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How hybrid working will increase the quality of your talent pool

One of the biggest benefits of hybrid working is that it can give you more pools of potential talent to draw from. This is what attracts many businesses to the idea of job flexibility. Well, that, and a general desire to outbid their competitors in the war for talent. So, does hybrid working improve talent, really? Let’s look at the evidence to see how flexibility initiatives truly impact business performance and workplace culture

Does hybrid working improve talent pools?

Obviously, the extent to which offering job flexibility improves your hiring potential can depend on what options you choose to support. Though, to some extent, any form of job flexibility could attract new hires. This is because options for hybrid working have become more expected in recent years. 55% of employees viewing it as the expected standard rather than a nice perk.

A similar proportion of employees globally (54%) would leave their jobs if they were not offered some form of continuing job flexibility. So, it’s fair to say that a business offering even the most basic options could conceivably poach talent from their competitor who doesn’t offer it at all.

Specific forms of job flexibility can also be advantageous for getting the most out of your recruitment efforts. Businesses which offer fully remote positions aren’t restricted to hiring someone from within a reasonable commuting distance. They’re free to hire anyone from across the country, or even the world. So, while a lot of more traditional businesses may be concerned about apparent talent shortages, these can often just be localised issues.

So, does hybrid working improve talent acquisition? We think it would be difficult to argue otherwise.

Automattic’s approach to job flexibility

But how does hybrid working improve the potential talent pool for your business? Automattic is a prime example of a company that’s taking a progressive approach to job flexibility, and succeeding. If the name sounds familiar, it might be because we’ve talked about Automattic in the past.

Automattic employs over 800 people across the USA and 67 other countries. They’ve achieved this thanks to their company-wide hybrid working policy. Auttomatic even employs people who have no fixed home and prefer to spend their time traveling. Provided they can access decent WiFi on a reliable basis, that is.

With Automattic, Matt built in flexibility from the ground up. As he puts it, ‘Our focus on distributed work didn’t happen accidentally. It was a conscious choice from the very beginning. In fact, you’ll probably notice I don’t use the word “remote,” because it sets up the expectation that some people are essential, and some aren’t. I use the word “distributed” to describe what we do, where everyone is on an equal playing field.’

Automattic even supplies its employees with a stipend to use however they see fit. That might mean setting up a comfortable home office for one employee. Or paying for the coffees a more nomadic employee might have to buy to keep using a café's internet connection.

Matt Mullenweg makes a concise and persuasive argument:

‘I believe that talent and intelligence are equally distributed throughout the world, but opportunity is not. In Silicon Valley, you have the big tech companies fishing from essentially the same small pond or bay,’ he says.

‘By making the company distributed, we can fish from the entire ocean. Instead of hiring someone who grew up in Japan, but now lives in California, you can gain someone who lives, works, wakes up in the morning and goes to sleep every night wherever they are in the world. They bring a different understanding of that culture, and a different lived experience day-to-day.’

That’s a pretty solid answer to the question, “does hybrid working improve talent pool recruitment”? Watch Matt Mullenweg talk about his philosophy on job flexibility and distributed business models.

How other businesses have adopted hybrid working to improve their talent pool

Especially after the events of the last year or two, Automattic are far from alone in the push for more hybrid working options. So, to round things off, here are several examples of how businesses have adopted job flexibility:

  • Netflix: It seems that Netflix understand that being a parent can be a stressful, unpredictable experience. This is because they allow all employees unlimited parental leave. It’s a great example of how you can show respect for your employees while supporting them, by trusting your people not to abuse generous policies.
  • GitHub: Unlimited parental leave is all well and good, but a person’s time isn’t less important because they don’t have kids. If any company beats out Netflix’s policy, it’s GitHub. They allow their employees unlimited sick days, with a separate parental leave package on top.
  • Pets at Home: While many customer-facing businesses have a mix of full and part-time staff, there’s often the perception that full-time employees are more committed or more important than part-timers. But high performance should be rewarded no matter who it comes from. That’s why Pets at Home have adapted their manager roles to be accessible to part-timers.
  • Davis Polk & Wardwell: While they’re far from the only law firm implementing job flexibility, Davis Polk & Wardwell are interesting. While other firms implement more typical hybrid policies, they’re currently allowing employees to pick whole weeks from the year in advance to work fully remotely.

Managing remote, flexi or hybrid teams? Grab a copy of our latest best practice guide: Employee Engagement in a Remote Working World. Download your copy here 👇