Remote Work as a Way of Tackling Talent Shortage

June 13, 2022


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Time has passed and remote work by now, most of us have learned to become as efficient as in the office. Maybe even more.
Processes are being improved and becoming easier and some may argue that the tables have turned: remote working is increasingly seen as a magic weapon to tackle major issues of today’s “work world”.

Throughout our Webinar Putting Europe on the map: How to Hire and Manage global Talent our speakers Head of Trust & Employer Compliance at WorkMotion Pieter Manden,  Head of HR Operations & Culture at Enpal Sophie Kostka, Team Lead People Operations at Everphone Bianca Ester and Global Mobility Team Lead at Personio Reece Procter discussed the potential of remote hiring to solve the shortage of talent, a problem that is leading to job vacancies reaching a record high in the Netherlands with 400k, Belgium with 200k and the United Kingdom with 1,3m. Paradoxically, this problem seems to go hand in hand with unemployment. 


Governments have tried to tackle these issues by enforcing automation, raising the retirement age, up-and reskilling existing employees, encouraging migration of skilled workers or even increasing female participation in the workforce. All of these tools seemed to have been off-target.

So, is remote work now the answer to all the HR prayers? At least to some of them.


Talent need in the stage of hypergrowth

If you are a company that is going through a hyper-growth stage you will not only need talent fast but also the best talent to maintain this growth as long as possible. 

Through a remote hiring approach, the available talent pool will grow, eliminating geographical barriers and therefore increasing your chances to find the best fit for the vacant position.


Furthermore, it will not only facilitate talent access. Enforcing a remote policy within your organization can be a game-changer: By offering greater flexibility to employees and teams, and empowering them to decide for themselves whether a remote approach is fitting, you might not only improve your company brand but also processes, efficiency and employee satisfaction.   



However, there are limits to this approach.


Limitations and Challenges

Of course, it is not that easy. Some organisations might face difficulties implementing remote hiring as a tool to tackle their talent shortage for several reasons.

When talking about barriers to remote hiring when expanding abroad, compliance is often discussed as one of the most challenging obstacles. 

However, it is not so much about the lack of compliance but rather about the fear of not being compliant without knowing it.  


This insecurity is also evident when talking about establishing the contract and the payroll of an employee based abroad. What is the average pay for a developer in India? Do I pay my San Francisco-based employees more than the ones located in Berlin basing the salary on the cost of living of their location? 

Establishing salaries for workers living abroad can be challenging. Depending on how you are building your salary strategy, external data sources might be helpful to get a better feeling of wage ranges as well as a third party that supports HR processes such as an employer of record like WorkMotion. If you put a greater focus on location, a helpful starting point might be taking a look at the cost of living index in that particular country compared to the one of your own country, take your country’s salary for that role and… do the math!

Company culture

Another aspect that causes sleepless nights for HR departments is how to manage company culture in a remote setting. 

One of the significant risks of remote working is damaging your existing company culture or even neglecting it. The lack of face-to-face interaction makes it difficult to maintain and might create a sense of inequality within the corporation. 

Reece Procter from Personio and Bianca Ester from Everphone insist that the key to success is adapting and changing. But how?

Some of their recommendations included encouraging employees to come to the office once every quarter, hosting culture and team events, making sure that all the meetings are not only remote-friendly but also remote-first and even adapting the interview phase to better evaluate the predisposition of the candidates to work within a remote environment.


Similarly, when implementing a remote policy and starting to hire all over the globe, chances are high that your company will become more diverse. Which is great! But having individuals with different traditions, cultures and languages poses another challenge when building a healthy company culture. Sophie Kostka from Enpal predicts that in the future companies might not only develop one big company culture but a number of parallel subcultures within the organisation.


Wrapping up


Remote hiring is a great tool to tackle talent shortage but it might not be for everyone. That is why it is important, to be honest with yourself when it comes to implementing a remote work policy.

Your company’s target group could be one limitation. If the end consumers of an organisation are strongly tied to a specific location you might want to find talent that is experienced and knowledgeable in that specific demographic, which again limits the remote talent sourcing options.

Another aspect that could act as a hindering element is the type of vacancy you are looking to fill. Sourcing blue-collar workers remotely might be tougher than white-collar employees. If you are looking for construction workers as is the case for Enpal, geographical and mobility limitations may make it harder to hire remotely.


What can help?

Test the waters before you jump into the pool! Go slowly and keep making little switches and twitches along the way. Try to adapt and be flexible. For some teams, working remotely could be perfectly doable while for others it is simply not possible.

In order to make the life of your HR managers easier not only within this trial phase but also later on, outsourcing some HR processes to an employer of record (EoR) such as WorkMotion might be a great option. 

By doing that, you will ensure compliance throughout all the processes, from handling social security, taxation and further country-specific regulations of your remote employee.



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