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Engineering leadership | Blog Post

The remote leadership report: How leaders are navigating the rapid rise of a remote workforce

August 19, 2020
Linzi Nield
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This year as the workforce suddenly (and unexpectedly) went remote, leaders and organizations across the globe began experiencing an unprecedented upheaval of traditional working norms.

And it’s clear there’s no going back to the previous status quo. So what does this mean for how we navigate the future of remote leadership and work?

While there’s been research into these subjects pre-COVID, we noticed a critical gap around the big picture information needed to understand how leaders in engineering and HR are handling the switch to remote, and find accurate ways to benchmark and assess organizational remote readiness.

That’s why today we’re excited to launch, The Remote Leadership Report, a survey of 400+ HR and engineering leaders that provides an insightful look at remote work challenges, frustrations, and, most importantly, insights into how to build that critical, future-ready remote strategy.

Key findings in the report include:

  • At large, leaders and companies lack remote strategic plans. Only 31% of leaders have a fully developed remote strategy in place, and 22% report that they are only thinking through the end of 2020 for their remote strategies. This is a clear gap in critical planning as remote work is here to stay post-COVID.
  • Leaders have been focusing on short-term productivity, but have been less proactive about considering the long-term factors that impact employee happiness – less than a third of plans address employee burnout (21%) or loneliness (32%). This indicates immediate worries may be obscuring critical issues that will affect retention.
  • Creating remote culture is a major pain point for leaders and organizations across the board. Zoom happy hours aren’t cutting it and new approaches for cultivating culture in a remote age must be adopted—and fast. Only 27% of leaders say they have a strong and thriving remote culture today, and even among the 42% of leaders who say their culture is ‘okay for now,’  they admit it’s not optimized for the long-term.
  • Remote employee benefits are slim to none. Only 29% of leaders have a plan for replacing traditional in-office benefits or perks for remote employees, such as home office stipends or expensed meals, which means a lot of added costs for employees. Not only that, but nearly a third of leaders admit their learning and development programs are worse than in-person programs, which is a big red flag for retaining high performers.
  • When it comes to evolving traditional recruiting strategies into remote ones, companies and HR leaders are confused. 1 in 5 leaders reported not having a strategy for finding talent in a remote work environment, and only 35% of leaders reported they had hired someone in another country. Now more than ever is the time to optimize recruiting processes–from search methods to interviewing tactics–for a remote world to attract and support great talent.

Your remote strategy is your talent strategy.

While remote may take many forms in the future, it’s clear that accommodating remote employees is no longer just a ‘contingency plan.’  It’s a competitive edge to future-proof your organization from losing out on global recruiting hot spots with elite technical talent.

Because of this, an employer and leader’s ability to attract and support remote employees has never been more important, and especially now with top talent gaining more power in choosing how they want work to fit into their lives.

We hope our Remote Leadership Report acts as a powerful tool for you in understanding today’s remote work ecosystem, and empowers you to grow your company into the high-performing remote organization that it’s capable of becoming post-pandemic.

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