When you first began working remotely at the initial apex of the COVID-19 pandemic, were you prepared? Did you have a home office space? Proper equipment? An ergonomic chair? Comfortable lighting? It has been months, and if you’re like many local government leaders, you’re still working from home. By now, you may have found a more comfortable work-life balance, upgraded your home office, and—most importantly—your pet is living his best life.
Millions of Americans who were forced to make the rapid shift to remote work are finding that they quite like their home work environment. Many feel more productive and would work remotely full-time if not part-time if given the opportunity. What does this mean for local governments historically battling the private sector for top talent for years? It means they may have an opportunity to expand their hiring capabilities to include remote workers—but only if they properly market their community and work opportunities to talent looking for a flexible work-life balance where they can contribute to a vibrant community.
Working from Home: The Future of Normal
According to Global Workplace Analytics, 56 percent of the U.S. workforce currently holds a job that is at least partially compatible with remote work. Nearly four percent of the employee workforce works at home half-time or more, and Gallup data indicates that 43 percent of the workforce works at home at least some of the time. Global Workplace Analytics predicts that based on this data, long-term, post-pandemic, 25 to 30 percent of individuals will work from home several days per week.
COVID-19 not only showcased to individuals the value in remote work. For many, it allowed them to experience what had been a long-term hope. Before the pandemic, 80 percent of individuals wanted to work from home, with more than a third stating that they would be willing to take a pay cut to make it happen. Now that millions have experienced the convenience of a commute-less, formalwear-free workday, many of those who will soon be expected to return to an office park or public office will be open to opportunities with employers promoting flexible work opportunities—including your administration.
How to Market Your Community to Remote Workers
Individuals who want to work in the public sector are motivated by civic activism and a desire to help others. To showcase the value of an administrative position in your municipality, include the following impactful promotional messaging in your communications:
Your Community’s Mission and Values. People want to work for an employer, or in the case of public service, an administration or entity that shares their values. Include in your job descriptions the shared values in your community and the mission they will help to accomplish if they join your team.
They’ll be Enabled to Leverage Technology to Connect and Collaborate. Millennials and Gen Z employees, in particular, expect to be able to use modern, powerful connectivity tools and software applications to do their jobs. Many people are under the misapprehension that in public offices, workers are stuck using outdated desktop computers and antiquated, siloed software systems to do their work. Paint a vision for prospective hires that remote work for your administration will mean access to best-of-breed technology to help them feel like a crucial and valued member of their team.
Promote Your Elected Officials’ Vision
Your citizens elected a dynamic and inspiring leader. Leverage what makes them inspiring. Promote their vision for your community’s future and point applicants to videos of your elected officials’ public addresses or encourage applicants to follow your mayor or county executive on social media. Let your elected leaders be your best recruitment tactics for employees looking who want to e part of a team in which they can make an impact and fuel their passionate civic spirit.
Illuminate Their Purpose
Remote employees feel even more strongly than their in-person counterparts that they are a contributing member of a team. They want to have a defined role and a purpose that makes them indispensable, no matter where they are located. When hiring for remote work, create performance profiles, rather than job descriptions. Performance profiles are outcomes-based, as opposed to task-oriented, and will help the prospective applicant envision the impact they will make. This strategy will make your open position more appealing than one that includes a job role to-do list that could seemingly be accomplished by any task coordinator.
Communicate That They will Receive Regular Performance Evaluations
The relationship between an employee and their direct supervisor is crucial to job satisfaction. Telework might create distance between staff and supervisors, but it doesn’t have to create productivity barriers or a positive and collaborative working relationship. Make sure prospective hires know that your administration conducts regular performance evaluations—not just annual performance reviews. It will be meaningful to a remote worker to know that their accomplishments are noted and valued, even if they do not see their team or supervisor in person regularly.
The future of work is destined to be at least partially remote for most traditional office workers. While nothing can replace the experience of living in your community, for individuals who want to be difference-makers for your administration, but have reasons for needing to live somewhere else, extend your arms and your hiring credentials. Show remote talent the positive impact they can make for your community and help them feel confident that they will feel like a contributing member to a powerful team. With a talent recruitment strategy that prioritizes the values central to remote workers, you will set yourself up to hire the best people for your administration, with distance and office commutes never serving as barriers to winning top talent.