Don’t Let Visa Regulations Limit Your Growth Potential, Hire Remotely

To grow, start-ups need funding and a quality product, and “Team” comes first on any VC evaluation list.  Talent is a key to get that funding and develop the next Facebook or Paypal, but with the H1B visa changes and caps, talent is scarce and expensive. To complicate matters further, the changes to the H1B visa program proposed by President Donald Trump would further limit businesses access to foreign employees.  

Looks Like A Dead End, Doesn’t It?

Wait - there’s actually a solution! The percentage of workers doing all or some of their work at home or remotely increased from 19% in 2003 to 24% in 2015, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics68% of U.S. workers say that they expect to work remotely in the future. Remote work is an upward trend and London Business School expects that by 2020, 50% of the workforce will be working remotely.

Each year Flexjobs publishes the list of The Top 100 Companies Offering Remote Jobs. You may be surprised that big names such as Amazon, Xerox, and Dell have made it to the list. The corporate world is divided, there are companies such Yahoo and IBM banning remote work, and innovative companies embracing the remote work concept.

With the right processes and communication tools in place, remote work is a major competitive advantage. Flexibility keeps employees happy and optimizes recruitment, payroll, administrative, etc. costs.

No Office, No Problem

AutomatticBufferArticulate and Balsamiq went a step further letting almost all of their employees work remotely.

“Being able to choose where and when we work empowers us to be more productive, more engaged, and more balanced in every aspect of our lives,” said Adam Schwartz, founder and CEO of Articulate, one of the companies on the list. “After 14 years as a fully remote company, we’re convinced a distributed environment isn’t just good for our employees. It’s also one of the key reasons we’ve been so successful as a company.”

More than two-thirds of employers report increased productivity among their telecommuters

The Journey Of The Team That Has Never Met

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Transformify, a UK based B2B remote work platform started its business relying on remote contractors only. Besides the two founders, the team members have never met. They are based on 3 continents and work out of their homes or co-working spaces. The CEO of Transformify, Lilia Stoyanov, stated:

Transformify was founded to address a specific need – provide remote work opportunities to people who have lost their jobs due to business restructuring. The financial crisis had negative impact on many businesses and the optimization and automation of internal processes was a matter of survival. Lots of highly qualified employees were laid off. There were no jobs for them locally, they had to relocate or immigrate which was not easy as they had families and mortgages.
At the same time, other businesses, elsewhere in the world, reported skilled workforce shortages. Remote work was clearly the solution, but the concept was still new, and to prove it, I took the risk and started Transformify as a completely remote company. Soon it was clear that if the team believes in the company mission, there are robust processes in place and sufficient tools to communicate, it is more efficient than any in- house team.
Often, those who oppose remote work point to a lack of communication and motivation as major disadvantages. However, these are excuses I refuse to buy. We have all seen open space offices where all employees wear headsets and don’t exchange a word with those sitting next to them. Efficiency and proper communication are the positive results of good management, not physical location.
Our team includes of people living in post-war zones, areas with high unemployment, and single parents. They embrace the social mission of Transformify and feel its impact on their lives every day. There is no better motivation than that.”

Since most businesses are reluctant to deal with multiple independent workers around the globe, Transformify was designed as a B2B model offering a payment guarantee to all parties. It soon became clear that there are many groups of people who would benefit from working remotely. The founders realized that the model addresses pressing social issues such as unemployment driven immigration, rural development, inclusion of people from vulnerable groups into the workforce, carbon emissions associated with the daily commute to the office, etc.

We aim to provide remote jobs to those who need them the most:

  • People living in high unemployment areas. Youth unemployment in the US has reached 10.1%,  48.9% in Greece, 45.3% in Spain, 40.3% in Croatia, and 39.1% in Italy.
  • People less able to move.
  • Single parents.
  • Parents of children with special needs.
  • Seniors.
  • People diagnosed with disabilities.

It took 8 months to for Transformify to successfully launch. It was not an easy journey, but in less than a year, the business secured the support of Virgin Group and became a member of the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition of the European CommissionSocial Enterprise UK, and WeConnect International. Our platform is used by remote contractors from 100+ countries and businesses from the US, Europe, and Asia.

Transformify's honorsProtecting Everyone’s Rights

Quite often, remote work is seen as an alternative to outsourcing and cheap labor.  However, this is not what Transformify stands for. The CEO, Lilia Stoyanov, said:

"We encourage remote contractors to set a fair rate that is sufficient to provide for themselves and their families. The businesses are not allowed to renegotiate the rates. All necessary information, including the time zone and the location of the remote contractors, is provided and it is easy to make an informed decision based on budget restrictions and internal needs.
It is not necessary to hire people overseas, there are many who are living in high unemployment areas and can’t afford to relocate to the Bay Area or New York. They would be happy to work remotely as the cost of living in Baltimore or Delaware is much lower. This way, remote work solves two problems – the lack of talent in the big cities and the development of the rural areas. There is no need for the business to open offices in high unemployment areas and incur extra costs. At the same time, the income generated by the remote contractors is spent locally and boosts the development of the local economy."

Hire Slow, Hire Social

Most established businesses in the US have dedicated CSR (corporate social responsibility) budgets. There is hardly a better way to utilize these budgets than creating remote jobs for people in need. Microsoft is a great example - their Autism Hiring Program has helped engineers and other tech-minded people with autism spectrum disorder land jobs that are well-suited to their skills through its unique approach to evaluating candidates and supporting them through the interview process.

“There’s an incredible pool of skilled and talented people who also happen to have autism,” says Jen Guadagno, program manager for Inclusive Hiring at Microsoft. “We’re hiring people with amazing technical skills to come in and work on product teams such as HoloLens.”

Actual Transformify consultants

Sometimes the hiring process happens in a charged environment. Someone is leaving or has already left and the hiring managers are pressed to make a quick decision. This quite often results in ‘bad hires’’ who come at a cost. Relocation packages, trainings, lost productivity are not to be neglected especially if there is a way to be avoided. What if the hiring manager has an option to test a candidate for a few months prior to extending a job offer?

‘’Our clients love the ‘’Test and Hire’’ service’’, says Lilia Stoyanov, CEO of Transformify.  ‘’The headcount turnover rate is strictly monitored by analysts and investors and may impact the share price of a listed company or the valuation of a tech start-up. On the other hand, in three to six months, it is clear if the candidate is a good fit and the hiring managers could safely extend a job offer at no cost.’’

We encourage you to take a look at the various skillsets of Transformify's consultants below and envision where they can make an impact in your organization.

This post was originally published here.