The Next Big Diversity Solution – Hire Globally Into Remote Work Jobs

 Note: This “think piece” is designed to stimulate your thinking about emerging big idea diversity solutions.                                                            

Alert: the common corporate excuse for low diversity (the supply) dissolves if you offer “work from anywhere jobs” and fill them globally. Obviously, the workforce of the entire world is diverse. So, you should consider taking advantage of that fact with “the next big diversity solution.” Sourcing globally from literally every country in the world. Now global recruiting is not new however, global sourcing required the expensive and difficult relocation of the new hire to one of your physical offices. Fortunately, everything has now changed due to the recent resounding success of remote work. If you offer a large percentage of work at home jobs, it is now relatively easy to source and hire diverse candidates from literally every country in the world. An added benefit, in addition to racial and gender diversity, is that your new hires from numerous countries and diverse backgrounds will now ensure that your workforce will more accurately reflect the needs of your global customers.

Diversity Recruiting May Now Be The #1 Corporate Recruiting Issue

Throughout the last decade, diversity recruiting has grown into an important issue. At the same time diversity recruiting has also remained near the top of the “unsolvable problems list.” There has been little improvement despite the fact that numerous research studies over the last few years have demonstrated the tremendous business impact that results from having a diverse workforce. Also, the numerous global public demonstrations supporting diversity and Black Lives Matter have recently made the problem even more visible to managers, employees, shareholders, and customers. In fact, the pressure to produce results has grown continually to the point where I now find that diversity is the #1 recruiting issue at many firms.

The Definition Of Global Recruiting From Every Country To Fill Remote Work Jobs

 “Global diversity recruiting from every country” is a process with the primary goal of increasing an organization’s workforce diversity. The basic foundation involves utilizing only employer branding, recruitment marketing, sourcing, and job postings tools that are globally visible to qualified prospects from literally every country. The main attraction factor is the ability to work for a diverse major global corporation without having to relocate. The primary business benefit is a workforce that provides diverse ideas and perspectives.  Over time, this will directly improve your sales, product development, and customer service.

Advantages Of The Next Big Thing In Diversity Recruiting

As far back as 2011, I explained how the #1 factor that limits diverse job applications is a lack of available diverse talent within a commuting distance. I also demonstrated how that limitation could be overcome by offering more remote work jobs. Well, now that remotely located professionals have almost universally proven themselves to be productive workers. It’s now feasible to implement a new type of global diversity recruiting program, which emphasizes “recruiting diverse talent from every country.” Some of the advantages of this approach include:

  • An exponential increase in the supply of diverse prospects.  When you look at the diversity hiring needs of any one individual company, you will find that the global supply of diverse talent is many times larger than what you only recruit from within a commuting distance of your facility. This broader global recruiting may also improve the quality of the available talent.  If you include remote college recruiting as part of your program, the available supply of prospects will increase even further.
  • The competition for talent will be lower.  You will face less competition for this abundant supply because not every competing firm will offer so many remote work opportunities. And still, other companies will have yet to develop a global recruiting process that effectively reaches talent in every country.
  • It’s now easy to recruit in every country.   With the global widespread availability of the Internet, mobile service, social media, and global job boards, posting jobs and disseminating recruiting information in every country are now much easier. And with most employees having an international network, global referrals are still a top source.
  • Reflecting your customers also has benefits.  Using this approach, you will literally have employees that live and work in every country where you have customers. So, when your employee base reflects your customers, you will gain a broader understanding of customer needs. This will help in product development, sales, marketing, and customer service areas.
  • Both remote work and diversity attract the best.  Quality recruits will be attracted because most potential recruits admire firms that have a diverse workforce. And many other prospects like having the option of working remotely.
  • Women will be attracted.   If you are a US-based firm, you will likely find that women from around the world will seek you out because of our reputation for encouraging the equal treatment of women.
  • You will attract the handicapped.  These new hires will be able to work from home. You will attract more handicap prospects that would only feel comfortable working in their already accessible home.
  • Your pay packages may be more attractive.  If you are a US-based company, the base pay that you can offer your remote workers may be significantly higher than the local compensation.
  • You won’t face immigration issues.  The new hires won’t be leaving their home city or country so there will be zero immigration issues. And if you are a US-based company, the thought of someday possibly earning a green card may also be an attraction factor.
  • Language won’t be much of an issue.  English is the fastest-spreading language in human history. It is currently spoken at a useful level by some 1.75 billion people worldwide, that’s one in every four of us. And with effective computer and Internet-based translation programs, you will have even fewer communications problems.
  • Employee safety will be protected.  As long as the pandemic lasts, worker and family health will be a paramount issue. Obviously, working from home can help to minimize virus-related risks and the weak virus-related reputation that US firms might currently have. The work at home option will also likely help you recruit more elderly employees and those with significant risk factors.
  • Your turnover will be reduced.   Many other firms won’t offer similar work-at-home options. Once you hire these diverse individuals, you will find that fewer will leave for superior opportunities.
  • A data-driven recruiting approach will continually improve.  The process of reaching prospects in every country is complex and ever-changing. Every aspect of your global recruiting must be data-driven to identify the most effective global attraction factors. Your process must also utilize performance metrics to prove what works and what doesn’t and to continually improve.

