Having a talented team is pretty much the holy grail for any successful business. Ask most CEOs what their biggest problem is, and hiring will inevitably be at the top of the list. There's so much advice out there about hiring as well; what to look for in a resume, what questions to ask, and how to suss out poor performers versus the rock stars.
But there's one very overlooked way you can massively improve your talent pool: broadening it by hiring remotely.
Based on my decade of experience running a remote business, preceded by a decade of experience in traditional office environments, I've learned that enabling a remote workforce is one of the best ways to improve your odds of hiring an incredible team. Let me explain.
Hiring remotely removes geographical limits.
Having lots of candidates to choose from is an easy yet often ignored key to hiring well. Often, when business leaders are recruiting for roles--especially mid-level management and up--it's tricky to find the exact mix of talent and company cultural fit within a reasonable driving distance from their physical office.
Remove those geographical barriers, and the whole world is your talent pool. That simple act of broadening your limitations based on location can mean the difference between the perfect fit for your role or merely a close-enough one.
More specifically, hiring remotely allows business leaders to tap into the more rural parts of the U.S and abroad. In my personal experience at my tax preparation business, I am seeing more applicants applying from small cities that are more affordable or rural, a trend that seems consistent with migration patterns in the US. Your business doesn't want to miss out on that talent pool simply because of geography.
A few years ago, my company interviewed a candidate who moved to Wyoming with her partner's work. She has a specialist niche in accounting, and there were no firms in her local area that fit her needs. Being able to work remotely opened her up to roles that would not have been possible previously--and allowed us to hire talent that might have otherwise not been in our reach.
You will attract candidates who are self-motivated.
Working remotely tends to be misunderstood. Those who aren't accustomed to it imagine workers on laptops on the beach, barely working, or parents at home minding their kids and doing the laundry while "working."
In my experience, that couldn't be further from the reality. People who work remotely are more disciplined, they're more self-motivated, more communicative, and need less hands-on management. They simply have to be successful in a remote role. Whereas in a traditional office environment, showing up is a very outward way the boss judges whether the person is working, in a remote world, it's all about the output.
Workers who work remotely tend to be more proactive, more focused, and easier to manage--because they have to be. And that's not only my personal experience but also what Global Workforce Analytics found in their research too. Case in point: A two year study conducted by Stanford Graduate School of Business researchers in 2017 found a 13 percent improvement in performance among people who worked from home relative to their in-office peers.
Remote hiring means lower turnover.
On top of a larger talent pool, a happier workforce, and better candidates, your workforce will also stick around longer. According to a 2017 study conducted by remote conferencing company Owl Labs, companies that allow remote work have 25 percent lower turnover than companies who don't.
Job happiness aside, it's simply easier to retain employees who work remotely, as traditional reasons like moving homes, commute time, or other similar logistical challenges don't factor in.
I recently met a woman who works remotely for a startup in San Francisco in a senior role, having transplanted her family to Costa Rica from San Francisco. Had the employer not offered remote work, they would have surely lost that key employee.
Working remotely is a perk and a free way to strengthen your offer to job seekers.
One of the most obvious reasons why you will bring in better candidates for a remote role? Job seekers want remote roles.
In fact, the trend toward working from home has grown so quickly that it's expected for all companies to have a work-from-home policy that accommodates remote days or full schedules. Employees who work from home tend to be healthier, happier, and more productive. That alone is reason to expand your hiring strategy.
So, next time you find yourself scratching your head thinking, "how do I grow my business?", I would encourage you to reconsider your hiring approach, and specifically whether including remote talent would do the trick.