Jo Palmer Founder and Managing Director Pointer Remote Roles and Co-Founder Agri Alliance is disrupting traditional recruitment by offering a virtual workforce of experienced professionals who live remotely. Headquartered near Wagga Wagga, Pointer is Jo’s third business. Her first business, The Learning Tree was a comprehensive learning centre for students of all ages and drew on her training and experience in Education. It was in response to the staffing needs of her Sponsorship and Event Marketing second business Agri Alliance, that Pointer Remote Roles was conceived.
It’s a future work model that challenges traditional notions of office based work, and cultures of ‘presenteeism’ in favour of flexible workers who aren’t location bound. For organisations of any size who want exposure to more of the talent pool, it’s an opportunity to find highly qualified and experienced professionals who live in regional, rural and remote areas of Australia. The roles can be permanent, part-time, contract or freelance. It’s a nifty way of solving a talent shortage, which can be crippling for any size of business.
The business has been awarded as Winner – Soar Collective’s 2017 Soar Awards – Regional Contribution Award, Finalist – Regional Australia Institute’s 2017 Lightbulb Moment Competition, Finalist – Wagga Wagga Business Chamber Awards – Startup Superstar and Finalist – Regional Australia Institute’s 2017 Regional Online Heroes Competition.
Tell us what lead you to start Pointer Remote Roles.
The idea for Pointer came about when discussing how my business partner and I would staff Agri Alliance (our event management company) as it grew, with a friend at a BBQ. We had been talking about the fact that we would eventually need to employ people within the company with a far better knowledge and understanding of things than ourselves.
I began to look at my own network of professional friends who were living in regional areas, many talented women who had married farmers and who weren’t utilising their qualifications, skills and experience to their full potential. I realised that it was not only Agri Alliance that would benefit from these skills and experience in our business, but that others would to. What was holding these professionals back from this sort of remote employment was the lack opportunity for them to be in the right place at the right time, like I was for my first remote role and so Pointer was born.
How can remote workforces help businesses, and what do they need to know about employing remote workers?
For so long, businesses have been restricted to their physical location (or expensive relocation fees) when recruiting and employing new team members. The incredible improvements in technology has meant that the physical location of employees in no longer an issue for many roles across a vast number of industries. Access to skilled professionals that work remotely has meant that many small to medium sized businesses now have access to talent that can help their business to grow. This often results in the need to employ more people in their bricks and mortar locations as well!
There are plenty of things to consider when employing remote team members. We believe the most important thing is communication. If the communication lines are open and functioning well, employees know what needs to be done, to what standard and they will deliver above and beyond expectations as work is more flexible around life.
You spent time living and studying in the US and UK, and also travelling extensively through Europe and South East Asia. How did these experiences influence your career?
There is no denying my travel experiences have made me well aware of the amazing privileged life I lead in Australia! My travel has really made me feel that I have so much choice in what I want to do and the career I want to lead, so I am very spoilt. The travel however has definitely slowed the career path, I kept getting distracted by ski resorts and safaris!
You are also Co-Founder of rural and regional event management business Agri Alliance. How do you balance managing two growing businesses?
What is balance? I spend a lot of time bumbling my way through running two businesses! Having a Co-Founder of Agri Alliance is a definite help. Having someone to bounce ideas off and to share the load with is very different to running a business on your lonesome. It’s fun, sometimes mental, but fun! I don’t think I’m very good at doing things in a nice simple way!
What has been your greatest challenge?
My greatest business challenge would definitely be the societal mindset change I’m up against with Pointer. Many business owners, HR managers and middle management are still stuck on the ‘how do I know if they are working if I can’t see them’ line of staffing a team. I know things are changing, but it is definitely a challenge. I suppose I’m finding that my business is becoming somewhat of an education platform as well as a job matching one.
What are you most proud of?
Hearing my four year old tell people that when she grows up, she is going to be the boss like mum.
What’s one piece of advice for future female leaders?
Bite off more than you can chew. Then chew like mad.
You are the female economy. Whether you are a female consumer, business owner or a woman in the workforce, you can create gender equality by choosing female led brands.