Some Additional Issues To Consider

If you are going to implement a version of this program, also consider these factors.

  • The supply of diverse recruits effectively grows when you actively poach.  A corporation consciously decreases its supply of available diverse talent when it focuses 100% of its recruiting efforts on active candidates. That is because both locally and globally there are a large number of diverse individuals that are currently working for your competitors. So, aggressively switching to a proactive diversity poaching program that directly targets and recruits the diverse employees of other firms will have the net effect of increasing the available number of prospects available to your company. Incidentally, proactively increasing diversity retention will also boost your diversity numbers.
  • Global recruiting doesn’t eliminate unconscious biases.  All versions of diversity recruiting are directly hampered by the existence of unconscious biases during the hiring process.  Unfortunately, when you begin to recruit from every country those biases and stereotypes might increase if you don’t take proactive action. In the same light, you have to be extremely careful about assessing fit. Diverse international talent may not initially appear to be a good fit (fortunately most will adapt).
  • Internet access may be a limiting factor.  Although you can successfully recruit individuals from literally every country however, their capabilities to do a highly technical work may be limited if they live where there is slow or government restricted Internet access.
  • Historically global recruiting solutions haven’t produced diversity.  I have also written extensively over the last decade on what’s wrong with diversity recruiting. And that almost every corporate diversity recruiting effort has failed to reach their numbers. That failure is a result of the already noted geographic shortages. In addition, you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that even though most international firms have practiced a version of global recruiting, most truly global conglomerates have routinely failed to meet their diversity goals. For example, a few years back, leaders at recruiting powerhouse Google realized that the “local” diversity supply problem could perhaps be circumvented with the implementation of global recruiting.  What was needed was a global effort that focused on recruiting professionals from countries with a large available diverse workforce. Unfortunately, the targeting of a few diverse countries approach has several serious limitations. The first is you must already have physical facilities in those diverse population countries where your new-hires could work. And if you didn’t, the second limitation would be that many applicants will be unwilling to move, and when they were, relocating them would be expensive. Fortunately, with remote work, these two historical global recruiting limitations quickly fade.

Final Thoughts

I cannot find a time in history where there was a higher level of awareness of the need for a diverse workforce. However, simultaneously I find that leaders in HR and diversity recruiting are almost universally reluctant to even consider, no less try, any new big ideas. And with such a long history of continuous failure. I don’t expect to see any major changes in our results until we shift from the historical diversity recruiting approaches that have time and again proven that they don’t have much of an impact on the numbers.

Author’s Note: Please pass this article on to your team and network if it stimulated your thinking and provided actionable tips. Also please take a minute to follow and/or connect with Dr. Sullivan on LinkedIn and subscribe to his newsletter to receive his articles directly in your email.  Thank you!

About Dr John Sullivan

Dr John Sullivan is an internationally known HR thought-leader from the Silicon Valley who specializes in providing bold and high business impact; strategic Talent Management solutions to large corporations.

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