How To Utilize New Workforce Models

“The Great Resignation” is here. There is currently an across-the-board exodus with nearly 41% of the global workforce “likely to consider leaving their current employer within the next year.” Covid-19 has made an already difficult talent market even more challenging, and in the U.S. alone, four million people quit their jobs in April. 

While organizations are grappling with this global trend of resignation, they’re also facing other challenges, including:

  • The urgency to digitize and adopt newer technologies like cloud, AI/ML and data security.
  • The time-consuming task of finding the right talent. In the pre-Covid era, the average time to fill a position was 12-50 days depending on the industry.
  • The challenge of retaining talent. In a survey of CIOs by Deloitte, 35% cite “finding, training, and retaining the right talent” as the number one challenge.

As the global workforce changes, I believe businesses that start adopting diverse and flexible workforce strategies will remain at the forefront of recovery. Prime among these workforce changes is the concept of global teams. 

The Rise Of New Talent Hubs

Global teams are employees hired in another city (generally offshore hubs) that mirror the culture, setup, processes and governance of the home office. This move is a potentially strong differentiator for businesses looking to insulate themselves, especially given the primary objective of attracting the best talent. From my experience helping businesses build remote teams, I’ve found that South Asia (India, Vietnam, Philippines), Latin America (Colombia, Argentina) and Eastern Europe (Poland, Ukraine, Czech Republic) are top talent hubs with millions of professionals across the highest demand skills. In India, India alone employs approximately 1.3 million people for global organizations. This digital talent pool grew by 32% in 2020.

Growing Workforce Models 

Given this context, a question to answer is: If we’re becoming more accepting of our clients being global, why not our employees? The rise of the “gig economy” means the best talent will no longer be where the best companies are being built. 

Here are two models which are emerging:

Co-located teams: In addition to emerging markets, there has been a significant relocation of professionals out of primary hubs to smaller cities that offer affordable living and higher quality of life. On the flip side, cities like Miami, Austin and Abu Dhabi have extended perks and benefits for any professionals wanting to live and work in these cities. 

Fully remote: More recently, there has been an uptick in the fully remote trend. This refers to a dispersed team of workers, completely location-independent, who sometimes travel while simultaneously working. They enjoy having more agency over their work lives. The number of fully remote employees in the U.S. saw a 96% increase in 2019. Companies are recognizing this and formulating policies to successfully attract and retain such talent.

Setting Up Global Teams

Different from hiring short-term contractors or contingent workers, hiring remote employees requires a high level of commitment. Businesses must hire full-time employees (FTEs) on the same terms and standards as they do their home offices. Here are three aspects to consider when building a global team:

Hiring: Attracting the right talent in the right markets when the employer brand isn’t well known can be tough. For this reason, an option I’ve seen some companies opt for when they are working with me and my company’s talent-sourcing service is to utilize sourcing channels that give them access to a universal talent pool with recommendations on salaries and benefits. To get started hiring on your own, however, I would ensure that you benchmark skills and hand out competitive compensations. You could even consider rolling out ESOP and stock options to global team members, just as you would to a local employee. 

Onboarding: Since remote employees don’t have as much opportunity to organically integrate with your company’s culture, a good onboarding strategy is critical in their happiness and retention. In order to onboard internationally, you need to make sure to include offers compliant with local labor laws, offer social support and incorporate appropriate benefits and perks. As an employer, onboarding is a valuable opportunity to share your company culture, rituals, processes and policies. In a formal setting, it can be done through workshops, seminars, video conferences or assignments. Informal elements include impromptu one-on-ones, shadowing and team connects.

Retention: Once you have hired the right employees, retaining them becomes a priority. From my experience, best-performing companies often keep their attrition under 10% in their global teams by providing a shared sense of purpose, stakeholder buy-in and frequent communication between teams.

Key Performance Indicators

Being able to recruit the right talent cost-effectively is important, but for many, the truly tricky part is defining the key performance indicators (KPI). How should companies measure recruitment effectiveness when it comes to remote workers? I recommend you focus on these key areas:

Cost per hire: Assess the financial investment your company is making to attract and hire new talent.

Time to hire: This is the time from the search kickoff to accepted offer and includes hours spent on each requisition.

Quality of hire: Quality often puts recruiters in a sticky situation since this KPI is largely based on subjective feedback. However, surveys can be used to measure recruiter satisfaction and retention rates. Over time, this can give you a glimpse into the quality of hires.

Attrition: When assessing recruitment, we often only think of how our business is impacted directly. What about the new hire? How satisfied are they with the recruitment experience?

Parting Thoughts

The companies that succeed in attracting and retaining top talent will be those that take the time to build an agile strategy and give teams flexibility and control over their work and life environment. Autocratic management is increasingly being replaced with an empathic and goal-driven approach as remote and hybrid work become the norm. 

Vikram Ahuja ANSR

Vikram Ahuja is the Co-founder & CEO of Talent500, which helps the top 10% of engineering talent accelerate their careers with opportunities from Fortune500 companies and global industry leaders.

Over his 13 years plus experience he has been a serial entrepreneur with a passion for using creativity to build and grow businesses across multiple domains. He was the founder of Byond Travel, Asia’s largest tours marketplace with 1M+ tours in over 80 countries Founding partner at Kyron, one of India’s leading start-up accelerators(acquired by Techstars in 2017) and Co-founder at Triperna, a Tiger Global backed, leading Online Travel company in the Middle-East and Cobone (acquired in early 2013).

Vikram has a bachelors in computer science engineering from RVCE Bangalore and an MBA from IESE Business School.