How smart businesses attract top remote talent in a post-COVID world

COVID-19 has driven a huge shift towards remote work. As the UK faces recession and a lengthy recovery, employers must see this as an opportunity, not just a necessity.

How smart businesses attract top remote talent in a post-COVID world

COVID-19 has driven a huge shift towards remote work. As the UK faces recession and a lengthy recovery, employers must see this as an opportunity, not just a necessity. 

The current health crisis has forced tens of thousands of employees across industries to stay at home and work remotely. As a result, employers and employees are embracing (by choice or by necessity) a more flexible approach to working and a change of mindset towards working life.

This sudden shift will have far-reaching consequences for businesses and teams of all sizes. This moment in remote working carries a range of opportunities that companies cannot afford to let slip, especially with regard to sourcing and securing the best global talent. 

Adopting a truly global approach to talent acquisition

A major benefit of the increasing acceptance of remote working is being able to recruit outside of local or commutable areas. When employees can work from anywhere, location no longer creates a barrier between talented workers who don’t want to uproot their lives and companies that would benefit from wider talent pools. 

Until now, individuals were expected to live close enough to commute to an office. Because of that expectation, individuals who live outside major hubs of opportunities, such as London, were expected to prioritise their career over their social and personal lives. In some situations, people had to put themselves at financial risk to put themselves in a location that would benefit their careers. As a result, only candidates who could afford to move or were willing to take substantial personal risks could pursue careers at businesses in expensive locations. 

With widespread remote working, this is no longer the case. According to a recent survey conducted by Remote, 63% of UK tech employees at small- and medium-sized businesses agreed that entrepreneurs and SMEs need to look beyond London to find the world’s best talent, while 41% believed that a greater emphasis on remote working would unlock a greater supply of skills.

This should encourage businesses to leave behind outdated conceptions of recruiting and recognise the new reality of remote work. Why not look beyond the UK’s borders to find the best talent? According to Remote’s survey, 57% of respondents believe that international remote working is a better alternative to increased immigration, allowing multiple economies to benefit from jobs and additional wealth.

Proactively address diversity, innovation and growth targets

Remote working businesses naturally recruit from a greater pool of talent. As companies recruit from a wider spread of regions and nations, they enjoy a lower barrier to entry to address diversity and inclusivity within the workplace.

Businesses should leverage this opportunity for growth by becoming more innovative through more diverse teams. According to Remote’s research, 46% believe remote working could drive greater innovation thanks to new ideas and ways of thinking. 

Some industries, such as the tech sector, are likely to especially benefit from this. Indeed, in the UK, most tech companies are currently concentrated in one area of the capital, the Silicon Roundabout in East London. By turning away from location-based jobs, the UK tech sector has a chance to become more representative of the country’s population, gaining greater trust from wider society.

The corporate world must recognise this pandemic as a unique opportunity to become more diverse and more inclusive. This is especially crucial for gender issues, given how COVID-19 has had an outsized negative effect on professional women who were more likely to juggle work and domestic responsibilities during lockdown. 

While there is no quick fix to solve gender issues, remote working can help companies to address these challenges by offering more flexibility to employees. In fact, 57% of women who took part in Remote’s survey said that flexibility is as or more important than traditional 9-5 hours. 

Remote working policies can attract and retain talent

While remote working has many benefits, strategic implementation is crucial to its sustained use. With 47% and 48% of Remote survey respondents acknowledging that workplace culture is key to hiring and retaining talent, respectively, making sure those who are remote feel just as valued to those who are not is key.

Pay, benefits, perks, and communication all must adapt to meet the needs of new remote employees. Usual office perks, such as free lunch on Fridays or regular social gatherings, are not suited to a remote world. Staff wellbeing is on track to become even more important than it used to be. 

According to 66% of employees surveyed, the next generation of successful entrepreneurs will not care where employees are based, but they will still care about the wellbeing of workers. Pension schemes, home office allowances, and healthcare are some of the benefits most desired by remote employees according to Remote’s research. 

In addition, the issue of equality of pay will become even more crucial. When setting up a global remote team, companies will have to decide to what degree pay and benefits should reflect local costs of living.

With many companies traditionally providing weighted salaries for those working in Greater London, this highlights the need for the introduction of carefully crafted remote working policies. An ideal balance between location and skills will guide the most successful companies through the transition. 

Remote working is here to stay

Remote working is more than just a requirement to continue productivity during pandemics. Remote’s insights show that an estimated 37% of roles will be remotely located outside of businesses’ home countries within the next five years.

There is a deluge of talent across the world, but up until now, location was the greatest obstacle for companies to benefit from it. Remote working has and will continue to change this, as businesses now have access to a greater and more diverse pool of candidates. Business leaders should ensure they adopt the right steps today to make the most of the opportunities brought on by remote working and win the battle for the best global talent.

About Job van der Voort:  

Job started his career as a neuroscientist before leaving academia to become the VP of Product at the largest distributed company in the world, GitLab, where he hired talent across 67 countries. He’s now the CEO and co-founder of Remote, an HR tech startup solving remote global organisations’ biggest challenge: employing anyone, anywhere, compliantly. 

Job van der Voort
Job van der Voort

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