How can international hiring help start-ups in 2023?
In this guest article, Anastasia Pshegodskaya, Director of Talent Acquisition at Remote, explains how hiring internationally can assist startups to scale in a saturated and highly competitive market.
Small business growth aspirations have reportedly returned to pre-pandemic levels, with more than half of UK businesses prioritizing annual growth. That said, for many small businesses, a number of factors are still making it difficult to scale effectively — namely increasing costs, limited access to finance, and a struggle to recruit.
However, in an increasingly remote-first work landscape, more startups and SMEs than ever before are beginning to recognize the benefit of hiring internationally in supporting an ambitious growth plan. Accessing specialized talent, supporting global expansion, enhancing productivity, and reducing costs, to name a few, are ways in which a global recruitment mindset can help to unlock your startup’s scaling potential.
Global employment specialists Remote support progressive startups, assisting them in their scaling missions by enabling them to onboard and manage employees and contractors remotely from anywhere in the world.
Remote hiring provides access to more talent
Often, the challenge for growth-focused startups is finding the right talent to support their ability to scale — particularly in a competitive, candidate-led market. Remote working has removed location as a determining factor in the recruitment process and extending the search to include international applicants widens the available talent pool even further. This is especially beneficial when recruiting for highly specialized roles, where the talent pool can be prohibitively small.
On the ability of international hiring to increase access to talent, Anastasia at Remote says: “One of the major talent challenges faced by businesses right now is finding enough qualified candidates to fill open roles. Limiting your hiring strategy to local candidates, or even candidates in the same country severely hampers your ability to address this challenge. In today’s remote work environment, it’s easy to hire and work with people in multiple countries, so there’s no reason to limit hiring to local areas.”
Global expansion is easier with local teams
One avenue to growth for startups is global expansion. By entering previously untapped overseas markets, businesses can open up new revenue streams, establish a new customer base, and potentially benefit from foreign investment. Hiring internationally supports global expansion by enabling startups to benefit from local expertise within the country or region they’re entering, providing all-important knowledge of the local market and helping to navigate language barriers, understand cultural differences, and open up a network of local contacts.
On how international hiring can support global expansion, Anastasia notes: “Global expansion can often spell disaster for the unprepared, but by hiring globally, you’ll gain a unique insight into the local business practices of any nation you choose to expand into, and benefit from your new team member’s native language skills. Remember — it’s one thing to study an international market from afar, but successful expansion requires a planned and measured approach. If you’re pondering global expansion, you’ll need a global team to help you succeed.”
Progress continues 24/7 with a team that spans time zones
Business rarely has an ‘off’ switch, but startups with purely local workforces will have limited hours in the day to respond to customers, generate leads, and identify growth opportunities. By providing coverage across more time zones — and enabling asynchronous working — international hiring can empower businesses to be ‘operational’ throughout more hours of the day, without their employees being expected to work long or unsociable hours to provide round-the-clock coverage, which could otherwise lead to burnout and disillusionment among the workforce.
Anastasia on the benefits of asynchronous working: “Async work, which is work in which people don’t necessarily work the same hours, is a necessity when you have people in different time zones. If you’re new to async, you’ll quickly realize how much more productive you can be when you’re more consistent with documenting your work and more selective about when and why you attend meetings.”
Distributed workforces are more cost-effective
Almost 40% of startups fail simply because they run out of cash. In a financial sense, scaling is inherently risky: investment is required to achieve growth, but startups can seldom afford to squander a penny along the way. Hiring remotely from overseas using an employer of record can introduce cost savings, particularly if you’re recruiting in a country with a low cost of living and average salary: as Remote’s Tech Talent Report identifies, markets such as Latin America are emerging as talent hubs partly due to low to moderate salary costs. And even if you’re concerned about the financial commitment of taking on a permanent international hire, there’s the more flexible option of hiring a temporary international contractor.
On how using an employer of record to hire internationally can help reduce costs: “Employer of record services make hiring a global team far more cost-effective than ever before. An EOR takes the burden of local legal requirements to ensure businesses can employ people in a different country, state, or province. If a company does not have access to an EOR, they would require a dedicated international management team at a significant cost.”
Hiring globally boosts diversity and innovation
3 in 4 job seekers say they’d prefer to work for a diverse company, but championing diversity, equity and inclusion continues to be a challenge for businesses in 2023. Hiring from overseas is one way of addressing this challenge, as it enables businesses to benefit from a diverse range of viewpoints and unique skill sets. This can facilitate a more innovative approach, opening businesses up to new ideas, perspectives, and ways of working they may not have previously considered.
On the benefits of increased operational diversity, Anastasia comments: “Working in a global team, you are exposed to so many different perspectives and so many unique skill sets. You can’t help but improve in your role with so many great examples around you. With an async work schedule, people tend to make the most of the limited opportunities to meet at the same time, which makes work meetings more productive and casual hangouts more fun.”
Remote employees are actually more engaged
Employee retention is a particular concern for many growing enterprises, with the turnover risk being particularly high in some countries: in the US, for example, almost two-thirds of workers are open to looking for a new job in the next 12 months. A high turnover rate can be a serious blocker to growth, but an international approach to hiring can help to mitigate this by introducing a flexible and healthy work-life balance. You may even allow your workforce to embrace the ‘digital nomad’ work culture by supporting them to relocate — temporarily or permanently — while continuing to work for you remotely.
On how international hiring can help to keep employees engaged: “A remote-first world provides people with a more desirable life-work balance, and the latest steps towards a global workforce allow people to forge unique bonds with individuals from all over the world. You can also choose to live where you want without the stress of a long commute. The result? A chance to expose yourself to new ideas and ways of thinking, as well as feel more connected to the world around you.”
If your startup is prioritizing growth for 2023 but you’re concerned that a struggle to recruit might be a barrier to your scaling potential, you might consider shifting your recruitment strategy to focus on hiring international talent. By increasing the theoretical talent pool, enabling more strategic global expansion, reducing recruitment costs, and enhancing productivity, diversity and engagement, a global approach to talent acquisition can help your business to scale successfully.