How HR works within a fully remote firm

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While many organisations now offer some form of flexible working, few have taken the leap to become fully remote – but is it really as difficult as it might seem?

Krisha Buehler is the culture cultivator at BELAY – a service provider with around 70 employees but no brick and mortar building to call home. While the set up may sound a little different to most, Buehler says heading up the HR operations isn’t as different as many might think.

“As far as my responsibilities and goals, I would say those are actually comparable to anyone who is an HR professional,” she tells HRM. “I want a team of happy, engaged, high-performing people who are valued and appreciated – that’s pretty much in a nutshell.”

However, Buehler admits there are some key differences in the way she does her job – most importantly, the way she keeps in touch with employees and remains fully connected.

“For me, there’s no walking down the hall or popping in on someone’s cube just to see how they’re doing so I have to be super intentional and carve out time in my day to connect with people,” she tells HRM.

“Whether that’s emailing them, picking up the phone, getting on a video call, taking them out to lunch, meeting them for coffee – it’s about making sure that we’re constantly connected with each other so I know I have a pulse on the team.”

Another key difference is evident in the recruitment process and Buehler says significant focus is put on evaluating a candidate’s ability to work from home.

“While the thought of working remotely appeals to a lot of people, it’s not for everyone,” she tells HRM. “A lot of people have this vision of it being amazing but if they’ve never done it before they’re not truly prepared for what it’s like – it takes a certain kind of person.”

During the recruitment process, Buehler says she makes a concerted effort to be extremely transparent about expectations and the realities of remote working to make sure the arrangement is truly right for the candidate.

“I’m looking for a team player because you have to be able to collaborate and yes, you need to do that anywhere, but within a virtual environment it takes extra effort,” she explains.

“You have to be really intentional, you have to go above and beyond, you have to over-communicate and try really hard to stay connected so someone who is not a team player by nature may struggle with that.”

Discipline is another important attribute that Buehler says is crucial in a remote worker.

“It’s easy to get distracted when no one is around you so you have to be self-sufficient and self-motivated,” she tells HRM.

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