Open Business, No Borders

As the UK moves towards a hard Brexit and Donald Trump threatens to increase avocado prices to pay for the wall on the Mexican border, the west looms on the edge of isolationism just as global connectivity is at an all time high.

While politicians play on the fears of some in terms of losing jobs, healthcare, and competitive advantage, innovative companies realize global partnerships are paving the way for the future highly skilled workforce. Flexible work that offers a mobile lifestyle is often sited as one of the main ways to attract and retain millennial talent — or talent of any age. People no longer want to live chained to a desk with 3 out of 4 millennials willing to trade pay for work-life balance.

Not only do more junior employees want a flexible schedule, they want to use that flexibility to see the world, meet their coworkers in Europe or Asia, and build relationships while they build their career. Results from my MBA thesis research found that 45% of recent graduates who were given an international work opportunity remained with the company a year after their international experience ended. With 21% of millennials changing jobs in the past year, three times more than any other group, and 60% being open to new opportunities, employers must ensure they offer benefits in sync with their employees’ needs in order to retain top talent.

TLNT Talent Management and HR found that employees with remote work opportunities are 50% less likely to quit. I personally see this with my current team who comes to the office anywhere between once a week and once a year. This team of five has remained loyal to a large corporation for 10-25 years largely due to the flexibility within our division of the enterprise.

As with any new shift in lifestyle preference, there will be bumps along the road as companies work out the best way to make remote work efficient and effective. Many managers may be hesitant to let go of the ability to stop by their employee’s desk but technology and apps such as Slack, Amazon Web Services, Wunderlist, World Time Buddy, SharePoint, 15Five and Drop Box can be implemented to ease these pain points often cited by traditional nine to five-ers.

The numbers above only touch on a fraction of the studies on the benefits of remote work and international travel opportunities to retain top talent. Companies don’t even need to create their own programs with startups like Remote Year, the Intern Group, and (my alma mater) the Mountbatten Institute taking care of all the details required to get employees involved in a rewarding international adventure. Companies around the world from small businesses to large enterprises are already onboard. Are you?