Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson once said “Success in business is all about people, people, people. Whatever industry a company is in, it’s employees are its biggest competitive advantage.”

While most Australian business owners agree with this sentiment, the reality is that many are struggling to find and attract the right talent.

In a recent survey of 2,000 Telstra Business Awards finalists and winners, 68% said recruiting the right talent was the biggest challenge they faced when establishing their business, with 51% saying recruitment continues to be a challenge to the ongoing success of their business.

As part of the Be ‘That’ Business radio show (airing at 9pm Wednesday nights on the Macquarie Radio network), Andrew O’Connor from Relken Engineering revealed how technology is helping him overcome the recruitment challenge and open up new opportunities for his business and his employees.

1. Find and retain the right talent:

In less than three years, Relken Engineering has grown from a team of 3 to 37, but what’s even more impressive is the fact they don’t have a single office – they have 37 offices. Technology and remote working has allowed Andrew (based on the Sunshine Coast) and his business partner Ben Mailler (based in Canberra) to do away with a traditional head office space and hire people with the best skillsets from a national talent pool or use the employee’s proximity to a client’s location in their favour.

2. Work from anywhere:

Relken Engineering’s 37 “offices” include the homes of their employees, client sites and coffee shops, and thanks to cloud based tools including Microsoft Office365, accounting software Receipt Bank and online task management software tool Wrike, their team can collaborate, share and input business data in real time from just about anywhere.

3. Fostering collaboration & engagement:

It’s a well-known fact that a large percentage of communication is non-verbal, and there can sometimes be misconceptions around technology removing the human element of a conversation. In truth, video conferencing solutions like Skype for Business and Blue Jeans are two easy to use platforms which help build a sense of community for employees to collaborate and interact with each other, wherever they are – all they need is a computer, an internet connection and a video camera.

4. Flexible working arrangements:

Flexible working is about more than just working from home, it’s about having a discussion with your employees to determine what tools and support they need to do their job best. By providing employees with the right technology and freedom to work flexibly you’re allowing them to save time on travel, create the right environment for focussing on tasks and balance family life priorities. If you get the mix right, it can be a win-win for all involved with employees feeling engaged, trusted and valued, and therefore less likely to leave the company.

To hear more from our chat with Andrew, check out the podcast from the Be ‘That’ Business Radio Show.

For more on how to be ‘that’ business, head to Smarter Business