The world continues to navigate through fundamental workplace transformations — shedding new light on the importance of being resilient and pivoting at a moment’s notice.
However, building a future-ready workplace is not an easy task. As more companies hire location-agnostic employees, it’s essential to focus on remote company culture and cater to dispersed teams’ needs and expectations.
In this PANGEO session, Maria Ahern, Senior Manager, Partner Marketing at G-P, spoke with industry expert Caroline Gammon, HCM Market Specialist at IRIS Software Group, about how to build future-ready workplaces in the age of global hiring.
What are the best remote work practices businesses should follow?
Gammon opened the discussion by pointing out that the idea that employers can hire anywhere is a relatively new concept, even though companies have been able to hire internationally for a long time. “This is different,” she said. “We’re saying that any company, of any size, should consider the global talent pool for any job that can be done remotely.”
To her, the number one best practice companies should follow is being open-minded when it comes to remote work. Even those that don’t limit the scope of their hiring strategy can end up disregarding candidates based on their location. “And I am guilty of that,” Gammon admitted. “Only because that’s how I was brought up as an HR professional.”
“I think many companies have yet to realize the potential of global recruitment,” Ahern agreed, adding that “your company will naturally enrich its culture by adding team members from several locations and cultural backgrounds.”
What are the challenges and solutions of the hybrid model?
Gammon observed that before the pandemic, not a lot of people had heard about hybrid work, which now has become a model that’s here to stay — so much so that some employees only want to work for organizations that offer some sort of flexibility.
“This shift benefits both sides,” Gammon said. But companies need to ready themselves if they wish to take advantage of this novelty.
“You need to be a cloud-based organization,” she explained. “Put all of your systems in the cloud so that your employees can access it remotely.” Though that might sound like a given, Gammon mentioned that prior to the pandemic, only around 2/3 of IRIS’ clients were on the cloud — something that changed quickly once Covid hit.
Moreover, she mentioned how hybrid work tears down out-of-date structures. The result is a new form of relationship based on trust between employer and employee, in which the company doesn’t have to keep constant watch over what their team members are doing for eight hours a day.
Technology comes in again here since there’s a whole set of tools companies can use to communicate with their workforce and make sure things are heading in the right direction.
How can companies enable remote work?
Ahern observed that hybrid work has led to two contrasting cultures: those who continue to work from the office and may benefit from in-person collaboration, and those who want to continue to work remotely and might not be as negatively impacted by an independent work environment.
“Companies must really try and avoid inequality between hybrid and non-hybrid employees,” she urged. “Team leaders need to have regular check-ins, informal catch-ups with all their employees — not only to connect with the everyday workload but also to provide guidance and balance things as well.”
At IRIS, there is a mix of remote and presential work, and people can opt for one or the other — but the company makes sure everybody is part of the same work culture. Gammon gave an example that happened last summer when, during a heatwave, IRIS sent an ice-cream van to its office in Manchester. “We all had ice cream, but everyone at home was also encouraged to go and get one. That’s really important; we all felt that we’re still one group.”
Apart from avoiding proximity bias, Gammon said it’s important that companies develop proper remote work policies so that everyone understands how it works. She mentioned Airbnb, which recently announced they would allow employees to work from anywhere — provided that they keep it within a 170-country list and that no one spent more than 90 days away from their primary base. “It’s a system that works because it clarifies what ‘anywhere’ means,” Gammon said.
In her closing statements, Gammon circled back to her initial point that this is all very new — and that before G-P created the global employment platform industry, most companies looking to expand internationally would just go out there and open local entities.
“I’m excited,” she summarized. “We can now recruit globally. We are opening up to a talent pool, and there is a way that we can now recruit someone from a country where our business doesn’t even have anything. It’s very exciting, it’s dynamic, and it opens up a lot of new opportunities.”
Learn more about PANGEO, the Largest Global Employment Conference in the World, here.
An event by G-P. Global Made Possible