In Conversation With Job van der Voort CEO & co-founder, Remote on Global HR Challenges in 2024
Job is the CEO and co-founder of Remote. Job previously worked at GitLab Inc. as Vice President of product, service engineer, product manager, software engineer, and researcher.
He worked with Jaxons as Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder. He was a neuroscientist before leaving academia to become the VP of Product at GitLab, the world’s largest all-remote company, where he hired talent in 67 different countries.
Job is a sought-after presenter, speaking on topics related to scaling a remote-first startup, remote culture, and the future of work.
What do you foresee the Global HR Challenges in 2024?
One significant challenge is finding and retaining the best talent in an era where remote work has become increasingly prevalent. This shift to remote work means that companies can now hire from anywhere in the world, broadening the talent pool but also increasing competition. So it means that companies must have strong strategies in place to retain and engage with these global workers or otherwise risk falling behind.
We found in our own research — Remote’s 2023 Remote Workforce Report — that 69% of businesses in North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America say retention has increased since they adopted remote working, while more than half (57%) said a distributed remote workforce made it easier to hire and keep talent.
Home work also substantially increases productivity, since 72% of employers with an international remote workforce said productivity had increased since adopting a distributed model.
Companies that fail to offer flexibility risk losing workers to competitors and may even struggle to attract new talent. Remote work is becoming the norm, and those who fail to offer flexibility will fall behind.
Another challenge I foresee is in navigating the complexities and risks associated with international hiring. Businesses in India likely have plans to expand globally next year but may hesitate due to perceived complexities and risks. These can include understanding and complying with complex international laws and regulations, which require deep local knowledge that many HR teams may not have.
An easy way around this is to work with a global HR partner like Remote, where we combine local knowledge with deep expertise in the legal and compliance issues in the countries where we operate out of to ensure that your plans to operate and hire remotely and globally are easy and risk-free.
How do you anticipate the future of workplace, flexibility in the next couple of years?
In the next couple of years, the demand for flexibility in the workplace will keep going up. And I really think that’s the case whether we talk about employers, employees, or future hires. Talent, especially those from younger generations, will prioritise work-life balance and the ability to work from anywhere, anytime.
The question is whether organisations have the ability to make that shift and they have to, otherwise there will be increased employee turnover.
The secret to workplace flexibility is developing procedures that let team members operate independently and giving them the confidence they need to do so. We had an easier time at Remote because we are a young company that started working asynchronously and remotely from the beginning, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible for companies of any age.
Effective asynchronous work also requires a culture shift and two key elements: trust and transparency. These are two values you must integrate into your globally distributed teams.
You need to believe that your team will perform, will openly discuss progress and roadblocks, and are committed to the same goals. Additionally, at Remote, we also believe that clear documentation is crucial to successful asynchronous work.
It means you’re not waiting around for answers and updates from people across the world. Everything is written down where you need it. We even have an entire section on asynchronous work in our public handbook here.
How do you see Generative AI, and its integration with HR matrix in 2024?
At the moment, AI is already integrated with many HR tools and we can expect to see that becoming more advanced in 2024. One example is in recruiting for a fully remote role.
At Remote – we’re using AI to detect biometric spoofing, AI-generated imagery and fake applications, as well as looking at how it can be applied to match top talent with their ideal next career, amid the high volume of applications for remote roles.
Outside, we see it used in the recruitment step where AI chatbots are used to engage with potential candidates to answer frequently asked questions. The next advancement could be where the chatbot can assist candidates with their applications, match them to suitable roles, and even do pre-screenings, so that HR teams can use the time saved to conduct hire quality screenings and interviews.
Additionally, AI can boost HR teams in other areas too like providing payroll forecasting and drafting and building contracts and other templates. In fact, AI may even help improve diversity in the workforce, through its insights to help identify inequalities within a company’s strategies and structures.
How do you foresee the future of workforce in 2024?
The biggest disruptor in 2024 to the workforce, which is carried forward from recent years, is remote work. Flexibility will continue to gain momentum and with it the different changes to the way we work. HR departments and those on the executive level might face challenges in retaining and hiring the best talent if they don’t successfully revamp the way the company operates and manages its workforce.
In 2024, we’ll see more emphasis put on training managers for a remote-first environment, rather than simply trying to replicate the in-office model in a distributed workplace. While being a great manager and a great remote manager are pretty similar – a mindset shift is required in order to support distributed teams via different behaviours, strategies, and tactics. Two of the biggest differences when managing a remote team are;
- Putting more emphasis on outputs vs the time spent on a project, which is usually monitored in a traditional office setting.
- Proactive communication and setting clear expectations and deadlines.
We’ll also see more global workforces adopting asynchronous work and doing it right. Asynchronous work has been around for years, but many companies are still struggling to implement it properly, because of a lack of trust.
The key to asynchronous work is creating processes that allow employees to work autonomously and providing employees with the trust they need to do so.
Any concluding remarks?
In this global economy, distributed remote workforces will have an advantage over their counterparts. Employers who adopt distributed working models, which allow workers to be based in multiple locations across the globe, will be able to access a larger pool of candidates as they compete to close the talent gap.
As this transition occurs, we are seeing a simultaneous emergence of new types of technology and HR tools designed to support these global-first businesses. It will be increasingly important for companies to make the right choices for the HR needs to be sure they are choosing a partner that accommodates and embraces their global workforce.
Thank You, Job!