Remote work is the first topic of Worldwide ERC®’s new research series, Industry Insights. The series looks at how CHROs and senior HR professionals, corporate HR mobility professionals and global talent mobility service providers are tackling the remote work dilemma head-on in driving the future of work.
To explore this transformation and how human resources teams adapt their organization’s workforce approaches, Worldwide ERC and Deloitte Tax LLP have gathered a panel of 122 corporate human resources mobility professionals to provide insight into their distributed workforce journey. The reports cover the most pressing remote work considerations for human resources leadership, such as taxation, tracking, compliance, compensation and benefits. In this blog, we’ll focus on corporate HR mobility professionals.
WERC notes that HR talent mobility professionals have deep experience attracting and retaining a talented workforce, with particular expertise in managing mobile workers. Their challenge now is to apply that experience to the emerging and, in some cases, predominantly, remote workforce.
WERC says these factors will transform the workforce of the future.
Priority 1: Offer solutions that contemplate work-life fit
Remote work doesn’t work for all employees or positions; for example, some employees prefer spontaneous, live collaboration and communication and feel isolated when working remotely. Companies must balance business requirements, employees’ preferred work styles, current health and safety requirements and company culture. And companies must offer solutions that meet employees’ varied work and personal needs to retain employees and recruit new ones.
As with expatriate employees, WERC notes that communication is critical for employees working far from their co-workers and former office. Managers need to communicate, both with individuals and teams and listen.
Priority 2: Expand talent pools
Remote work presents challenges for companies but also new opportunities. One is a newly-expanded, potentially global, talent pool. Companies can access talent from across the nation and worldwide, potentially making the company more competitive and more diverse.
For companies without previous experience with a global workforce, it’s crucial to adapt company policies for different locations. The company needs to maintain its business objectives and overarching culture while also being sensitive to local employees’ needs.
Priority 3: Increase employee attraction and retention
While much of the company’s attention will be on current employee needs, it will also need to present an engaging work experience to prospective employees. Traditionally, companies lured new employees with attractive compensation and benefits. This is still important but no longer sufficient. The company must offer a work experience, often remote or partially remote, acceptable to the candidate.
Onboarding and engaging new remote hires is challenging. They have no opportunity to be immersed in the new company culture. Again, continual communication is vital, along with all required hardware and equipment. Many companies plan to bring remote employees into the office for occasional team-building.
Priority 4: Create a more diverse and inclusive workforce
Diversity, equity, and inclusion are aspirational goals and action items for corporate HR talent mobility professionals. Companies want to meet current employees’ diverse needs and expectations and create a welcoming environment for new hires. Creating an exceptional employee experience helps bolster employee retention and recruiting efforts.
In addition to the global talent pool discussed earlier, remote work can expand and diversify the labor pool closer to home. For example, an employee with childcare or eldercare responsibilities who cannot work full-time in an office environment might be able to balance personal and work obligations remotely. Without the requirement to commute regularly, the company can also look for talent in more rural areas. Increasingly, workers are choosing these areas for lifestyle and cost-of-living reasons.
Priority 5: Reduce real estate costs
Most companies are reevaluating their office space needs as leases expire. Many find they don’t need as much space as before, even if they expect employees to spend part of their time in the office. So while few companies are likely to become completely virtual, many are shedding satellite offices, consolidating space in the headquarters location, or both.
Offices might evolve into space for in-person meetings and collaboration, rather than warrens of private offices and cubicles. Reducing the footprint can create savings for companies while supporting employees’ desire for remote work and furthering the company’s ESG goals.
Priority 6: Reduce labor costs
The pandemic has negatively impacted many organizations, underling the need to achieve these business and HR goals while controlling costs. Developing the current workforce can pay long-term dividends for the company. Better-trained employees are often more engaged and motivated. This can make them more productive and efficient
This more-engaged workforce will also be more loyal, increasing retention and reducing the need to recruit new talent in a hypercompetitive market.
Priority 7: Lower carbon emissions
By reducing brick and mortar and minimizing the need for employees to commute, companies reduce their carbon footprint. Most acknowledge that virtual meetings and conferences don’t entirely replicate the live experience, but they can be good enough to accomplish most collaboration objectives.
At the same time, reducing travel also reduces costs and wear and tear on employees while helping the environment. Remote work can help companies meet their ESG objectives and even boost their image relative to competitors.