Last month, Dice’s Tech Connects podcast featured Saad Siddiqui, General Partner at Telstra Ventures, a San Francisco-based strategic growth firm. He offered some unique insights into talent acquisition, how technology impacts onboarding and training, and the future of work itself.
There were a number of takeaways from the discussion, including how the rise of remote and hybrid work is giving companies a lot more flexibility when it comes to recruiting and hiring. We also discussed how a lot of workers miss the ability to collaborate in-person within an office—a key reason why many technology professionals prefer hybrid work. Here’s the podcast:
And here are some transcript highlights from the conversation:
On how the HR landscape has changed:
“As we think through how the HR landscape sort of changed over the last couple years, honestly, precipitated by COVID, we’ve gone from everyone in the office five days a week to every once in a while. I think there was approximately 20 percent of workforce that had some level of either field work or remote work capabilities where people used to have Fridays at home or things like that, to everyone's working at home.
“And now as we’re getting past COVID, people are trying to understand what the new workforce sort of looks like, and this new way of working is changing everything from how we identify talent — because not only are you recruiting for talent locally, you're looking at potentially nationally and even internationally — [to] how do you recruit, onboard, train. How do you provide benefits and manage payroll across different geography, fees and manage tax structures, things of that nature. Everything is getting upended, and now that the economy is tightening, we're starting to see more layoffs, particularly in the tech space, but we suspect that it could be broader as well. So, everything is sort of changing, precipitated by COVID, but at the same time, we're actually really excited about seeing and investing [in] technologies that provide flexibility to employers, employees in terms of how they want to work.”
On remote work:
“If you have people in the office, it enables more collaboration both within teams and cross-functionally. Culture is easier to establish, and camaraderie is a bit more present. On the other hand, employees themselves are looking for flexibility, so in the past everyone made a move from a geographic perspective based off their career… people ended up moving where they wanted to raise their families, as an example, or where they wanted to live their lives.
“[But] it may end up being challenging to recruit the best of best if you don't offer remote, so employers are trying to figure out what they need. In the case of fully remote work, it is potentially easier to recruit on a national and international basis. You end up kind of getting access to the talent and the best in places where you wouldn't even think about, right? It is particularly useful for companies that have more task-based requirements, so if you know exactly what you need an employee to do that requires a little to no hand holding, and you need something just kind of done, remote work may work best. If your employees have a need for collaboration and trying to brainstorm, that may be why you may want to bring folks to the office.”
On ‘office culture’ in a hybrid and remote environment:
“We've been running this experiment on a global basis on a fully remote workforce. People that started obviously implementing things like virtual happy hours, right? People that are in different time zones, there are work hours to help make sure that work doesn’t intrude into people’s lives. You may remember in the past, there was that CNN video where a kid comes walking into this guy who was being interviewed in his room, and that became everyone’s reality for the past three years, right? So, people are much more open about their life on a personal level, I would argue probably more than they have been in the past being in the office.
“It kind of brings the humanity to the virtual world, where that probably was something that people didn't talk about or completely ignored right, and it’s now very common to say, ‘Hey, I gotta go pick up my kid, it’s three o'clock,’ or, ‘There's a dance recital and I'll come back and work later on,’ or something like that. All of that has become much more normal, and that to me helps build culture more so than it potentially has in the in the past. That flexibility, the acknowledgment of people's realities is what I think the workplace was sort of missing in the past.”
On the rise of the metaverse:
“In different ways, we have sort of been living in a weird metaverse world right now, with avatars or virtual reality, more so with our screens. Right, like, in Slack that's our hangout spot; with email, that's the meeting room. There's all these other tools that sort of basically have the different rooms that are like sides of work. We’ve got companies like Figma for design and all these collaboration tools that are sort of collaboration functionality, all these different tools we have today for different purposes.
“I think that is going to continue and we'll see more of innovation on that front. Now I think we need to sort of combine all these ways that we communicate with each other and that could potentially be a version of the metaverse that sort of becomes reality over the next coming years.”