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Changing Mindsets on Virtual Contracting

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Recently, there has been a huge amount of transformation in the HR landscape, and the increasing number of projects means there is a growing demand for HR contractors to meet these requirements. However, the best talent to fill these roles is not necessarily the people that can travel into the office on a daily basis. Collaborative technologies have allowed organisations around the world to turn to virtual contracting (contracting that is completely remote) to open up a whole other pool of people who can meet their needs.

But is New Zealand ready for this shift?

It’s already happening in this country to an extent – many top line managers are based regionally, or even internationally. Yet, to make the most of virtual contracting, there needs to be a mindset change in the HR industry, with employers becoming more open to this modern alternative, and HR jobseekers considering their options when looking for a contracting role.

For Employers: Tapping into a New Talent Pool

There is a large group of qualified HR talent that’s generally being ignored by the market – people who can’t work full time or in an office, such as stay-at-home parents. So, the question is: how can we best utilise NZ’s skillsets and tap into that hidden potential? Particularly with HR projects, there are plenty of aspects that can be done completely remotely, which is why virtual contracting is an effective alternative.

There is a lot to gain for organisations that are receptive to this new idea. Tapping into the power of remote working gives employers access to the best of the contractors, opening up the hiring pool to include the brightest stars all over the country, rather than being limited to just local talent. Not only does this increase hiring reach, but virtual contractors are often happier in their roles because this type of work provides benefits such as avoiding long commutes and allows them more time with their family. This added happiness makes them more productive, as you tend to get the best out of people when you put them into an environment in which they’re comfortable.

However, for virtual contracting to be successful, employers need to become more outcomes-focused – thinking about the end results, not the way the work is being done. After all, working away from the office doesn’t mean being less productive. Trust is vital between the employer and the contractor to make this work. It’s also important to put clear milestones in place to track work, as virtual contractors cannot be managed like regular employees.

When working with them for the first time, a possible option is for the contractor to come into the office for a day or two before going completely virtual. This allows for handover of the project and gives the employer the chance to get to know them – most contractors will be happy to do it.

For HR Professionals: Opening Up New Opportunities

The biggest feedback we're getting from candidates is that they only want to work locally – mostly to avoid long commuting times. This is pretty understandable, as many people don’t want to spend hours getting to and from work.

To avoid this, virtual contracting is a great option for HR professionals. It gives you the chance to have flexible work hours, reduces time spent in congested traffic and allows workers to move outside of Auckland (or another major city) and still have these HR jobs. Virtual contracting is also great for balancing family responsibilities for stay-at-home parents and other caregivers because it means not having to choose between your family and your HR career.

There is a wide range of HR roles that can be done virtually, including learning and development, organisational design, health and safety, organisational development, change management, policy and procedure writing, project support roles involving the analysis of data, and policy reviews. For example, when an organisation wants to get up to speed with Health and Safety legislation, their policies will need reviewing and rewriting, and this can be done remotely.

If you’d like to find out more about the types of virtual contracting roles available, the best way to assess your options is to talk to a specialist HR recruiter.

Summary

The landscape of HR work is rapidly evolving – more and more talented people are looking towards virtual contracting as the ideal situation, and for this to happen, employers also need to embrace the change. Ultimately, it is a shift that will bring significant benefits to all parties.

If you’re looking for virtual contractors for your business, or are an HR professional wanting to discuss the topic in more detail, get in touch with me.