Virtual Employment – Part 5

As we come to the last two installments of this series it is interesting to note that so many of these topics and initiatives are gaining strength – or at least debate and trials. So far we have covered the impact of remote employment engagements as they relate to business continuity and recovery planning (BCRP), the implications of allowing for flexible working arrangements from home to off-set absenteeism as it relates to sickness/health issues and the cost savings opportunities from an infrastructure perspective as well as a true green initiative.

For this 4th entry we will cover how virtual employment can, and will, increase your ability to attract top talent and retain employees (and the intellectual capital that seems to leave with them).

There are key reasons from all stakeholders to opt-in for virtual employment. Talent has always been tough to find.  And the core workforce (10-15 years experience) has entered into the cocooning stage and becoming the next sandwich generation.

  Why is top talent hard to find?

  •  It is not as tough to find talent as it is to close the deal! Recruiters are hand-cuffed with policies surrounding:
  •  Which classifications of candidates can be offered relocation and how much?
  •  Manager’s views of hiring local talent only
  •  Companies taking the position that in a tough economy they can move to the job themselves and be happy to have gainful employment
  •  That they must be located in/at a facility instead of remotely

What are the candidates within this core talent range struggling with?

  •  They want to, or need to, stay in their current location due to:
    •  The planning, support and on-going care of active but aging parents or ill relatives
    •  Their on-going commitments to boards, charities, community activities
    •  Children in school (of all age ranges) and activities
  •  These issues are compounded by:
    •  Current economic issues that place their mortgage upside-down
    •  The inability to sell their home in a reasonable period of time
    •  Unable to carry two mortgages or banks unwilling to offer bridge lending
  •  Or maybe while your company has a lot to offer the location is just not that desirable!


All of these are sound reasons to review when and how virtual or remote employment opportunities should be leveraged.

In the future, more companies will come to realize that:

  • There are areas of the Country (and the World) that offer an outstanding talent base and cost of living that would be attractive to locate a new operation (remember the mid-90’s when call / processing centers were booming in Jacksonville FL?)
  • Getting employees closer to customers, suppliers and operational centers is more important than Corporate
  • Recruitment of top talent will increase, cost to hire and retain will decrease and the organizations bottom line will improve dramatically.

If these are not reasons enough to hire new employees into such a model let’s review the other side of the argument – departing workers:

  • As traditionalists and boomers begin to contemplate retiring, or actually leave, many statistics even before the recent economic downturn indicated:
  • A desire to continue working
  • A desire to give back to the community via their talents and as a representative of the company
  • A desire to mentor or coach other employees
  • A desire to volunteer through the schools etc

What this allows a company to leverage is immense. Take for instance:

  • That the retention of these employees creates an opportunity to catalog intellectual capital through documentation and the coaching of younger employees.
  • That the outreach to the community, and the schools, is positive PR as well as possible tax incentives.
  • That volunteering in the schools creates an early employment brand identity and can foster excitement in the skills required (i.e. math and science) as children understand the application of their studies to the outside world – and a career.
  • The opportunity to create a job sharing environment that flexes to your cyclical needs.

Again, I am sure there are as many reasons not to do this as there are to implement such as program and you should be skeptical.  The more examination you perform on this type of arrangement gives you greater leverage to create a program that is sustainable and profitable for all involved.

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