“Historically, companies built their engineering teams on-site. Then they decided to build an engineering location in, say, Poland or Argentina,” says Johnson. “The shift happening now is companies are saying, ‘I’m going to build a great remote team, regardless of where people are.’ Once you embrace remote work, embracing a global workforce becomes a much simpler step.”
He now views hard times as a chance to strengthen his company by growing more efficient and effective. “As a CEO, you have to consistently be iterating your company,” he says. “You’re going to have to reimagine the systems and processes that got you to where you are in the first place.”
Although Andela closed a funding round in September 2021, the company, like many other startups, is revisiting costs and dialing back on discretionary spend, for example, and taking more time to make hiring decisions. But Andela is continuing to invest in increased automation and product engineering. Johnson says others are, too, which keeps demand for global engineering talent strong. The company is also helping clients adapt to globally distributed workforces by helping them handle documentation and compliance, as well as employee integration and payroll issues.
One thing that hasn’t changed, Johnson says, is Andela’s focus on improving current offerings and addressing customer needs. “It’s becoming increasingly clear that you need to maintain customer relationships,” Johnson says.
He also remains confident that the shift to remote work, and the insatiable global demand for tech talent, means many more companies are ready to tap Andela’s marketplace. The company now sources talent from 113 countries, up from seven a few years ago, creating new options for potential customers. “If you can grow your potential talent pool by 20 times, all of a sudden you can think differently about who the ideal hire is,” he says.
As Johnson awaits signs that the downcycle is nearing its end, like shortened timelines to close investments and business deals, he remains upbeat about Andela’s long-term prospects. In 10 years, he predicts, a quarter of tech hires will come from global talent networks like the one Andela has built. “This is a huge opportunity for companies looking to do more with less, which I think is going to be a pretty material theme for the next couple of years,” he says.