Professional journalist, marketer with more than 20 years of experience, director of "Nagorna Agency" (marketing agency)
Help Ukraine, help yourself, global changes for the better.
Since the beginning of the war, the Russian invasion on February 24, millions of people from Ukraine have become refugees. Many had to leave their homes and move to another country, another city. Thousands of people were killed. In some regions, a humanitarian catastrophe. Even in such a difficult situation, people try to work. It helps to survive financially and psychologically. But how can such work be organized in practice? The Ukrainian outstaffing company "Remote Helpers" continues to work effectively with foreign clients remotely even during the war. CEO and one of the founders of the company Mykola Karasik talks about the fighting spirit of Ukrainians, the difficulties and achievements of working in extreme conditions, prospects, and faith in victory.
How many Ukrainians work in the “Remote Helpers”?
— Currently in our company there are around 280 employees. 95% of those people are from Ukraine. After the beginning of the war, many of them moved outside of the country or relocated from their homes and lived in other cities in Ukraine.
Did you have to reduce the team over the last month of the war, or on the contrary, expand?
— We did not reduce the team but expanded it. We accept new people every day. The idea of our company was born in Donetsk city after the beginning of the occupation of the territories of Ukraine in 2014. I was there myself, and I had to move, relocate. I knew many people who left over there and needed a job. The company's primary purpose is to help as many people as we can, and each day we are fighting with those numbers, looking at them again, and hoping for help from other businesses. We constantly communicate with all European countries and try to find those ready to help us.
How do you help each other in the company during the war?
— For now, we have many internal projects that come to help our employees with relocation and documentation. We’ve saved their job, during the period they've needed to move and change a place at the beginning of the war. We have a flexible schedule allowing people to work in the evening and on weekends. To keep to their life and being safe if any alarm or any danger was coming from outside.
What qualities did the “Remote Helpers” employees show during this extreme time?
— Some of our employees had to work from the basement during the air attacks and air alarms. But I feel that most of our employees started working much harder since the beginning of the war because it also supports economics. Some of our employees wanted to donate part of their salary to the army but afterward, most of us understood that the country's economics should be supported. And people should work, continue working in such a non-positive environment. They continue doing their job and bringing some money to their family for their living.
Why hiring Ukrainians is a good idea? What distinguishes specialists from Ukraine among others?
— The nation of hard-working people has extensive knowledge in different fields, and most of them have higher education. Our employees' marketing ability is an unknown area in the Ukrainian countryside, which promotes giving jobs to regular people, not developers. That is what we actually have had since the beginning of the war.
We have to expand the hiring processes to keep up with the number of people searching for jobs. I must say that our team members are starting to work harder, much harder too, so that our company would be able to receive and employ as many people as we can. Big thanks to the companies constantly contacting us, telling us about their open positions, and helping us find jobs for those people.
How would you define the benefits of “Remote Helpers”?
— First of all, most of the companies that hire people from us enjoy the pricing benefits. Because still, we are working in the range that is a little bit lower than European or American. USA workforce , human resources market. When companies start working with employees after a while, something like a half of a year, they get dedicated employees who know every aspect of their company. And know the way the company thinks or what matters to the company, and what the products are. The company still benefits from the same prices. I can admit some stages of the growth of our company. I would say that sometimes there were some years that we jumped for 100 % during the year. One of them was a pandemic one. When most offline businesses closed, for a period of unknown time, we just had to hire. The main purpose of our company was to help people during in this period. In the same period, now, during the war, this growth is not coming from the desire to increase the company or increase the revenue.
What are the minimum and maximum ages of employees in your agency? Are there any frames?
— Our company was founded in Donetsk. I am originally from there, and my partner is too. We had to run away from the beginning of the occupation in 2014. And our relatives and families are still there. We decided to help young people, mainly aged from 18 to 25, or sometimes even older, to provide them a remote job.
Until the pandemic, or at the time of the beginning of the pandemic, we had about like 5 offices in Donetsk. We felt that our company has grown, and we expanded our activity to all of Ukraine since we actually, up until today, considered Donetsk as a Ukrainian region. Before the beginning of the war in 2022, we had people in almost every city in Ukraine. More than half of our company is not working from the place they used to work from they are not at their home. They are working hard to feed their relatives and their families.
