Work is evolving. Technology isn't just changing how we work — it's changing where we work. Many employees today are able to set up flexible work arrangements and remain just as effective as when they’re at their desk next to colleagues — or maybe even more effective. Compare this to just a few years ago, when only people who had little to no in-office interaction had the luxury of telecommuting. Now, with smartphones, instant messaging and cloud file storage, employees are able to collaborate with others and perform job responsibilities just as effectively, regardless of their physical location.
Not only does this play into your company culture, but it can be a huge deciding factor for candidates. In fact, according to the 2015 Glassdoor Employment Confidence Survey, 30 percent of employees would choose flexible working hours over a pay raise. That statistic is astounding, and with the current skills shortage in play and an aging workforce, it is now more important than ever to ensure your company is attractive to candidates.
So how can your organization stay ahead of the trend and maintain or create a flexible work environment while keeping employee engagement high? With the right tools and strategy in place, many organizations can offer flexible work arrangements, which not only help attract talent but increase retention as well.
Once you’ve decided to offer flexible work options, it is important to communicate the options to your potential employees. When you decide to make telecommuting an option for employees, this can open up your talent pool either nationally or globally, depending on your operations. Using your talent communities to share company news and alert candidates of your flex work options are necessary to innovate. Your recruitment departments should also have a strategy in place for recruiting and interviewing candidates virtually to keep cost-per-hire low.
If employees are going to be working in and outside the office, establishing an effective communication portal and managing work expectations are important. Companies can use tools for video conference calls, instant messaging and virtual meetings; technologies for collaboration; and a company intranet for standard communications. By implementing these tools, you will establish an acceptable standard of communication for your employees and keep a pulse on the activity of employees near and far.
We’ve mentioned that employees in a future of work environment are effective and productive, but how do we keep them engaged with the organization? Since these employees will often be telecommuting alone from home, it’s important to ensure they don’t feel isolated. When it’s just you and your computer, it’s easy to feel isolated and disengaged. As an employer, it is your job to make sure this doesn’t happen. Encourage telecommuting employees to work on stretch projects, join various company committees, participate in fun engagement exchanges or get together with other local employees on a regular basis. Set the tone while your future employees are candidates and make sure the candidate experience is engaging and positive. Once an offer is accepted, be sure that the onboarding process is thorough, informative and collaborative.
No matter what strategy you choose to take for your organization, integrate flexible work arrangements into your workplace and your culture! This trend seems to be increasing at a rapid pace throughout every industry and will change entirely what jobs of the future will be like. To attract and retain top talent, you’ll want to keep your organization ahead of the curve.
Katelyn is a recruitment consultant with WilsonHCG focusing in the healthcare industry. Katelyn has been recruiting for about eight years and, although the majority of her career has been in healthcare, she also has experience in the IT/telecom, sales, accounting and pharmaceutical industries. In addition to her recruitment career Katelyn and her sister own a Pure Barre studio in Wilmington, NC, where she teaches on the weekends.