Want To Attract Great Employees Post-Covid? Why ‘Remote’ Isn’t Everything

Chattanooga? When my daughter told me recently she’d be leaving a remote role in sunny Santa Barbara for a new job in Tennessee, it caught me by surprise. But the more I thought about her move, the more it made sense — and the more light it shed on how to win the battle for talent in the post-Covid economy.

The pandemic may have initially prompted a global recession, but with the “great reopening” upon, us the global fight for top talent is heating up. A record 42% of small business owners in the U.S. are now reporting job openings they cannot fill. With many people now able to work from anywhere, it’s clearly an employee’s market.

In this context, “remote work” has emerged as the ultimate trump card for many recruiters. Deep-pocketed companies can hire the best talent regardless of geography, enabling them to work with anyone, anywhere. That’s leading to bidding wars and escalating salaries across borders, posing threats to smaller businesses in regional hubs.

But, my daughter’s history, coupled with my own experiences leading a robotics company of several hundred people, point to a very different outcome. Even in a remote work context, quaint, old concepts — geography, community, even purpose — may well matter more than ever. And smart employers would do well to play them up as a competitive edge.

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