety protocols, you must remain sympathetic and patient in your responses to job candidates’ concerns. 

You should come across as dismissive when a candidate asks about something they feel is vital to their well-being. As a company representative, your response could lead talent to doubt the company’s willingness to look out for employees. 

Short, breezy answers do not cut it. For example, if candidates ask about mask expectations in the office, expand your response beyond a yes or no. Giving insight into the why and how will help candidates determine if they feel at ease with the policy, even if it’s different from what they expected.

Present successful policies from the pandemic

Many people believe the best way to predict the future is from past behaviors. Therefore, it’ll be no surprise when candidates ask about how the company responded to the pandemic. Knowing that the company was able to adapt to the situation and establish new policies to fit it is encouraging. 

For example, the PwC survey found that 79% of employees believed they were empowered to be more productive when companies allowed flexibility to manage their family matters. If your company encouraged temporary flexible work options or some other accommodation for employees during a crisis, become an expert on those policies and their effects on performance, morale, and employee wellness so you can go in-depth in interviews. 

Sharing this information can boost candidates’ trust and interest in the company. Especially if company leaders adopted policies that took employee burnout, mental health, and creative needs into consideration, the candidates would know this employer respects them. 

Have a reference guide on hand

Numbers are crucial to persuasion because they appear objective and position you as the expert. So data is a must when discussing changes to the hybrid workplace.

To ensure you remember important stats, bring a copy of important numbers with you to the interview. Go one step further by offering to provide a copy of pertinent information in a follow-up email for candidates to reference later. This way, they’ll find you more credible when you share information about employee satisfaction or changes to benefits due to the pandemic. It won’t just be leadership saying they did something great. It’ll be testimonials and poll data from all team members confirming company-wide success. 

Additionally, your retention rate during and after the pandemic is crucial to include. The Prudential research found that 20% of employees switched jobs during the pandemic, and 26% planned to look for a new job when the threat decreased. Thus, proving that the company was able to keep team members on board amid chaos says a lot about employee loyalty. 

Offer the opportunity for feedback

The majority of businesses are new to a hybrid workplace, so it’s OK to acknowledge that leadership is still figuring some things out. 

Ask your candidates if they have any concerns you haven’t covered. If it’s anything that stands in the way of them accepting an offer, explain that you’ll take the suggestion to decision-makers. At this stage, it may be reasonable to add minor safety protocols like increased hand sanitizer stations or a hand-free water fountain.

Also, articulate how well decision-makers are listening to employees. A personal statement from your experience with the company reassures candidates that leadership is in touch. So long as you remain authentic, that account can go a long way.