Remote work has skyrocketed in the past year, as the COVID-19 pandemic forced companies and employees alike to consider new ways of working. And this change is here to stay. That’s why HR teams around the world must adapt to the changed circumstances and explore new tools to manage their increasing remote workforce. But what should be included in the HR toolkit of the future?

Work is changing and there is no looking back

There is no question about it: remote work is here to stay. More and more people around the globe are looking for remote positions and favor remote companies when looking for a new job. So if you want to attract the best talent and still offer an engaging and motivating work environment, you need to focus on remote.

But that is not done by simply offering remote positions – you need to encourage a change of culture within your company. One of the first things you should be looking at is adapting your HR toolkit to meet the new needs of your remote employees and manage the remote and virtual work challenges.

Current HR challenges for managing distributed teams

Managing a remote workforce comes with its own requirements. There are no in-person meetings and virtual communication must be done right to establish working relationships via a screen. But that’s not all. Let’s have a look at the most common HR challenges for managing remote employees.

1. Remote hiring

Before you can start managing a remote employee, you must find one to hire. Remote hiring faces the challenge of not seeing the candidate in person. Therefore, the hiring process needs to be designed in a way that lets you get to know the applicant, and vice versa. 

2. Remote onboarding

After hiring a new remote employee, the next challenge awaits: the onboarding process. You need to find a way to balance the conveying of information and important documents such as NDA’s, contracts, and compliance, with welcoming the new employee as a new part of the team at the same time. 

3. Contract management 

As mentioned before, managing contracts for remote employees can be tricky. You need the right software solution to ensure all parties have access to relevant data and documents at all times, and to track the status and signatures of important paperwork such as contracts and other work-related agreements.

4. Project management 

Probably one of the most universal challenge for both remote employees and companies, is finding an efficient project management system that allows you to communicate, track, and update shared projects and tasks as you go. While this already tends to get complicated when everyone is at one location, you need to adapt your work flow especially for a remote workforce, keeping in mind that you might have to include various time zones and communication channels to make the project work.

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5. Global payments and benefits

Of course, global payments are still one of the most pressing challenges when having a remote workforce. That’s why your HR toolkit should definitely include a payment solution to quickly and easily manage payments in different currencies.

But there are also many tax and benefit requirements associated with adding a new country or currency to your employee list. Expectations for benefits and local regulations concerning tax and other payments vary greatly by location. Tools that not only allow for global payments but also provide local expertise concerning regulations can make life easier for you in more than just one way.

6. Flexible payroll

Remote teams not only consist of full-time remote workers, but are often a balance between contractors and employees. Therefore, your payment system needs to allow for flexible payrolls and changing circumstances in your workforce.

7. Employee engagement

One of the biggest changes over the last year has been the shift to virtual meetings and communication. Done right, this can have amazing results for your productivity and team efficiency – but can be just as deflating if handled poorly. That is why it is crucial to have tools to provide feedback and track the productivity and overall happiness of employees.

Having a virtual employee engagement solution included in your HR toolkit is the first step to fully integrate this new form of communicating. Listen to our podcast to learn more about ‘How to engage your remote team by building a community-first culture’.

8. Data security

HR teams have access to a lot of sensitive personal information, and ensuring this data doesn’t land in the wrong hands should be a top priority for any company. Your HR toolkit for managing remote employees must act as a safeguard and keep personal data safe.

The HR toolkit of the future

Now that we have identified the challenges for managing remote employees, let’s have a look at different solutions for these problems. There is an abundance of platforms, softwares and applications that employers can use to hire talent, manage their payroll and benefits, and digitally engage with employees. 

The HR toolkit of the future should include:

  • an applicant tracking system (ATS) to hire new employees and automate the recruiting process
  • an employee engagement tool to track progress, productivity and enable direct feedback between manager and talent
  • a payment system to handle global transactions, individual benefits, and flexible payrolls 
  • a project management function to streamline workflows, track efficiency, and keep on top of time management
  • a talent management solution that allows for easy onboarding, document sharing, and contract management

However, tackling these solutions one by one can become not only a time-consuming task, but also a rather expensive undertaking that minimises overall productivity. Signing up and managing data in different software solutions doesn’t seem like the smartest idea. 

The ideal HR toolkit should therefore include a solution for each of these challenges, and preferably combine them in one software, so you don’t waste time changing from one platform to the next and adapting to a different interface every time. 

Lano offers a lot of the tools discussed that are crucial for managing a remote workforce. Payroll, compliance, contract and project management, and guaranteed data security are all features included in our platform. 

Selling to companies with different HR tools? Companies like Merge help you quickly add and manage all HR and ATS integrations to your product.