Virtual Employees

4 Aug

For a moment, I’d like to open your mind to something – a great employee working outside your office. If your office is in downtown Chicago, IL, you are limited to the 10 million people living in that metro area. Only 45.4% of the U.S. population actually works full time, so let’s guess that part timers and retirees, etcetera – knock that down to around 35% – 3.5 million choices. That’s still a lot of choices right?

But you want a skilled worker from your field, English-speaking, likely educated, experienced, and filled with a passion for your industry. Let’s hypothesize for a moment that narrows the field down 99% to just 35,000 people (I’m guessing that’s high) – half of those people are lazy or inexperienced, so you now have 17,500 choices. But another half of that group really likes their job and you can’t afford to lure them away. Now, you have only 8,750 choices left. If you are picky like me and want the best of the best, the bell curve says you are down to 875 choices… are you going to be able to find them?!

I hope you understand the point I’m making. If you choose to have an office staffed strictly by in-office and local employees, you dramatically limit your choices.

Here’s a little more background on our thought process. Most companies outsource some of the core employees and functions – the accountant, banker, and attorney aren’t required to work in your office. Accountants, bankers and attorneys have 25-50 clients and somehow manage to do most of your work well from a separate location. Today, businesses are discovering the magical “cloud” and smartly outsourcing the IT function. Temporary employees are a different version of outsourcing as are consultants and contractors. If you can imagine it, you can outsource just about every function in your business. There is someone out there to do it and do it well if you look. Companies often default to the expensive and in-your-mind “safe” route by employing most of your work directly. I believe it’s inefficient, but can’t be proven completely right or wrong about that theory until the next 50-100 years unfold. I would love to hear your comments.

My push here is to go a little more virtual. Not just letting one of your employees work from home occasionally, but by looking further. You Chicagoans, can go from 875 really good choices to 1.225 million choices (using the same hypothetical math I applied above: 7 billion * .35 *.01 * .50 * .10). That’s 1,400 times more choices! Don’t you think there are a few good options in Silicon Valley if you are looking for the best IT programmers? Or how about hiring at Oxford University if you’re seeking for the best and brightest intern? There are one billion English-speaking people in India, so why not search for an affordable employee with a Masters or Doctorate in Mumbai?

Just think about it. Challenge your traditional mentality when filling the next role or project. With the world wide web, you can find them fairly easy (or hire a dude like me to help).

Make Every Day Count~ Drew Schmitz,


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