Landing good remote workers in an ailing economy

Last week, Jessica tackled the question of what remote web workers should be paid. But this question also has implications on the other side of the equation, for the freelancer.

How much you feel you should pay remote workers is one thing; what your payment is worth to them — and how its value changes over time — is another.

Recent global financial strife continues to cause some economies to suffer, including that of the U.S. Many digital freelancers earning U.S. dollars are now receiving substantially less for the same work, as their own nations’ currencies gain strength against the U.S. dollar.

The rates that U.S. companies offer to remote workers may no longer compete with firms that are more local to the freelance web worker. For U.S.-based organizations, this may make sourcing good remote workers much more challenging. It may also be a challenge they haven’t had to face before.

Of course, currency fluctuations don’t just affect pay rates. In theory, web workers buying goods from the U.S. should enjoy exchange rate benefits as the U.S. dollar weakens, but this is rarely the case.

Late last year,  for example, I bought a $35 piece of software from the States on a day when the U.S. dollar was worth 1.015 Australian dollars. The software should have cost $35.53 AUD, but my receipt shows that I was actually charged $1.40 AUD more. The effects of a stronger currency aren’t usually reflected across the board.

And of course, your remote freelancer’s local costs don’t fluctuate with your currency’s value. So what could be a great rate for them this month might be a very lackluster rate in a month or two. You may need to consider offering other perks or advantages to procure the remote talent you really want, rather than accepting that which you can get cheaply.

Freedom and fun stuff

If your remote freelancer has some ideas they’d like to trial on your project, or extra suggestions that they feel are worthwhile, can you give them the freedom to implement those ideas?

The extra work may take extra time, but if you can see real value for your project, the extension of scope could be beneficial to the remote worker as well as to your business. It could also ensure you get a top-notch job on the key parts of the project, rather than settling for second-best.

Software and systems

Can you reduce the cost to the freelancer of taking on your project by giving them a license to use necessary software, or providing access to specific systems?

Finding ways to make their lives easier — and more cost-effective — could help you to win the remote worker.

Team involvement

Some remote workers really value the opportunity to work with a team — particularly if they’re solo operators, or work from home. Showing them how you’ll involve them in the project team, making them feel welcome, and communicating their value to their new colleagues are a few ways to help cement good relationships with valuable remote workers.

The promise of close working relationships with like-minded pros is likely to appeal to more than a few web workers — especially those who are interested in collaborative, on-the-job learning, and in building networks.

Credits or kudos

Kudos matters. Can you give credit to the freelancer you’re pursuing, perhaps through social media, LinkedIn (s lnkd) references, linking to their site through your organization’s blog, or some other method?

Most freelancers will appreciate being publicly named for their contributions — especially if that recognition can help them win further work, or gain them exposure among peers who matter to them.

These ideas may not win you the remote web worker you want, but they might help sweeten a deal embattled by global financial tumult. Are you finding it harder to land good remote talent in places where your currency has weakened?

Image courtesy stock.xchng user OmirOnia.