There are lots of definitions in the books about competitive advantage that will be familiar to business graduates or MBA students. In its simplest form, competitive advantage is any activity that creates superior value for a firm above its rivals. The most direct interpretation of this is on delivering a product or service to a customer that is one of cheaper, better, or niche. The best companies will be able to deliver several of these at the same time, but the building blocks to achieve some of these are behind the scenes and often less obvious.
I want to talk a little about the importance of a sustainable and effective resource strategy. In the world of application or software delivery, you are dealing with intangibles and intellectual property. You cannot touch software, but it has enormous value to organisations. Organisations in the service industry will survive if they have a strong brand and a strong product. To be able to sustain this, the organisation must continue to evolve and continue to reinvent themselves. The most valuable asset to these companies is their human capital, their people, their organisational knowledge and those with an ability to change. This is why attracting and retaining the best talent is a key driver to competitive advantage. And to be able to do this, you must have a resource strategy that is effective in achieving this.
We all have the scars on our backs from trying to recruit suitable talent into the organisation and the challenges that continue to exist keeping people motivated and committed to the company. How do you go about doing that? For huge global corporations they have massive success in attracting the best and the brightest to their organisations and retain them through innovation, continuous investment, upskilling and training. Their large reach also means opportunities in abundance for those who wish to climb the career ladder or try new things. For companies of a smaller scale the approach needs to be different, more personalised and I can’t overstate the need to be a key differentiator.
That’s why here at workwork we’re flipping the traditional work model on its head and pushing remote working for regional employees. This is different to offshore models whereby you can scale the organisation, sometimes costs effectively and other times not. Offshore has challenges integrating different time zones, language barriers and cultural differences amongst others. Here at workwork, we are promoting local talent who work the normal ‘9 to 5’ in the same time zone, but they’re just not present at the office. Over 30 years of offshoring has proven remote working can be effective, and with the progress on bandwidth, collaboration tools, networking and video calling, there is no reason a member of the team cannot integrate remotely into the group from a virtual office. Factor in the hiring of someone with the same culture and native language, it is safe to say these individuals will be more effective than an offshore team when collaborating.
When we say work remotely, we mean 100%, all day, every day. Many companies offer work from home several times a month, but these candidates are being selected from the locality of the office and the traditional geographic barriers still exist. Visualise a scenario where you have a higher skilled candidate who would really value the opportunity to work from home from work/life reasons, while still having a highly specialised role. If you can fulfil these needs for the candidate, you immediately are an attractive company for them to join. Not only will your organisation be able to attract candidates who are looking for roles, it will also inspire others to leave positions to join you. Removing geographic barriers opens the potential to get someone niche or specialised in a particular skillset that you really need but are struggling to fulfil.
What would bring better value to your organisation when you have an aggressive project that you need to resource quickly for, an on-site candidate that ticks 3 out of 5 boxes, or a candidate that ticks all 5 and who are available remotely. For example, you have a demand for a Java developer with experience in eCommerce, B2C applications, working on SAP Hybris, with pharmaceutical industry experience. For an office based role, you are likely limiting your potential resource pool to anyone within an hours commute of the office, and the chances of ticking all the boxes are limited. This might not even extend to one full city if you’re not conveniently located centrally. Remove the geographic barriers and this opens up an enormous pool of talent regionally who can meet all criteria.
With many years’ experience as a hiring manager I know I’d prefer the candidate that has the most experience and the best skillset match. These candidates I know can hit the ground immediately and start adding value to the business. The alternative is investing time and effort upskilling a candidate whereby the value isn’t felt for at least the first quarter. Better still, if you have challenges attracting the best talent due to your company profile or location, you now have a significant differentiator versus your competitors. The best talent who want to work from home will find the organisations that value them sufficiently to meet their needs. If you embrace remote working as part of your resource strategy, then you can be part of this, getting the best talent with no extra investment.
This brings you lasting competitive advantage in the never ending search for the best talent. Here at workwork, our candidate database is solely remote candidates and those that meet the specialist, mid to senior level criteria across the entire software delivery spectrum. If you would like to know more, please give us a call on +353 (0)1 531 3700