How to hire remote employees

Explore the numerous benefits of hiring remote employees.

Group meeting via team chat

In recent years there’s been a major shift in the workplace. The concept of the office as we once knew it is dissolving, and is being increasingly replaced with remote work arrangements. According to Gallup research, remote work is the way of the future: As of fall 2021, 45% of U.S. employees were working remotely either partially or fully, and the overwhelming majority of these workers would prefer to continue doing so.

Clearly this change will require employers to rethink some important aspects of their operations. The good news is that remote work presents compelling benefits for both organizations and their employees—but the key is going about it in the right way. Here’s everything you need to know about this important workforce trend, from how to hire remote employees to why it’s so beneficial to do so. 

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Why hire remotely?

The benefits of remote hiring span far and wide. Here are just a few to consider:

Attract & retain workers

More than 40 million people left their jobs in 2021 in what has become known as the Great Resignation. Their incentives for doing so were varied: some sought more stable hours, some wanted better pay, and others looked for greater flexibility.

One common thread among many of the people seeking different career options was the desire to continue working from home. When many employers closed their physical locations during the height of the pandemic, it became apparent that the majority of their employees’ work could be conducted remotely. While there were certainly some challenges at first, many employees ultimately realized that working from home offered unique benefits, including the ability to maintain a better work/life balance. Employees also tend to feel more productive when they can work without interruptions from other people sharing an office.

To stay competitive in a post-Great Resignation world, businesses must be willing to accommodate employees’ needs and wants. In many cases, that starts with work from home arrangements.

Cultivate a diverse workforce

Hiring remotely also opens up many more opportunities to hire diverse teams. Remote hiring helps to attract the best skills and knowledge since you aren’t confined to a specific geographic location. This means people of color, women, ethnic minorities, and LGBTQ+ individuals can have better access to jobs, and companies enjoy the benefits of diversifying their workforces.

Diverse teams boost innovation and creativity. A diverse workforce allows for more ideas and processes, as well as a broader range of skills and perspectives. It also allows you to handle different nuances in a global marketplace more effectively through improved cultural awareness. Companies with diverse workforces also tend to carry positive brand reputations, as they’re often perceived as helpful to underserved populations.

Save on overhead costs

As companies seek ways to reduce costs to offset inflation, remote work is an obvious solution. The average employer could save $11,000 for every employee who works remotely even half the time. Savings on office space, supplies, and other overhead costs can have a huge impact for employers.

What makes a good remote worker?

While the perks of remote work are impressive, reaping the greatest possible benefits will come down to proper execution. That begins with hiring the best remote workers. After all, an organization is only as strong as its people, regardless of where they do their work.

Remote work calls for a specific skill set in employees. In particular, employees should have:

  • Strong communication skills to ensure they can navigate emails, text-chat apps, and video calls successfully.
  • The ability to work well independently by practicing problem-solving and decision-making on their own.
  • The ability to be proactive by creating a space where they can be productive, establishing strong routines to promote efficiency, and relying on digital tools to actively engage with fellow team members.

Some employees are naturally inclined to work well from home. For others, there may be a bit of a learning curve. To empower your existing employees to become more comfortable and skilled as remote workers, Oyster Academy has a course specifically designed to boost collaboration and communication skills among distributed workforces.

Hiring remote workers abroad

The first step for hiring remote workers is to decide whether you want to restrict your candidate pool to your same state or country, or if you’d prefer to expand your options by hiring across the globe. While hiring abroad introduces some complexities with international employment laws, it also provides access to the broadest range of talent. And, Oyster can help you with all the steps involved with managing remote contractors and employees, including hiring, onboarding, and navigating international payments.

With that in mind, many of the general distributed hiring steps will be the same as if you were to hire traditionally. For example, you’ll want to:

Establish a compensation budget for your teams

While you already know how to make salary and benefits decisions for employees, you’ll need to take geographical factors into consideration when paying remote teams. Consider the cost of living in the locations where you’re hiring to frame appropriate pay decisions. You may also need to adjust pay based on customs and regulations in certain locations.

Create captivating job postings

Job postings should contain a title that can be searched for easily, clear and compelling messaging about the nature of the job and your company, and a high-level job description. You can also include salary information, such as a bracket and any allowances or bonuses.

Attract remote workers

There are only so many resources available for finding talent in your local area. It can be overwhelming when you broaden your horizons and begin sourcing employees globally. If you’re wondering how to hire employees from overseas, you’re not alone. There are numerous online hiring platforms designed to address this specific challenge by attracting people seeking remote work, such as WeWorkRemotely. You can also source talent from social networks such as LinkedIn and Slack, or ask your network for referrals.

Optimize your interview processes

In the early interviewing stages, you might communicate via email and phone interviews. You can also use assessment tools such as work samples and skills tests to evaluate candidates’ abilities. As the interview process progresses, consider holding video interviews via Zoom, Skype, or a different web conferencing app. These meetings provide the opportunity to closely reproduce the traditional in-person interview, which will allow you to ask challenging questions and see how candidates respond. It will also allow you to see how successfully candidates use tools for remote communication.  

Mistakes to avoid when hiring remotely

Many companies make mistakes when first attempting remote hiring, especially if they’re sourcing international talent. Although the following mistakes are fairly common, they can also be avoided with a little extra planning and consideration.

Compensation & payroll blunders

Failing to consider international pay regulations could set your company up for fines, pay discrepancies, and other hurdles. Similarly, attempting to manage payroll abroad can become complex for even the most skilled teams. Fortunately, working with an experienced partner like Oyster can help you sidestep these issues.

Tax issues

Tax preparation also becomes a bit more confusing when you’re hiring remotely. For example, how do you calculate income taxes when you operate your business in one country and employees work in a different one? This is an important consideration as you think about how to hire international employees, so be sure to consult with a tax expert to avoid facing any legal complications.

Improper employee classification

Just because an employee works remotely doesn’t mean they’re automatically an independent contractor. In fact, misclassifying employees could cause you to face fines and penalties, as well as employee litigation. Be clear when defining roles to avoid any gray areas about how employees and contractors are classified.

Although hiring remote workers may seem daunting, for many companies the benefits outweigh the initial challenges. Plus, you can simplify the process, avoid mistakes, and ensure compliance by working with an expert team like Oyster’s. As specialists in global employment, we manage all aspects of hiring and paying remote teams. Find out more about how our global employment solutions can help your company.

About Oyster

Oyster is a global employment platform designed to enable visionary HR leaders to find, hire, pay, manage, develop, and take care of a thriving distributed workforce. Oyster lets growing companies give valued international team members the experience they deserve, without the usual headaches and expense.

Oyster enables hiring anywhere in the world—with reliable, compliant payroll, and great local benefits and perks.

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