Hiring, Retaining and Engaging Employees in the Virtual World

Apr 16, 2021 | Webinars

Recently, MatchCraft’s CEO, Sandy Lohr, joined SIINDA’s Kimberli J. Lewis on the Voice of America – Leadership Beyond Borders podcast to talk about how MatchCraft hires, engages & retains remote employees and what SMBs can do to find and retain talent in this new virtual work world.

Below are some key points from the interview.


Going 100% Virtual 

Given that the MatchCraft team was already 50% remote, even pre-pandemic, going 100% remote was easier for us than most due to the continuity plans we already had in place.

Having been in business for over 20 years now, we understand the importance of institutional knowledge that is housed within long term employees. So, to ensure that such valuable information stayed easily accessible to the company and its employees at all times, we set in place backup plans to document essential information.

When the pandemic hit, our top priority was the safety & health of MatchCraft’s employees, followed by support for MatchCraft’s reseller and agency clients and their 50,000+ merchant campaigns running on our adVantage platform.

And since going virtual can cause communication delays/issues, we set out an immediate goal of transparent communication company wide. Over the course of the pandemic, we made several, successful, company wide efforts to keep our employees informed and engaged. A good example of MatchCraft’s efforts to keep employees in the loop is the weekly video updates that Sandy began hosting when the lockdown kicked in. The goal was to address tough topics and be forthcoming about the difficult choices the company had to make in order to preserve our talent and offset losses.


Remote Hiring

Being a global company, we source candidates from all over the world and having determined that MatchCraft is a permanently remote company, it is a necessity for us to find talent that can embrace a telecommuting environment.

We work with job boards, tech network groups, college fairs and offer mentoring via programs for high schools and colleges.

To ensure that our diverse pool of candidates understand the scope of their roles, including the need to work remotely, we conduct a 4-5 stage interview that includes the hiring manager from the very beginning. We do very little pre-qualification or ‘screening’ and instead focus on being inclusive, diverse, & accessible.

Virtual working is discussed in several stages by hiring managers, the People & Culture team and the leadership team. To gauge prospective employees’ comfort level with virtual, we ask them about their perspectives on the pros and cons of remote working.

It can, however, be tough to make someone feel at ease when meeting them virtually.  So, at times we find it difficult to sell our benefits as an employer to prospective employees. The goal is always to find a mutual fit between a candidate and our company.


Employee Engagement & Retention

First and foremost, to ensure that all incoming employees feel welcome, we organize virtual onboarding activities and assign every new hire a ‘buddy’ – a seasoned MatchCrafter that can help them learn the ropes by sharing their own experiences and answering any and all questions in a safe & confidential environment. We also stress the importance of our Corporate Vision and Mission, so that it’s clear as to WHY we exist.

Millennials have helped shape MatchCraft’s work-life balance initiatives and employee perks. Our focus is on wellness-based engagement activities such as mindfulness meditation sessions and health & wellness reimbursement programs – the goal is to allow employees to step away from their work and have a chance to decompress.

And to keep things fun in the virtual world, we routinely host activities such as meme contests, virtual lunches and team building activities. But most importantly, we take constant feedback from our employees.

We are happy to report that we don’t have a lot of turnover at MatchCraft. MatchCraft’s average employee tenure is nearly 6 years as opposed to the industry standard of around 3 years. And our Glassdoor rating is 4.4 compared to the average Glassdoor rating of 3.4.

To read more about MatchCraft’s virtual-centric workplace framework, take a look at our Creating an Engaging Culture in a Virtual-Centric Workplace whitepaper.


How SMBs Can Attract The Best Talent

  • Expand Reach – In addition to using job boards (craigslist is often used by small businesses due to its affordability), look for local career support organizations and get involved. Also, don’t be scared to foray outside of your comfort zone, geographically, when looking for new employees.
  • Go Online – Take advantage of the new virtual work world & hire specialists, such as freelancers, online. It’s a great way to target the best talent anywhere.
  • Sell Yourself – Highlight who you are as an employer by sharing details about your company’s benefits, employee engagement activities & community centric initiatives on your company’s website & social media.


How SMBs Can Attract The Best Talent

  • People First – Your people come first. Convey that loud and clear, and as authentically as possible.
  • Be Transparent – Keep your employees in the loop regarding your company’s practices and growth
  • Be Flexible – Consider what things are important, such as flexibility for employees who are balancing the COVID-school-world.
  • Take Feedback – Truly take feedback from your employees and make tangible changes to better their experience as a part of your company.
  • Invest in Technology – Embrace technology that allows for better communication, collaboration, training and transactions without abandoning the personal touches that will set you apart from the rest
  • Bring Out Your Wartime Best – Times of crisis need your wartime best as the head of a company. The shutdowns needed strong decision making, perfection and analysis paralysis were liabilities. And the upcoming months will need you to lead with clarity, direction & focus.


Looking Forward 

Since our plan is to stay 100% remote, we will continue to engage employees via our virtual engagement activities such as happy hours, team lunches, meditation sessions & team building activities such as the Fuego session that we recently conducted where our employees learned how to make healthy meals and exercise at their home office desks.

We will also continue interacting with employees via remote shadowing sessions where employees are able to discuss their objectives and the areas of growth opportunities for MatchCraft.

The goal is to make our teams feel connected regardless of where in the world they are. And given that our employee churn rate was the lowest that it’s been in the past 3 years, we must be doing something right!


Listen to the entire episode here: