I recently read a great brainstorm-inducing article
written by the president of Dice.com on remote talent. He talks about bringing in people around the U.S. into your organization to plug talent gaps.
I think this is a great idea. We continue to see innovations in technology and work practices that allow for people to report to work remotely on a day-to-day basis. And, while many large organizations struggle with how to create and maintain consistent policies across thousands of employees, the truth is that for smaller companies, it is actually a lot less complex. Opening up to a wider talent pool can often bring new ideas and more flexibility into an organization. But why limit it to hiring only people from the same country as you? I’d pose the challenge to businesses that once someone is remote, why does it matter if they are in the next state or in the next country entirely? Once you’re outside the morning commute, it’s all remote.
The common excuses for only hiring within your own country are obvious: they speak the same language; they watch the same movies; I can relate to them better. However, as the co-founder of Bolton Remote, a company that helps small- and medium-sized businesses leverage the power of remote talent, I’ve seen companies big and small successfully overcome supposed cultural and linguistic boundaries to successfully integrate international team members into their organizations.
So why should you go global as opposed to just hiring within your home country? Here are three reasons why bringing on international remote talent can make sense for your business.
You Get More Value-For-Money When You Hire Internationally
Nowadays, saving money through labor arbitrage is almost a given. The cost of living in much of the developing world is significantly lower than in expensive countries like the U.S., Australia or parts of Europe. You can hire great people who are equal or better than anyone in your home country at a fraction of the cost, simply by breaking down the barriers of geography.
A director at a company we are working with who is building a remote team in the Philippines put it this way: being a company based out of Australia enables them to pay a high wage to an employee in the Philippines, while at the same paying a low wage in Australia. It’s a win-win for both employee and employer.
You Can Truly Find the Best Person for the Job, Regardless of Location
It’s a big world out there. Countries like the Philippines, Poland, India, Vietnam, Ukraine and many others have large, skilled labor pools. Being able to access these skilled workers significantly increases your chances of finding the best person for the job faster and more easily.
In our business, we continue to see a massive shift of small businesses, startups, and medium-sized companies looking to remain competitive by tapping into new talent markets around the globe. The “big guys” like IBM have been doing this for decades by going into these markets and setting up their own operations, hiring thousands of people and building products and services based on large scale labor arbitrage. This has typically been off limits to smaller firms because of the high barriers to going overseas and setting things up — especially if you only need the talent, don’t need hundreds or thousands of people and don’t necessarily mean to grow a customer base in those locations. Moving jobs to competitive locations is nothing new; it just requires a new mindset for many smaller companies who have been out of the loop for so long.
You Can Learn New Ways of Doing Things
A multicultural and cross-geographical workforce can be used as an advantage in business. Working with people from different backgrounds can spur creativity and help you avoid taking a monocultural approach to the issues your business faces.
Surprisingly, many businesses write off hiring internationally due to the cultural differences they encounter. All too often, communication style differences are perceived as performance issues, when really the root issue is that both sides aren’t on the same page yet. Anyone who says something simply didn’t work out due to cultural issues between team members has deeper underlying problems in their business.
Joe Slatter, founder & CEO of Better Practice, describes this phenomenon about hiring people different from yourself: “I had far more misunderstandings with native English speakers than I did with everyone else. I assumed that if I understood the words, I also understood what they meant. It turns out that wasn’t a very good assumption. With non-native speakers, on the other hand, I had prepared myself to listen more closely, and made a special effort to confirm my understanding through more active listening.”
The cultural differences “issue” should be approached like any other business challenge — with discipline, analysis and adaptation. Hiring non-locals presents new challenges which you must meet with a rigorous, disciplined focus on over-communication. But with some effort, you can successfully integrate international remote talent into your company’s workforce and reap the benefits.
Patrick Linton is the co-founder of Bolton Remote, where he helps fast growing businesses reliably tap into large, dynamic and cost-competitive international talent markets. He is also a member of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs.
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