Insider, Remote Staffing, company culture

Remote vs Local Talent: Assessing Your Options For Scaling Your Small Business

Bringing the right people on board is one of the toughest growing pains for any burgeoning business. With various hiring options available in the modern workforce, it can be difficult to know which path is going to be most beneficial. You may have experienced the hit and miss quality of freelancers, or the high risk and reward process of hiring a full-time employee—but have you considered adding a remote team to the mix?


These days, the tools at our fingertips means the conversation is less about weighing up in-house vs outsourcing pros and cons and more about assessing the combination of options that will increase productivity and profitability within your business. Your dream team could, in fact, become a distributed team.

So, what options are the best fit for your organization? Let’s dive in.

Hiring local talent

Hiring local talent as full-time, in-house staff has stayed the employment model of choice for a long time—simply because, other options have been limited by technology. Even as emerging digital technologies offer new alternatives, employing local staff continues to be a preferred choice for notable reasons.

Pros

  • Better team-building: Being in the same space is conducive to building a faster rapport and creating a collaborative environment. Face-to-face contact allows you to skip the hurdles like negotiating time zones.
  • Easier to train in-house: Without communication obstacles like time zone differences and physical distance to contend with, it’s far quicker and easier to walk new hires through new processes and technologies.
  • Simpler communication: Having the same operating hours makes it even easier to lock-in meetings and address any queries. Early interventions help to resolve any issues before they escalate.

Cons

  • Higher risk and reward: Recruitment remains a difficult and time-consuming process for many businesses. According to a study by Leadership IQ, 46% of newly-hired employees will fail within 18 months, while only 19% will achieve unequivocal success. When an unsuitable hire is made, the cost of time and money can be astronomical—which can be particularly detrimental to a small business.
  • Shortage of specific skill sets: Finding high-quality talent can be tough, especially in competitive tech-driven cities where specific skills are in high demand and too often short supply. This too often results in companies competing for a small pool of skilled talent, who are able to negotiate a far higher salary. Due to greater job security, in-house employees may also be less likely to upskill on relevant digital technologies than freelancers.
  • Greater overheads: Expenses like supplies, rent, utilities and can quickly add up when you hire in-house employees. Expanding to bigger offices often comes with big upfront investments that can hinder your cash flow.


Bringing on board freelancers

Whether it’s on a remote or in-house basis, short-term contractors can bridge the gap between full-time employees and remote. However, it comes with its own unique set of advantages and challenges.

Pros

  • Quick and easy set-up: With minimal paperwork required to onboard freelancers, they can quickly hit the ground running. This makes this arrangement ideal for short-term projects with clear deliverables, deadlines and briefs.
  • Low level of commitment: If a freelance contractor demonstrates they’re not the right fit, there’s no obligation to hire them for the next project. This means you can refine your network of trusted contractors.
  • High level of expertise: The ever-growing freelance workforce means you can source an expert in virtually any field or skillset you could imagine. Furthermore, as professionals responsible for their own development and upskilling, you can ensure you’re contracting freelancers with the most up-to-date expertise.

Cons

  • Hit or miss quality: The success of a freelance hire depends largely on the individual and their experience level. Until they work with them directly, employers may find it difficult to accurately gauge the quality of a freelancer’s work based on their portfolio.
  • Limited availability: Since they are their own business entity, a freelancer’s availability to you is dependent on their other workload—which is out of your control. This can affect communication and create gaps in your workflow.
  • Higher price: Freelance contractors can be expensive, depending on their experience level and the scope of the project. For example, some of the highest rated software engineers can cost up to $300 per hour. This is a big investment for hit or miss quality, depending on your familiarity with a particular freelancer.


Leveraging remote teams

With countless studies confirming that telecommuting accelerates business growth and employee retention, the benefits of remote working for employers are undeniable. However, true opportunity for today’s employers emerges in the ability to hire not only remote employees, but specifically whole remote teams. It’s still important to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages to determine if a remote team is right for your business.

Pros

  • Cost effective: A remote team offers the reliability of an established team working full-time exclusively for you—without the overheads of paying for a larger office. A study from PGi found that the average real estate savings with full-time teleworkers is $10,000 per employee per year.
  • More efficient processes: Distributed teams can use technology and timezones to create an efficient powerhouse, working 24/7 seamlessly. This would be an enormous benefit, for example in customer service, where around the clock service means your customers always have a helping hand available at any time. Trusted remote teams could also revolutionize your business process outsourcing, allowing your in-house team to reinvest many hours into other crucial areas.
  • Greater efficiency: When your remote team is working, they’re really working—a study from CTrip found that remote employees made 13.5% more calls than their comparable office workers, which is the equivalent of almost a full extra day’s worth of work in a given week.
  • Larger talent pool: With a shortage of local talent being a reality, remote teams give you access to a broader talent base with unique and specific skill sets.
  • Scalability: Without the need for expensive overheads, it’s easier to hire a bigger team to scale a business process through outsourcing. Fluctuating demand, revenue or other hurdles no longer need to hinder your growth. Scalability means you can scale at need, fast and reliably.

Over to you

At the end of the day, the right employee arrangement for small business growth varies from organization to organization. Often the best solution is to find the ideal balance between in-house and outsourced staff. Faceless outsourced work is a thing of the past. Many businesses today are tapping into personal and reliable remote teams, which can work harmoniously with your in-house team.

Discover the guide to growing your business through growing the right team of people. We unlock the secrets to success.

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Edsel Mendoza
About the Author

Ed Mendoza is the head of business operations at Bolton Remote, where he is at the forefront of ensuring Bolton remote teams are at their best and fully equipped with everything they need to perform their roles alongside the fast-growing companies they work with. He's also a strong advocate for helping companies address their doubts about going remote.


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