5 reasons why remote startups attract better talent

Opinions of contributing entrepreneurs are their own.

According to a recent Gallup study, there is one 57% increase in the number of employees actively recruited since 2015. At the same time 65% of employees prefer hybrid workwith the majority planning to leave if they are not allowed to work in their preferred scheme.

To win the battle for talent, companies that can must find a way to meet the “distant expectation” of employees. This is even more true for startups, where the right talent can make or break the organization. There are multiple ways a startup can meet this remote expectation: they can go “remote-only,” requiring all employees to work remotely; or they may adopt a “remote-first”, “remote-friendly” or “hybrid” model, all of which support remote working to varying degrees.

Here I share some insights on why remote startups attract better talent, based on my experience recruiting and hiring global teams, both for my own organization and for client companies.

Related: 4 Awesome Things That Happened When We Went Long Distance

1. Access to a larger pool of candidates

External companies have access to a large and diverse talent pool. Even within one country or state, by working remotely, potential employees no longer need to be based in one city. The advantage is even greater when the company is willing to hire external candidates from abroad — the entire world becomes an effective talent pool. And while there are some compliance requirements when hiring remote workers abroad (such as paying payroll taxes and mandatory contributions), these can be easily resolved through a Employer of record solution.

2. Remote startups can grow faster through productivity gains

The potential productivity gains of remote working have been recognized for some time now. In a study, remote workers were found to be 13% more productive than office workers. The increase in productivity is likely due to several reasons:

  • Remote workers can feel more “refreshed” at work, without spending time commuting.

  • There is a greater ability to focus on work, with fewer distractions in the office.

  • Home workers are likely to have more flexibility when they work so they can work when they are most productive.

  • Employees experience a better work-life balance (such as the ability to arrange childcare around working hours), which means they are more engaged at work.

For a fast-growing startup, the importance of potential productivity gains early on cannot be underestimated. But it’s not just about the benefits of remote startup itself: potential employees themselves prefer startups with good future prospects. By choosing a remote startup, an applicant is likely choosing a more successful startup and one where they have a higher chance of promotion and long-term career success.

3. The best employees expect the best benefits

When a position is in high demand (for example, positions for specialized software engineers), it’s only natural for employees to have additional clout with demanding benefits. Consider, for example, asking for extra paid leave or asking for premium health insurance. The ability to work remotely is an equally attractive perk for applicants/new hires. By offering remote work as an option to applicants, startups can discover they are able to attract the best applicants without the added expense of premium benefits.

Related: 9 ways to recruit the best talent for your startup

4. Asynchronous working comes naturally with remote working

With high-profile companies like Shopify by banning recently recurring meetings with three or more people, we are seeing a new prioritization of asynchronous (“async”) work. For certain functions, the benefits of asynchronous work are undeniable: it gives individuals the time and space to concentrate and work with concentration, which is not possible with constant interruptions.

For remote startups, asynchronous work is often already ingrained in their work practices. Having distributed teams across multiple regions or countries makes it inevitable that all communications cannot be “synchronous” and individuals will perform their jobs with greater independence. For tech talent in particular, this cultural trait of remote startups can be extremely appealing: asynchronous work offers a degree of autonomy that many tech workers find invaluable.

5. The potential for higher salaries

As a remote startup, infrastructure costs are usually lower than a traditional brick-and-mortar operation. With no physical office costs (or at least lower physical office costs) and heating costs, excess resources can be allocated to employee salaries to attract better talent. Of course, regardless of salary, employees themselves tend to benefit financially from remote installation through lower commuting costs (both in time and money).

With continued high demand for talent in specialized roles, startups must do what they can to attract the best candidates and retain those employees. To stay competitive, startups must take the challenge of remote work seriously. A remote startup will find it benefits from access to a larger recruiting pool, and those who insist that all employees remain in position may find their company missing out on top talent.

Related: How Flexible Working Will Benefit Your Business

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