Attracting and retaining talent has long been a problem for SMEs, with labour shortfalls having a significant impact on delivery, innovation and growth. But with a different approach to staffing, smaller businesses may be able to reap the rewards of changing global talent trends.The pandemic saw a sharp increase in the number of individuals – either company employees or contractors – taking advantage of new remote working policies to move to a completely new location, either permanently or on a temporary basis. These ‘digital nomads’ are workers who are no longer tied by where their employer is geographically located, and who rely on digital tools to work and communicate with colleagues or customers.For workers, the benefits of digital nomadism can be significant: they can move to countries or regions where the cost of living is lower, or where they can enjoy lifestyle improvements such as better weather or a more relaxed pace of life.At the same time, there has been a major pandemic-driven rise in the number of freelance workers and contractors as people all over the world seek a better work-life balance. There are thought to be more than 2 million freelance workers in the UK alone at present, a number which is expected to increase over the coming years.\t\t \t\t\tSMEs can benefit\t\t \t\tFor some SMEs, there are benefits to be had by taking advantage of these global talent trends. Businesses may be able to rethink their approach to sourcing talent – by utilising specialist contractors and remote workers - to plug any current staffing shortfalls in their local region. The introduction of systems that make it possible to operate anywhere in the world enables firms to access talent in different regions and markets where the skills they need may be available, potentially at a lower cost.In modern working operations, there are many roles that may lend themselves to being fulfilled by a remote worker or contractor. Depending on the sector you operate in, there will be specific positions that may be suitable to talent who doesn’t need to be tied to an office. Some of the central functions that naturally lend themselves to remote or even overseas workers might include design and web development, social media management and certain admin support and finance roles.\t\t \t\t\tUnderstanding challenges\t\t \t\tWhile the benefits are clear, there are of course a number of challenges associated withhiring staff or contractors who are based in different regions. These include, but are not limited to, understanding any different local employment laws and tax implications. Owners should seek professional advice before hiring overseas workers.Despite these considerations, there may be significant opportunities for SMEs who take an untraditional approach to finding the right talent. With Capify’s latest SME Confidence Survey finding that 40% of SMEs expect to invest in staffing in 2023, owners who are lookingfor innovative ways to solve their talent problems may want to consider staffing solutions in remote locations or on a freelance basis.At Capify we offer a range of business loans to help support small businesses throughout their growth journey. Check to see if you’re eligible for one of our loans with our online eligibility checker. Or, if you’d prefer to talk to a member of our team, we’d be happy to guide you through the process. Give us a call today on 0800 151 0980.