Are you involved in personnel and advanced training at “Remote Helpers”?
— We train Ukrainians for free in our company, and we have our exclusive training and advanced training program. Just imagine how many recruiters should work to accept newcomers each week. For example, we hired around 30 people this week and the week before about 25 people. We receive a lot of CVs. Our HR department has around 6 people. And we need to constantly communicate with the companies to find open positions, and it's also a vast department of approximately 30 people. We are hiring those people with our budgets having no investment. We are training them with our own forces. Our administration department has around 40 people.
We have a separate blog for employees. We opened an “Online Academy” for our people. So that before our clients receive the candidate, the employees pass a while inside our company going through all the work processes and all the basics. The oldest client is the one that is working from day one (for 4 years already). We have several clients from different parts of the world, including the US and Europe. They've been working with the same people for years. Sometimes even with dozens of employees. What we want to ask the companies that are currently in search of candidates for different needs.
Saying “We're training people '', I ment tutorials and instructions. The first teaching process I've done by myself for part of our departments. It was due to my experience with PPC, SEO, landing pages, presentations, sales, etc. I assume that any company would like to get employees with more than 10 years of experience in this field. That's why I tried to share my knowledge with our employees.
What implemented projects are you proud of and why?
— The most popular project that we have is actually our company. I believe that helping people to find jobs is a big project by itself. We currently have massive projects; around 100 companies work with us monthly employing our people. There are mobile apps; one is “Wi-Fi map,” with 150 million users. They hire a support manager, QA manager, from us influencers marketing. We have a project for a marketing company on “Amazon” (client from the USA, Texas). We work with the tasks of a social media marketing company from the USA. We had plenty of interesting projects. But the one I am proud of is “Remote Helpers.” I think that is what moves us forward when you know at the end of the day that you actually do something good.
Once, we had an office before the pandemic, and I was precisely there in Donetsk. We succeeded in organizing all of our employees. Then we had about 100 people. I asked people to raise their hands if they were the only ones that earn money in their family. When you see that close to half of them, or even more, raise their hand, you understand that you are doing the right thing.
I assume that situation didn`t change because not all people work online. Many families I meet abroad now are here in Europe; only one of them knows English well or can work online. They have only one computer in their family. So, most of the time, the world helps us by hiring people from us. Not developers but marketing employees who gained experience from the top companies. Who gained the experience from the people with dozens of years in marketing. That was tested and filtered. That is in great need of the job. And there are tasks that include work in design, advertisement, social media, content or even personal assistance, travel assistance or any kind of jobs with the range of Ukrainian salaries. I assumed that almost every business could hire at least a part-time employee from us. And help the country not only on the field of glory, war, and arms. But regular people need to survive and save their way of living.
What qualities do you consider key in selecting candidates: professional or personal?
— By regarding our candidates, our main requirement is the English language. But another thing that we look for in the candidates is their willingness to work. The work actually comes from their complex, and they`re not coming just because of salary; obviously, everyone needs a salary. But we are looking for something extra, and during the period that they work for us, the main thing that we check is that people like what they do. And mainly additional language like German, French or different skills set knowledge of any kind of software is also appreciated. And it's one of the bonuses.
Do you believe in the victory of Ukraine? And in this regard, how do you see the future of “Remote Helpers”?
— I believe that we have already won the war. I was already a refugee from the Chernobyl catastrophe when I was a child. Thanks to “Red cross“, I was in Europe, living with a hosting families from Italy and Spain. When I arrived, nobody knew where Ukraine was. “Where are you from?” they were asking me. I said, “I'm from Ukraine“. And they said, “Oh, Moscow! “. I believe that now I wouldn't hear such an answer. This is a victory too - the victory of our nation. We had different opinions about our culture in the country since part of the country was speaking Russian and another aspect of the country was speaking Ukrainian. There is no such question like that now. We are all Ukrainians like one nation. We`re working hard to keep it like that. To keep ourselves alive.
© 2022 Nataliya Nagorna