While Charter Communications has dabbled in virtual recruiting for several years, it made the move to 100% virtual hiring in mid-March due to the COVID-19 crisis. Charter has hired 3,000 new employees—all of them virtually—during the coronavirus pandemic and is still seeking applicants for thousands of additional jobs.
Over the past few years, Charter augmented its face-to-face interview process with web-screening applications and video interviews. As of February, Charter was hiring 25% of its new employees virtually before going to 100% in mid-March.
Charter credited its virtual recruiting and hiring for enabling it to continue to grow its workforce while "adopting CDC recommended social distancing guidelines."
“Charter has been at the forefront of using virtual hiring technology to recruit and screen candidates, so we were able to transition quickly and seamlessly to virtual hiring when this crisis started," said Charter's Seth Feit, group vice president for talent, in a statement. "Through the effective use of virtual hiring practices, we have maintained a steady rate of hiring and as the country begins to resume office work, we are well-positioned to hire even more people in the many markets in which we operate.”
Markets where Charter is hiring include Rotterdam, N.Y., where Charter is recruiting for 200 roles at its renovated mobile call center; Kansas City, Mo., where the company is filling 185 jobs at its mobile call center; Portland, Maine, where Charter is seeking 100 new customer billing agents; and El Paso, Texas, for 350 new jobs at Charter’s Spectrum sales operation center.
Charter came under fire during the initial stages of the coronavirus in March for not letting the majority of its 95,000 employees work from home. Two weeks ago, the New York Times reported that 230 Charter employees had tested positive for COVID-19.
Citing an unnamed source, The New York Times reported that Charter, which uses its Spectrum branding for its triple play services, has required thousands of its employees to work in offices and call centers instead of from their homes. Of the 230 employees that tested positive for COVID-19, about half worked in the cable operator's offices or call centers. The New York Times also said that at least two of Spectrum's field technicians have died.
In response to employees' concerns, Charter has given its employees three weeks of flexible time off to use during the coronavirus pandemic. Along the same lines, AT&T has given its employees an additional four weeks of paid time off for COVID-19 related needs, and instituted new personal protection protocols.
Charter also announced it wouldn't layoff or furlough any of its employees over the following 60 days. Charter also said it would increase wages for all hourly workers from $15 to $20 over the next two years with immediate increases of $1.50 an hour for frontline field and customer operations employees. Charter also announced enhanced health plans to waive the costs for diagnostic testing services and telehealth visits for 90 days.
During last week's first quarter earnings call, Charter CEO Tom Rutledge outlined how his company was keeping employees and customers safe during the coronavirus pandemic, although the work-from-home issue wasn't addressed during the earnings call.
As one example of social distancing, Rutledge pointed to Charter's self-installation program that allows new subscribers to connect their own services while technicians remain outside of homes. During the coronavirus pandemic, Charter has increased self-installs to 90% as it added 10,000 new broadband customers a day in the first quarter.