When The War For Talent is Global Who Is Returning To A Local Office?


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How many Japanese people, or people of Japanese descent, would you guess are living in São Paulo in Brazil? If you are not an expert in nineteenth century migration patterns then you might think this is an odd question – why would there be any Japanese in Brazil?

The reality is that in just São Paulo alone there are over 1.6 million Japanese-Brazilians making it the largest concentration of Japanese people outside of Japan. Visit the Liberdade neighborhood on a quiet Sunday and it almost feels like you are visiting Tokyo – there is such a concentration of Japanese culture and people all in one part of this Brazilian city.

But why am I talking about the Japanese community in São Paulo?

Think for a moment about how contact centers are always looking for language skills all over the world. If you need Japanese speakers to operate on an American timezone then Brazil is an option – even if you never realized that it might be.

In regions like Europe and Asia, where you have many different countries using different languages close together, it’s common to see contact centers called multilingual hubs (MLHs). They attract native speakers from all over the region to come and live near the contact center by making it an attractive lifestyle choice. For example, a contact center near the beach in Greece may attract people from all over Europe who want to enjoy life in Greece in the sun.

But the pandemic has changed this business model forever. Moving across borders became really difficult. It makes more sense to build a virtual contact center in the cloud that people from across the region can access from their home. If you need some German, French, and Spanish customer service expertise then just hire your people from those countries and get them onto your virtual platform.

The US is no different. Experts are predicting that almost half of the entire office-based workforce will have much greater flexibility over hours and working location after the pandemic. Many people actively want to be working more flexible hours from home.

It’s becoming an expectation. Only the Wall Street banks suggested that they would not be embracing flexible working. Goldman Sachs CEO, David Solomon, said that working from home was not part of the new normal in his company, yet Bloomberg recently ran analysis suggesting that Mr Solomon and his company are offering an employee experience far from what most professionals now expect.

The truth is that the war for talent is now truly global. If you are building an e-commerce brand in the Americas then Brazilian talent could help your expansion into Asia. There is talent available globally if you are offering flexible hours and the ability for people to stay where they live – why move when you can work globally from home?

41 countries are now offering digital nomad visas. This allows professional office-based workers the right to move to a new country so they can work remotely. Typically the opportunity is for people working at desks in cold, windswept, countries, to come and work in the sun. If you earn a minimum $1,500 a month then Brazil will give you a visa. Live and work by the beach in Rio. Barbados, Bermuda, and Antigua all offer a similar chance to move to the Caribbean.

The ability to access talented resource all over the world is becoming normalized. People don’t walk down the road to the local print shop when they need a graphic designer today – talent is online and is global. The same is happening inside the customer service industry.

Whether it’s Japanese speakers in Brazil or English-speaking digital nomads living in the Caribbean, there is an increasing opportunity to start thinking of CX talent as a global resource. If you aren’t looking globally then are you going to find the best people to help service your brand?

Terry Rybolt
Leveraging the value of business and people to create opportunities for growth on global platforms is my passion. My specialty is creating and executing the forward-thinking strategies that drive sustained and profitable revenue growth in fast evolving markets. Leveraging expertise in multimillion-dollar P&Ls, large geographically diverse workforces, complex sales processes and strategic resource allocation, I build the cultures of collaboration, energy and alignment that create highly competitive market leaders.


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