Feature

Staying power


Attracting talent can be difficult if you’re limited to remote or single locations – but it’s not impossible

Words by Beckett Frith | Design by Theo Griffin

Words by Beckett Frith


Design by Theo Griffin

There are many benefits to opening your office in a remote area. Less local competition, a better understanding of your customers and a lower cost of running a business can all help to see an organisation thrive away from the big cities.

However, there are challenges too – and one of the most critical is talent. When you don’t want to relocate – or, indeed, can’t relocate – your firm, it is critically important to have an attraction strategy in place that addresses the need to reach out further afield to gain top talent.

While this may sound daunting, recent research from Nationwide Building Society suggests this might be easier than you’d expect. The poll found that almost half of British workers would move if a role offered a better work-life balance, with Londoners in their 30s stating that they would be inclined to escape the capital to pursue a new job. The appetite is clearly there for more remote positions, so long as workplaces are willing to capitalise on it.

With that in mind, here’s three top tips for filling roles without relocating your organization.

Offer a comprehensive remote working strategy

One of the most obvious ways you can encourage talent from afar to join you is by allowing them to work outside of the office, so they can avoid relocation altogether. However, Nationwide’s research revealed that nearly two thirds (64%) of workers never work from home. On average, employees average just one day a month working from home.

“I think the prospect and offer of flexible working is critical, but as our data suggests there is still reluctance to deliver on this,” Jon Hull, Head of Resourcing Delivery at Nationwide told HR Grapevine. “There is still fear about managing remotely.”

But Mark Grimley, Director of Corporate Services at Hammersmith and Fulham Council, added that technology has made remote working easier and smoother than ever.

“The emergence of cloud technology has enabled people not just to work remotely, but to remain part of the team, to collaborate, share and work together,” he told HR Grapevine. “You don’t need people physically next to each other – but you do need a cultural mindset that has high trust in the people who aren’t there, and a different managerial response that allows leaders to coach remotely.”

Attract talent to come to you with a solid benefits package

If you really do need people to come into the office, making your firm as attractive as possible when compared to competitors could be the way to go. Charlotte Thatcher, Head of Human Resources at Oodle Car Finance, told HR Grapevine that offering something that goes above and beyond what others in their industry provided was a successful attraction technique.

“We found that we’re the only financial services company in the locality, and offering flexible working, assisting with the process of relocating for certain roles (such as providing temporary accommodation and assistance with moving) are something that candidates really appreciate,” she said. “We’ve found that there’s a whole market of talent willing to relocate for the right role, but they just get no help or support in this area. It takes some of the stress off themselves, but also shows that we care.”

This allowed the firm to tap into a wider pool of talent, further ensuring they hire the right person for the role regardless of where they originally were from.

Build a talent pipeline of your own to cope with future skills gaps

A longer-term solution can be to focus on building up the talent you to have so they will be well-suited for roles you’ll need to fill in the future.

“Obviously, you want the best people for the role and for your company, but that doesn’t mean they need to have a wealth of experience,” explained Thatcher. “With our Operations team for example, we’ve hired smart graduates and school leavers, and trained them in order to fulfil the roles where we can’t find experienced candidates locally.

“It’s important sometimes to grow your own talent, especially where there’s a constant battle to find the best person; plan ahead and – instead of fighting over the best candidate – think ahead and hire for potential. We’ve found this to be a hugely successful strategy and has been a great source of skills for Oodle.”

Writing for Inc, Christine Bird, Co-Founder and Chief Solutions Officer of Plum, suggested there were additional benefits to providing a comprehensive training programme for employees. “Giving a candidate with less experience a chance to prove him or herself will drive employee loyalty,” she explained.

“Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, but being able to adapt a candidate's individual abilities and work priorities to the needs of the position is the key success factor. Identifying these attributes will identify the raw potential in applicants.”


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