The discussion around borderless hiring has been going strong ever since the pandemic, but the challenges remain and vary across contexts. Addressing the pain points of building an international talent pipeline and responding to the needs of a diversified workforce while leading enterprise expansion plans demands a robust plan of action. As technology evolves, bringing in new and pertinent solutions to recruitment concerns, People Matters catches up with Shannon Karaka, Head of Expansion-ANZ at Deel, to navigate the future more strategically.
In an exclusive interaction, he outlines the key elements of a remote workforce management strategy and how organisations can benefit from the opportunities brought in by technology. Here are some excerpts.
What are some of the rising trends in ANZ that challenge the existing talent strategy?
One of the dominant trends is the global acceptance of the hybrid working model, with companies all set to introduce ‘work from anywhere’ policies to combat the ongoing employee churn. This also comes with the belief that talent is everywhere, but the opportunities are not available to access this talent. As companies in ANZ become more open to a global workforce operating beyond office boundaries, challenges can come up in hiring internationally when it comes to payroll, labour laws, and even managing remote teams. But this has led to many companies devising solutions to address these concerns.
Employee flexibility and scaling overseas have become a priority for companies to drive growth which is facilitated by a booming employer of record industry.
Traditional channels of expansion and growth in new markets have been co-opted by such technologies to raise a remote and contingent workforce. Given that Australia and New Zealand face a scarcity of tech talent combined with border restrictions, remote hiring becomes the best step forward.
As we transition into a hybrid workplace, how can organisations build an inclusive work culture that thrives on employee engagement and connectedness?
From my personal experience, it can get challenging to manage remote teams, so it is essential to outline some critical elements in building a team remotely. First, from an operational standpoint, one needs to check whether they have the resources to support them, be it legal advisors, to guide them through labour laws or technologies to tackle global payroll operations.
Culturally, one needs to have a local point of contact to truly understand the expectations and ways of working in the foreign market from where you hire. With the right technology, companies can stay one step ahead by maintaining and updating employment contracts in line with any local changes in the country.
Finally comes the HR component, which needs to consider the disengagement that can arise from an absence of face-to-face interactions. We need to find ways to interact and engage by using collaboration platforms and making time for regular catchups to get to know one another. However, the exact context differs across companies which is why there are no universal solutions. I’m still learning to manage and mediate remotely, but I think it all comes down to culture. Creating an incredible culture that's inclusive and being available and accessible to your team regardless of the time becomes important.
When designing an employee experience roadmap, how do we become more inclusive of gig workers? What is the role played by technology?
Treating your contingent and gig workers as full-time employees is critical to building an inclusive culture. Technology-driven platforms can become an answer to questions of providing them with an employee experience that is consistent even with perks and benefits. Companies today are also offering ESOPs to their contingent workers regardless of where they are based.
It all starts with a forward-thinking mindset that considers local market dynamics in implementing initiatives for your people beyond the limitations of their employment contracts.
As a result of COVID, many organisations have been forced into a position where they have to embrace new technology to address challenges that they haven't had to overcome before. Talent shortages have also been rampant, but from my own experience working at Deel and witnessing its exponential growth, we’ve achieved this not as a company but as a result of the problems we solved for our people by leveraging the right digital solutions.
Given that we will embrace the hybrid model for the long term, what technological innovations do you predict would drive a better employee experience?
We’ve learned from our experience that hiring international contractors is difficult, especially when one has to factor in labour laws, tax structures and other regulations. Solutions then have to be designed to address the needs of full-time remote employees and payroll processes.
Office space could be an exciting arena of innovation in the future when it comes to hiring remotely and providing services that can help them build their office space, for example, a hardware stack, computers or even an ergonomic chair.
Creating channels for accessing remote talent will also become important to succeed and diversify your workforce. For instance, tech talent is scarce in APAC and ANZ, but there is an abundance in countries such as India, Malaysia, and Vietnam. However, making worldwide workforce a reality by building and scaling remote teams is easier said than done.
Important questions need to be asked and answered about the market in focus, the recruitment process and designing the employee experience beyond that.
Technologies accordingly need to be implemented to carve inroads into the world of borderless hiring.