Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on TalentCulture and has been republished with permission.
What does it take for people to thrive at work? What can companies do to ensure their employees feel energized and empowered to contribute at work and maximize their productivity?
There’s no single silver bullet, but companies that score high in employee satisfaction and don’t have team members jumping ship tend to have many characteristics in common. These companies focus on inclusion and help share insight into the value-add various departments bring to the table. They are committed to professional development and encourage staff to learn new skills that can help advance their careers. They organize mentorship programs for their senior and junior staffers, and they celebrate diversity.
These initiatives, while important, will likely get an overhaul in coming years as telecommuting becomes more normative. In fact, by 2022, 60 percent of today’s employees are expected to work remotely.
We know cultivating a thriving workforce is key to collaboration, success, and your bottom line. The following strategies, proven for building winning teams, can help you maximize production and engagement wherever your employees are based.
Embracing a Remote Workforce
While news of IBM calling back their remote workforce to the office made headlines, working remotely is gaining popularity. Research indicates work-from-home jobs are a viable career path with increasingly more managerial and C-level positions turning into location-independent roles.
It behooves companies to give more thought to the tools and strategies they can use to help in-house and remote workers collaborate to achieve shared goals. This can include dashboards everyone on a team or in a company can view in real-time, as well as weekly check-in calls for teams, no matter their location. Incorporating expectations around collaboration in performance reviews will also send a message that working well together as a team is critical to getting ahead at your company.
Setting Plans for People Development
As routine tasks continue to be automated, it's important to encourage your workers to identify and develop tomorrow's in-demand skill sets. These can include design thinking, predictive analytics, and collaboration skills, such as inclusive and digital leadership capabilities. Increase retention, while also adding value to your bottom line, by providing in-house training to help employees develop the skills they will need to drive your company forward in the future. "Even such things as collaborative projects and blogs can help employees learn and gain new skills," says Sam Liu, a consultant with Mercer.
Motivating Employees Through Opportunity, Meaning, and Benefits
Help employees—particularly those working remotely—to fully understand how the company operates and the ins and outs of their roles. Explaining in detail to a new sales manager how the sales team generates leads, makes calls, and closes sales can go a long way and is worth the time investment. This "can mean the difference between a powerful and motivated sales team adding to the bottom line; or a floundering, confused sales department working ineffectively, wasting precious time, and losing prime opportunities for new business," explains business strategist Howard Lewinter on his blog "Talk Business with Howard".
Role of Recruiting in Cultivating Office Culture
When hiring, be as transparent about your company values and corporate culture as possible—starting with job listings, during interviews, and for the onboarding process. In fact, you may even conduct the entire interview process without meeting the candidate face to face if they'll be working remotely. That process has worked for seven of his recent hires, says Sten Tamkivi, the co-founder and CEO of Teleport, a company that helps workers choose which city in which to live and work.
Tamkivi stresses the importance of incorporating tasks into the interview process that potential hires can do remotely. "We ask people to set deadlines and then deliver what they promised by then—often this reliability and transparency is even more important than the contents of the trial work delivered in a short time," he says.
Many of the same tactics that have been working for decades to increase employee engagement—such as professional development opportunities, being transparent about the office culture, and creating mentorship programs—will continue to be important. However, as the remote workforce gains more ground, these initiatives will need to shift as companies will use technology to ensure that employees exchange ideas freely and bridge the physical distance that may divide them. Succeeding in these efforts will boost morale—and your company’s bottom line.