Want better IT talent? Recruit remote workers

If you're struggling to find elite, high-quality tech talent locally, perhaps you should consider knocking down geographic barriers and embracing remote work opportunities.

remote workers larger talent pool
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The war for talent. The IT skills gap. Increased global competition. The tech talent management landscape becomes more cutthroat every day as organizations struggle to hire and retain workers who will give them an edge over their competition.

But today's technology allow savvy businesses a way to tap into a larger, more diverse talent pool, all while increasing productivity and staff retention at the same time.

Remote worker boost productivity

As Jack Santos, research vice president at analyst firm Gartner, said in a recent webinar, organizations risk being less productive if they're not paying attention to mobile and remote work practices. And, as current mobility trends continue to accelerate, hiring constraints based on location will all but disappear, except for those positions where an on-site presence is absolutely necessary.

"The current level of mobility is an extension of a trend that's been happening for a long time. The scope of this trend extends beyond just mobile devices to include remote offices and remote work. With increased team collaboration via remote and/or mobile technology, there's definitely a major impact on the hiring practices for organizations. With the ability to do work remotely and via mobile, organizations can find that the best talent is available to anyone, no matter where they are," Santos said in the webinar.

Remote work increases talent options

"To think that a company can only be successful by drawing on a pool of talent that's geographically local is just not accurate -- it's almost obsolete. By leveraging remote work opportunities and collaboration tools that allow your people to be productive from anywhere, you can reach talent that may be geographically dispersed, or tap into the expertise of working moms, or of other folks who don't fit into that 'traditional,' on-site work environment. There's an immense talent pool of potential employees with great skills, knowledge and experience to contribute if you can just change your mindset," says Sean O'Brien, executive vice president of strategy and communications with PGi, a provider of remote work and collaboration tools.

In today's technology-driven business environment, there's no reason to avoid offering remote work opportunities or to discount potential candidates simply because of their geographic location. "There are so many options available, technologically, to enable remote work, that it's almost a no-brainer. Why aren't more companies taking advantage of these options? The fact is that technology has completely changed the concept of 'work;' it's not just a place you can go, it's what you can do. Changing your understanding of what work is and how it's done opens your company up to leveraging a much larger talent pool that's anywhere and everywhere, and connecting with the best person for the job, wherever they are," says O'Brien.

Remote work improves diversity

Remote work opportunities go hand-in-hand with another pressing business concern: increasing diversity. Tech talent from underrepresented groups -- like women and minorities -- is out there and in huge numbers, and to reach it, organizations must allow talent to work differently, says Jessica Gilmartin, chief business officer for online collaboration platform Piazza, which helps female STEM students collaborate effectively while in school and helps place female STEM talent with businesses once they graduate.

"Especially in the recruiting and hiring process, businesses find it tough to reach every campus, every female student," Gilmartin says. "We make it easier for students and companies to meet and for female STEM talent to get hired. Students are introduced to companies they might not have considered, while businesses get access to the best talent possible," she says.

"Increasing productivity, improving retention rates and building diversity makes for stronger companies. By enabling remote work opportunities, companies now have access to the entirety of the best available talent -- not the just best male talent that happens to be in the same city," says John Bischke, CEO of recruiting solutions platform Entelo.

This story, "Want better IT talent? Recruit remote workers" was originally published by CIO.

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