Conscious recruitment in the working from home era

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At Lacey &Co, we have a strict Don’t Be An Asshole Policy. Even accounting for a supposed “brilliant mind” (which often simply means that someone thinks they’re cleverer than everyone else and is entitled to treat others poorly – a Sherlock Holmes type if you will) there’s no excuse for behaving badly at work. 

We’re frequently reminded of the importance of this policy when clients seek our advice or require an investigation, because sometimes issues arise because they didn’t have such a policy when it came to recruiting to their organisation. By the time clients come to us, a toxic virus (forgive the metaphor) has infected the organisation’s culture, teammates are tired and downtrodden (at best) and productivity has dropped. Unfortunately, this virus can’t be repressed by the implementation of face masks.

In 2020’s #workingfromhome landscape, workplaces now look like our dining tables. It’s been the year when pretences about having a life outside work have been forcibly dropped. Kids are dodging homework and sneaking Tim Tams, cats flick fluffy tails in front of the screen during important meetings and dogs bark at the wind (just for fun). Ideally, it’s all fun and games – unless this means inviting the office jerk (virtually) into your home. 

For employers, the importance of having the right team in place has never been so imperative. Is there trust in your team? Are your employees committed and conscientious, transparent and honest? Do they have a collection of furry friends to lighten the load of seemingly endless zoom meetings? Are they flexible and supportive of each other when there’s a baby to settle or grade six maths to grapple with (x + y = gee, I don’t remember)? There’s a calculable payoff for building a creative, cohesive and collaborative workplace culture. For a start, you’re less likely to need legal advice because your business is suffering from a toxic brew of competitiveness gone wrong. 

It’s important to remember that Victoria’s Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 holds employers accountable for safely setting up home office structures and for ensuring the psychological safety of team-members. Hopefully, you’ve already built an ethical and transparent framework and foundation, establishing the values your team will effectively bring into each other’s homes. Maybe you achieved this through considered planning, perhaps it was good instincts, or perhaps you’re seeing some of those cracks this coronavirus is infamous for exposing. 

At Lacey & Co we’ve been trying to figure out how to have more time for Netflix and ice-cream meetings. One sure way to help us out, and you, is to think very carefully about building a team that pulls in the same direction right from the recruitment stage.

When selecting applicants for a new role, what is it that you notice first? How often do you look for signs – right at the outset – that this person is as committed to getting the most out of everyone around them as they are to doing well themselves? What strategies can you incorporate into your recruiting process to make sure you’re attracting and identifying that applicant who will embody the values and reputation you have worked so hard to establish? If you need some guidance on consciously recruiting that person who can support as well as shine then email us at and have a look through our past blogs for some more tips.

Because a person who has got to where they are by climbing on top of everyone they could is more likely to cause disruptions to the team and drive productivity to the floor. As if this isn’t reason enough to avoid such an applicant, an employee low on empathy but big on ego should be triggering warning bells for potential bullying allegations or sexual harassment claims. If we’re mediating your employee disputes or conducting investigations for you then we’re not living our best lockdown lives. But more to the point, neither are you.