Attracting and retaining the right talent to scale your start-up post COVID-19

The global pandemic has changed everything about the way that we work, including how we hire talent and scale businesses. Now more than ever, companies need to begin actively thinking about their plans for future growth and development for their product and their people too.

What’s more, the talent pool has become even more vast, with many people tragically losing their jobs due to the pandemic. With such a broad range of talent to hire from, businesses must remain focused on hiring smartly, as well as giving a chance to those who need it.

Business becomes boundaryless 

As the last few months have confirmed, teams no longer need to be under the same roof in order to work together seamlessly. In an industry like finance, operations are likely to be global and distributed, with many clients and stakeholders involved. Taking a similar approach to hiring allows businesses to broaden their horizons by beginning to enter new target markets.

From a HR perspective, hiring globally creates a greater breadth of diversity across the organisation, allowing new cultures and ways of working to strengthen creativity and make smarter business decisions. From an operational perspective, companies can look to the experience of local employees when endeavouring to enter a new market, informing their expansion with expert insights.

At Airwallex, we recently announced a series of new hires across our company, bolstered by our Series D funding. Our talent mission over the coming months is to continue our growth worldwide, specifically in Europe and the UK.

This year alone, Airwallex has hired over 140 employees and is still recruiting for 100 open roles globally. By investing in recruitment, we aim to solidly ourselves as the financial services platform for businesses of the future.

Thanks to the huge shift towards remote working that we have all had to undergo, geography is no longer a valid criterion for job searching. Instead, businesses should broaden their searches, especially to territories they are looking to pin their flag into, in order to pick from the largest pool of suitable candidates.

These candidates can then become prized assets to the company’s growth journey by enriching employee culture and providing valuable market insight and problem-solving.

Invest in the right technology for your talent 

Regardless of whether we are working at home or in the office, technology plays a vital part for financial services employees and their recruitment.

AI will have an estimated $15.7 trillion benefit to the global economy by 2030. Therefore, businesses which use AI technology in the workplace will reap these monetary benefits, as well as saving time and streamlining processes.

Whether it is using an analytics tool to screen CVs and narrow down applicants, or delivering group interview workshops over Zoom, technology is paramount for businesses looking to speed up the hiring process but still find quality talent.

With 2020 being the year of pivotal change and accelerated digital transformation, focusing efforts on finding a stellar hire instead of meaningless admin allows humans to do what machines cannot — evaluate which candidates are the best personality fit for the company.

Training for a better future 

When looking to scale, many businesses put a focus on hiring. Whilst this is necessary in order to grow, and is a key stage in developing a company, emphasis should also be placed on upskilling the existing workforce to meet the demands of the planned post-pandemic environment.

Research shows that the skills gap is costing businesses a record £6.6bn in the UK alone, with shortages being plugged by temporary staff. As well as wasting money, a high staff turnover decreases a solid company culture and means employees are not able to share knowledge over time to help the business grow.

Addressing the issue of the skills gap is two-fold, with hiring externally being the first step. Once again, the benefits of investing in technology come into play here, as it is one of the fundamental ways by which employees can be upskilled.

For example, hosting workshops and training sessions which arm the workforce with the right tools to do their job more efficiently, giving them a new specialist skillset and also boosting business productivity and turnover.

In short, everyone wins from an upskilling project — talent is retained and employee confidence and morale are kept high, all whilst businesses can enjoy the benefits of well-trained staff who can contribute to the overall growth mission.

Although the global pandemic has thrown many business practices off balance, it does not mean that the recruitment process must suffer. With so many companies taking a distributed and remote stance to work, hiring does not have to stay within the borders of one country.

Instead, businesses should embrace the diversity that this can bring to their company culture and use their employees as their best asset in their mission for growth. Having the latest technology at their disposal, to reskill and aid everyday working practices, will also help organisations improve internal development.

Coupled with recruiting beyond the HQ, investing in the right tools and focusing on decreasing the talent gap will give businesses a boost they need to increase their competitiveness.

By reimagining the recruitment process with technology and focusing on upskilling, companies can ensure that they are attracting and retaining the right talent as they look to scale to the future beyond the pandemic.

James Butland is VP for Global Banking at Airwallex.

The views and opinions expressed in this Viewpoint article are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the views and opinions of Fintech Bulletin.