COVID-19 has changed the way we work forever.
Lockdowns and social distancing restrictions pushed millions of people across the world to move from working in the office to doing their job in their own homes.
This move to fully remote working – and clear evidence that for many it has major benefits (primarily saving money and time not commuting to and from the office) – has made many companies realize that they must no longer hire only candidates who live within easy reach of the office.
COVID-19 has therefore accelerated a trend that was already in place for a few forward-thinking companies that have long known they can hire from anywhere.
Hiring from anywhere as a workplace trend
Despite the obvious advantages for employers and employees alike, hiring from anywhere is incredibly hard to do so compliantly.
“When I was there, we helped grow the team from five people to hundreds living all over the world,” he explains.
“[But] we regularly struggled to hire the people we wanted. I remember it took us more than a year to hire a single employee in one European country.”
This sparked something in van der Voort; he decided to look into the problems, which included “local laws, benefits, banking, local payroll, and local legal assistance”.
“It was all of the problems that made me realize I had to build the solution I needed – a hiring from anywhere startup,” and that was how HR tech startup Remote was born in 2019.
Van der Voort explains that Remote attracted a lot of interest from companies who needed their help, including his former employer, GitLab; something which has only accelerated during the pandemic when it saw a 65-fold increase in revenue, and ten times more users.
Remote’s latest milestones were its two funding rounds in 2020, which totaled $46 million, and then a $150 million Series B in July, bringing its value to $1 billion, therefore officially transforming the company into a unicorn.
Remote becomes a hiring from anywhere unicorn
This is a huge achievement for the two-year-old firm, putting it on par with Deel, another hiring from anywhere unicorn after it closed a $156 million Series C in April.
However, van der Voort is clear that Remote stands out from its many competitors in the space; this is primarily because “we are the only employer of record with a 100% fully owned infrastructure”.
This, van der Voort notes, requires a lot of work (and investment), so most of the Series B capital will be spent on hiring more people, expanding global operations quickly “without compromising on security or forcing us to rely on third parties”.
Remote is focused on providing its offerings in more countries.
“We fully own legal entities and will be in 80 countries by the end of 2021, and the rest of the world by 2022,” according to van der Voort.
Spotlight on Rippling and Greenhouse partnerships
Another area where Remote will invest the Series B capital is the launch of its new Global Employee API.
The purpose of this new offering, according to van der Voort, “is to make global employment simple, streamlined and accessible”; so Remote is taking its international tech infrastructure and “making it available to the HR and payroll providers across the ecosystem” and their clients.
It is creating a complete, integrated HR tech stack for customers who want to hire globally and grow their teams.
To do this, Remote is partnering with Rippling, an employee management platform.
The reason why Remote chose Rippling is “because we wanted to start with an established partner who could help more people access the benefits of global employment. They are the leading employee management platform… in the US”.
Now clients can compliantly hire and onboard global employees without leaving the Rippling platform.
It is clear that investing in new partnerships is going to be central to Remote’s future. The startup has recently announced another strategic partnership; this time with global recruitment platform Greenhouse Software, one of Remote’s customers.
This is Remote’s first applicant tracking system integration. It combines their complementary experience as Greenhouse focuses on “hiring and recruitment”, while Remote’s platform supports “payroll, benefits and global employment”.
“We wanted to integrate with Greenhouse so we could get critical new hires onboarded faster, but realized that other hyper-growth companies could also benefit from this integration,” states van der Voort.
The future of remote work and hiring from anywhere
While van der Voort is very clear the pandemic and the shift to remote working really transformed how companies hire, onboard and retain talent, he believes the trend is set to continue.
This is because the “market for employees currently favors workers”, and therefore “hiring an international team is no longer a luxury”.
He adds: “Companies hiring internally actually have a much easier time finding and keeping their best people”.
However, it is only possible to do this with the help of HR tech, and tools that can be integrated and connected to one another, “so people leaders can connect the dots on employee data”.
“Ultimately I believe that everyone should be able to enjoy a good work-life balance and work for a good salary, no matter where they live,” concludes van der Voort.
“Working remotely made those things possible for me, and now I want to help others enjoy the same benefits.”