The rise of the global remote workforce
During the last twenty years, there has been an explosion in the number of companies shifting their recruitment strategies to focus on remote workers.
But even before the coronavirus took hold, a survey released last year stated that over 70% of employees around the world are now working remotely at least one day per week.
Business Partners and HR teams are key strategic contributors around the boardroom table. Their skillset extends beyond merely setting talent retention and acquisition strategies. They now need to understand business financials, marketing strategies and operational management. It is no wonder that HR professionals identified that by implementing a remote workforce strategy they were able to find the solution to a lot of business challenges that have been unique to the last 20 years:
The never-ending search for talent
Reducing employment costs
Greater employee engagement
Accessing a global talent pool
Increasing employee retention rates
Reducing a company’s carbon footprint
Global remote employment is here to stay
Global PEOs (professional employer organisations) support businesses when they have decided to embark on this journey. Over 99% of the employees we engage on behalf of our customers are remote workers so we need to understand the opportunities and challenges the new world of work presents. Remote workers are not part of the gig economy or freelancers. They are employees who want a choice of where and how they deliver their skills to their employer. Positively, large corporate employers have embraced this changing mindset and have accepted the many benefits that remote employment provides. Remote working is disrupting the workplace as we know it today.
HR leaders recognise that today’s working culture is more receptive to agile working practices and management techniques. Having a remote working infrastructure is necessary to support employees and there are myriad technology solutions already available. This is not a business challenge. The real challenge is remote workforce management. Setting boundaries to a borderless workforce requires some thinking. As well as establishing designated touch base events for global teams, remote employees will benefit and thrive with the correct performance management policies being put in place. Freedom of choice where and how to work does not mean that performance metrics will be taken for granted. On the contrary, our best performing global remote teams thrive in an environment where their results are measured.
Things to look out for with a remote workforce
As with all aspects of running a business, there are key considerations for HR professionals to put in place from the outset to ensure a positive remote employee experience. These are just to name a few:
Tax and Social security registration
Country specific employment contracts (bi-lingual if required)
HR Portals for secure and GDPR compliant exchange of employee data
Local technical support in the same time zone and language
Insurances (Health, Travel and Accident, Workplace Injury)
Accurate Global Payroll management
Remote communication and system logistics for global teams
Getting any of these wrong can contribute towards a dream remote employee engagement turning into a nightmare – but the good news is that these obstacles are easy to put in place with the correct Global PEO specialist on board.
Whilst it’s exciting to move a business forward and expand into other territories, it’s not always easy – and that’s where our expertise comes in. We’ve been helping companies to grow teams globally for many years and have the knowledge and reputation to make it a seamless and exciting process, rather than it being a business headache.
Our comprehensive global coverage ensures that wherever you’re looking to expand to, we have the knowledge, experience and reputation to ensure you’re fully compliant with your global remote employment obligations from the outset.
Remote global working is here to stay. Today, an adaptable employer that embraces change will set the groundwork for better-performing remote teams – and putting the steppingstones in place to ensure these teams are ready to hit the ground running when they start work is imperative.
Growing a business globally is no longer seen as visionary. It is the new norm and understanding the services and benefits a Global PEO presents to professionals will ensure you reduce your business barriers to entry.
By Carlos Ruiz
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.