By Deb Flomberg
The concept of a work-from-home employee is a fairly new one. Less than a decade ago, remote employees were practically unheard of, but as of 2015, telecommuters made up as much as 37 percent of the American workforce. It’s just one of the many ways today’s workforce is rapidly changing. As any smart business owner knows, it’s crucial to keep with the changing times. Here are a few more ways in which today’s workforce is evolving, and what business owners can do to grow with it.
Hire Subject Matter Experts
The Subject Matter Expert is not a new concept, however the focus on SMEs in the workforce is certainly changing. In the past, it was not uncommon to find a SME in a few areas of any large business. Today, however, you’ll find the experts in nearly every branch of an organization, as consumers would rather speak to an expert than to a sales person. There was a time in which businesses would simply throw as many salespeople at the phones as possible, but that quantity over quality method hasn’t worked well for long, and today’s smarter consumer can see through that tactic in a second. Consider, instead, hiring true experts for your workforce, so you can provide truly effective support for your customer base.
Go Remote To Get The Best
With today’s new technologies, it’s easier than ever before to hire a remote workforce. If you’ve been sold on finding those subject matter experts, then you may need to branch out of your usual hiring pool, which is where remote employees can truly come in handy. With meetings over Skype and other video conference platforms becoming incredibly easy and truly effective, there’s no reason to worry about location for many new jobs. This allows the most talented people for the job to be the ones actually considered, instead of the potential candidates who simply live in close proximity to your place of business.
Focus On Strength-Based-Training
If you’re ready to keep up with the changing times, then you’ll also want to take a look at your training programs. It used to be that managers would work to train all employees to the same level and the same skill sets. Today, however, smart managers are realizing that it’s far more effective to train to a specific employee’s strengths instead. “Give them the chance to use their strengths at work every day. Employees who work in their strengths zone daily are 6x as engaged as their peers. So as a leader, you should invest in their natural talents. When you do, the business gets a productivity boost and the employee feels more energized and in their flow,” offers Lisa Cummings, CEO of LeadThroughStrengths.com in a recent interview with Forbes. It’s a simple idea, but one that is still relatively new in the business world. Find what your employees are best at and you’ll find their productivity and success rates rising as well.
Foster Employee Collaboration In New Ways
The availability of new collaboration tools has drastically changed today’s workforce. Platforms like Skype and GoToMeeting are replacing traditional conference calls with video conferencing. Google Hangouts and similar programs allow users to share their screens with co-workers, allowing employers to more easily train remote employees, and programs like Slack are making internal emails a thing of the past. In fact, Slack, which just started in 2013, reached more than four million daily users by October of 2016. Of course, you’re not going to see email abandoned completely, but you will see organizations finding new and innovative ways to utilize new tools to truly connect their employees to one another and foster collaboration.