How the remote workforce is breaking down talent barriers

Remote working is becoming more commonplace than ever before - but what are the benefits both for businesses and the people that they are hiring?

“One must consider that for experienced performers, and Gen Y and Z candidates, remote working, either full or part time, is no longer a ‘rare privilege,’ it’s a very common practice,” says Nick Mitchell, Founder and CEO of Ultimate Performance, a company that actively hires remote employees.

Hiring remote workers has become commonplace for companies like Mitchell’s because it breaks down talent barriers for the companies who are willing to innovate and evolve. Mitchell continues, “It’s easy to say you want the very best, but if you insist on people being able to commute to the office, you’re really saying that you want the best – but within 20 minutes of X. Remote working lets us throw the talent net much wider.”

Not only does hiring remote make it possible to reach more workers, but it provides more opportunities for talent around the globe. Are you ready to break down the talent barriers of your business? Here’s how remote work will help you do that.

Employers can reach the best talent

The remote workforce makes it possible for employers to tap into a larger pool of talent. In a world where unemployment rates are continually fluctuating, this is critical to finding the talent you need. Asure’s Talent Management Team suggests: “Extremely low unemployment rates mean that most people who want a job already have one, making it harder to find employees with all of the skills your organisation needs.”

The good news is, those employees are out there, looking for work. You just need to find them – and that means looking beyond the borders of your state, country or continent. Yet, you aren’t just finding another employee. Offering remote work also allows you to level up your talent:

Mitchell says: “We’re looking to hire the very best people and we know that we need to accommodate their preferred workflow. The level of employee we’re looking to attract are autonomous high performers who are very motivated and we believe these are key traits of successful remote workers.”

It’s easier to find short-term specialised employees

A 2018 UpWork report found that 59 per cent hiring managers agree that skills have become more specialised compared to three years ago. Yet these specialised employees can be hard to find if you want to hire on a short-term, part-time or contract basis. The latter has become especially popular in recent years, according to a 2018 Marist/NPR poll, which found that one in five American jobs are held by contract workers.

Remote contract workers are a better fit for these specialised positions because few people are looking for in-office work on a part-time, or even short-term, basis. An employee like this is likely working with other clients or employers to maintain a full income; the average contract or freelance worker is juggling 4.5 clients each month, according to the 2017 Freelancing in America report. As such, going into an office isn’t often feasible, making this type of work better suited for a remote employee, who can toggle between clients or jobs easily, without leaving the house.

Instead of giving the gig to someone who’s not well suited for the position, but lives nearby, turn to the remote workforce, where you can find potential employees with specialties in everything from robotics and development to marketing and customer service.

Read more: Can flexible working solve the career break penalty?

Remote talent has a chance to find work

The beginning of 2018 was abuzz about the lack of cybersecurity talent. Stats like the US cybersecurity talent gap reaching 1.5 million by 2019, were being shared on blogs, industry publications and national news sites. But there’s an interesting dynamic at play here. There may not simply be a lack of talent, but rather, a lack of local talent that’s interested in local jobs.

The 2017 Indeed Spotlight: The Global Security Skills Gap reported that the supply of job seekers exceeds 50 per cent of employer demand in only US and Canada, while interest in ethical hacker jobs exceeds employer demand in various countries. Meaning, if a talented UK cybersecurity professional wanted an ethical hacking job, but couldn’t find it in his or her region, they could apply to remote jobs in the US, where there’s still a demand for those workers.

The opportunity to find employment, and allow as many people to put their skills to work as possible – despite where they live – is beneficial for everyone. Companies find employees who are ready to work and learn, and talented people find companies who can provide them with the work they’re looking for.

New skills

A Harvard Business Review poll found that remote employees feel as though their in-office co-workers don’t fight for their priorities. These remote employees reported having fears that their coworkers are talking badly behind their back, lobbying against them, and making changes to projects without telling them.

While this may or may not be actually happening – the data was self-reported – it’s an important insight to consider. There’s always some element of drama in the office, but managers who lead remote teams need to bring new skills to the table, including impeccable communication and organisation, and the ability to create a sense of inclusivity for everyone on the team.

If you hire remote employees, you’ll need to rethink the management talent you’re hiring for. For example, someone who’s been in a project management role for much of their career would be a great leader for a remote team. However, to make that hire, you need to break down your own internal talent barriers as well. In this case, you may need to re-think the management role within your company, which likely means branching out to candidates you wouldn’t have considered before.

Breaking down talent barriers

The remote workforce is breaking down talent barriers in a way that’s helping both employers and employees: “Remote working isn't a one way street that only benefits the employee, it helps with talent retention and reduces turnover. It can also make people more productive because they’re able to work in their own controlled ‘optimum environment,’” suggests Mitchell.

If you’re ready to find the best talent and bring opportunity to those who may not have it, it’s time to start building your remote workforce. As you do, rethink your management team. Are your current managers best suited to get the most from your remote employees? If not, it’s time to break down your own internal talent barriers to continue building the most effective remote team possible.

This is a guest blog and may not represent the views of Virgin.com. Please see virgin.com/terms for more details. Thumbnail from gettyimages.

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