Talent & Tech Asia Summit 2024
Doing a U-turn on how we work

Doing a U-turn on how we work


"While many companies struggle with workplace changes caused by ‘The Great Resignation’, our company has found success by embracing policies centred around our employees’ needs, and expanding to a remote international workforce,"  writes Jan Beránek, CEO of U+ for HRO.

‘The Great Resignation’ has put a spotlight on the shift in global trends related to workforce values. More people are basing their career choices on enlightened, humanistic ideals that lead to a positive work-life balance, and a greater sense of satisfaction in their work.

Employees are asking companies for increased workplace flexibility, more time to be with their families, and roles that provide greater professional development. Companies that embrace this more progressive outlook not only gain an advantage in recruiting and retaining talent, but it also helps ensure steady business growth and customer satisfaction.

Crafting an environment and culture that evolves according to our international team’s personal and professional needs has helped our company achieve success as a 100% remote workforce. This has enabled us to double our workforce over the past 12 months, and expand our operations to Silicon Valley, Prague, Toronto, and the Middle East. This rapid growth means we can now serve clients across three continents.

ASLO READ: Snapshot: What will HR's role will be in the workplace of the future?

Giving employees the potential to grow by trusting them to succeed

COVID-19 has transformed the business world in such a way that remote work has become the new norm. A recent study revealed that 92% of employees expect to work from home at least once per week after the pandemic, and 80% expect to work from home at least three days per week. Another survey reported that 30% of respondents said they were more productive and engaged while working from home.

Employee engagement is vital to a company’s success, yet more than 65% of American employees are either ‘not engaged’ or ‘actively disengaged’ at work. Employees are increasingly questioning the meaning of their work; companies that fail to realise this will face problems in attracting, retaining, and engaging the best employees, and their returns will drop as a result.

These findings indicate that some form of hybrid remote work is fundamental to employee satisfaction, performance, and retention.


Hiring for talent rather than geography

A key component of talent acquisition has been a ‘hire for talent rather than geography’ approach. This recruiting model allows us at U+ to employ top talent located anywhere in the world, without the challenges of relocating them.


Some of the U+ crew enjoying our fall 2021 team-building in the Krkonoše Mountains.

While offering a 100% ‘work from home’ policy has become a recruiting trend, we have been offering our employees this option since U+ opened its virtual doors 12 years ago. If someone is at their most productive working as a digital nomad, we encourage them to go for it. A happy employee is always going to be a better employee.

Several people in our company have taken full advantage of the freedom to work where they want. For example, our CTO Jakub Kovar is travelling around the US with his family in an RV as he runs our company’s complex technical affairs.

We also recently hired a very talented Albanian QA automation engineer who is thrilled that she can stay with her family in her hometown rather than having to relocate to another country to take a job. Giving our employees this freedom motivates them, and provides us with tremendous value in attracting and retaining talented people.



Life on the road with the Kovar clan.

The challenges of maintaining a remote workforce

Of course, running a remote workforce is not without its challenges. We can have meetings where our project manager in Southern California is talking with our engineers in the Czech Republic, and our copywriter in Greece. That means the beginning of the day for one person is the end of the day for someone else.

The solution lies in ensuring people have common times of the day when they can all agree to meet. The difference in time zones for different employees is a natural impediment, but ultimately we find that people will take the trade-off of working a little bit earlier, or later, if it means they can work from home.

Another challenge can be instilling and maintaining a unified company culture. A lot of companies have been afraid to make the jump to a 100% remote workforce because they fear their teams will become fractured.

We are able to nurture synergy by organising seasonal team building events where employees connect to build strategies, share ideas, and strengthen bonds. This is crucial to building a positive, unified company culture.


Giving employees the potential to grow by trusting them to succeed

One of the most common issues facing workers today is dissatisfaction from working in a confining corporate environment that leaves them feeling stressed and demotivated, and inhibits their professional growth.

In an attempt to solve this problem, larger companies are giving workers very specific roles within a larger system. However, this overbearing and micromanaging style is not a one-size-fits-all solution, and can even cause mental health issues among employees.

Many U+ employees decide to join us because we offer them more creative freedom, and empower them to develop their own solutions. Growing pains are common as employees learn to navigate challenges with more autonomy, but we trust that ultimately they’ll achieve the right result, and it’s something they really appreciate.

The growth we see in our people’s skills as a result is exciting and ends up benefiting everyone – our employees and company, as well as our clients and their end customers.


Paying attention to employees pays off

Listening to employees, giving them the freedom to grow professionally, and providing a better work-life balance are the new tenets of the workplace that global working trends such as The Great Resignation and full-time remote work have spawned.

Throughout the transformation, spurred by COVID-19, we have preached these beliefs as a fundamental pillar of our company. Ultimately, the talent we’ve been able to recruit, the results and growth we’ve achieved, and our client satisfaction, attest to the benefits of putting our people first. This people-first approach is a foundation any company can build on to thrive in today’s rapidly changing business world.

 ALSO READ: The workforce in 2022: 15 trends that will shape hiring, learning, working, and more

Lead image: LinkedIn

Other images: Provided

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