For HR departments in the UAE today, the talent pool of candidates is bigger than ever. Already a country rich with skilled professionals from across the globe, the UAE is just the limit when it comes to hiring the right person for the right job.
The advent of remote working has enabled companies to unlock new potential, both from existing staff and from potential hires on the other side of the world.
Allowing existing employees to work remotely not only offers a welcome variety in the routine of 9-5 office work, but also helps teams enjoy a better work-life balance. As for completely remote staff, companies stand to employ talent from a different part of the world, with their own personal and professional experiences and worldviews, which could bring these firms intangible added value beyond the skills required in the job description.
One of the companies helping enable and support remote working in the UAE and MENA is RemotePass, a Hub71-based online recruitment platform. RemotePass currently services 80+ global & regional companies, including notable names like swvl, Unifonic, Nas Daily, and Eyewa, assisting them in managing their growing global workforce in 120+ countries.
Kamal Reggad, Co-Founder of RemotePass, shares valuable insights with the Abu Dhabi SME Hub that shed some light on remote working best practices, common pitfalls, and more.
Kamal Reggad, RemotePass Co-founder (left) and Amr Abi, Head of Strategy & Planning (right)
Based on your experience in the MENA region, how would you describe the response amongst companies to the rise of remote working? While many managers are embracing this new mode of work, many are traditional and prefer a more authoritarian approach where employees are within eyesight at all times.
Multicultural workplaces aren't a novelty in MENA. There is a long tradition of diversity in the region. Many companies opted for remote work after successfully experimenting it during the pandemic. It is somehow a natural evolution in an international context.
One of our clients is an SaaS startup that hired its first remote worker with RemotePass in December 2021 with no expansion plans for their remote team. Within 6 months, the remote team’s size grew to 40+ employees, spread across 12 countries. More and more MENA companies are expanding their reach to LATAM to hire tech developers in different time zones to ensure 24/7 product development. These are forward-looking companies, not only embracing remote work but also capitalising on it.
Companies that believe in having employees within eyesight will simply lose the best talent to their competition.
For companies and managers on the fence, why would you recommend that they experiment with and/or commit to remote working modes of work? What benefits do they stand to gain?
Among the benefits of remote work, we can cite:
Getting access to a much larger talent pool and building a diverse and inclusive culture
More productivity. Working remotely comes with a better work-life balance. More time spent with family, less time spent commuting, etc.
Faster execution and quicker expansion to new markets.
Aside from the industries that are not suited to remote work, are there any situations where remote working might not be an ideal working configuration? The reason I ask this is that some companies are adopting remote working practices solely for the sake of outsourcing to countries with 'cheaper' workforces to cut costs, without fully understanding the implications involved.
Aside from a few sectors/jobs that are not suited for remote work, it can be implemented literally anywhere.
The modern company is no longer driven by the sole purpose of optimising its hiring costs. In the technology and innovation space, missing out on talent is more expensive in the mid to long-term.
Add to that, the common misconception that hiring remotely from MENA is “cheaper.” A lot of software engineers from Morocco, Jordan or Egypt get paid as much as their counterparts in some European markets.
When a company decides to adopt remote work, it is first and foremost looking to attract the best people. We also see Egypt-based companies hiring tech talent from Sweden, German or the Netherlands. These companies are on a mission to bring the best talent onboard regardless of their location.
The reality is that remote work brings more equality and opens new doors to a lot of people around the world. It is actually in the opposite direction of the outsourcing movement of the late 90s to early 2000s. Talent from emerging markets has seen a significant increase in salaries and access to benefits they wouldn’t usually get from local opportunities.
What are some common challenges companies face when hiring remotely or moving staff to hybrid/remote working arrangements, and how can they overcome them?
To be successful, companies have to understand global HR dynamics, where to find talent, and how to attract them. Employer branding/presence on social media is a great way to start.
Hiring remotely comes also with a lot of local technical challenges, such as labour laws, payroll, compliance, taxation, etc. Seeking external advisory and working with international employment facilitators is a must to ensure a scalable setup.
Building a culture of trust and adopting efficient ways to work and collaborate are also challenges a lot of companies face. Different communication, collaboration tools and high-speed internet have made it possible for teams to align, work asynchronously and significantly increase productivity.
When deciding to hire remotely or switch some current staff to either hybrid or fully remote work arrangements, what logistical due diligence must a company in the UAE keep in mind?
The UAE government has done a phenomenal job to welcome international talent via its Remote Work Visa. Companies no longer need to worry about setting up an entity [abroad] to hire and attract highly skilled professionals.
At RemotePass for instance, we offer employer of record services within the UAE where new hires can be fully onboarded within 1 to 2 weeks as well as a full relocation package for talent looking to move to the UAE, including residency/visa, insurance, flight and even accommodation.
How does RemotePass help companies hire and manage remote working staff?
At Remotepass, we love to call these the three C’s:
Compliance: We ensure every hiring is legally compliant. Our document collection & KYC onboarding process as well as AML screening on-transaction monitoring builds a reliable setup.
Cross-border payments: Paying remote workers is a true hassle. By invoicing our clients in one single currency and offering multiple withdrawal options to team members (bank transfer, Payoneer, PayPal, mobile wallets, crypto, etc.), we make the payment experience seamless.
Customer support: Our 24/7 support is second to none. We come in as a second layer to HR/finance departments in assisting team members on all types of queries.