The workplace today is a vibrant and exciting space, comprising multiple generations, cultures, and work approaches under one roof. Add to that the complexities of digitally native workers and rapidly transforming systems, and you have a space that’s both challenging and full of new opportunities.
We reached out to Isaac Oates, CEO of HR technology disruptor Justworks, to understand how technology can amplify people possibilities in the modern office. Interestingly, HR transformation isn’t a magic bullet – it goes hand-in-hand with tried-and-tested practices to create positive man-machine synergies. “Every new generation that enters the workforce requires companies to adapt in some way. Gen Z is just entering the workforce, for example, but when it comes to skills and work, some things remain pretty constant,” said Isaac.
Here are his four recommendations on how to create a productivity-focused workplace and engage your entire workforce.
1. Ask Yourself if an Offsite Employee Actually Fits the Role at Hand
While the gig economy is nearing maturity and organizations across the globe are increasingly open to offsite workers, they aren’t always the best fit for every role. If collaborative tasks, customer-facing responsibilities, and a rapid growth curve, is essential to your everyday workflow, consider looking at onsite talent.
Also, remember that an offsite employee may be either on your direct payroll or an independent consultant. High-value projects are better suited to contractual or gig workers, while at more junior ranks – involving a steeper growth curve – fulltime employees are advisable.
“A successful hybrid talent strategy shouldn’t make concessions when it comes to skills or the scope of remote roles. Every company’s culture and remote work policies will be different, but there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Some jobs (e.g., software development) are more conducive to flexibility, whereas others (e.g., sales and operations) need more structure or have to be covered at different times,” says Isaac.
2. Understand where Experience Matters the Most
When it comes to remote roles, the experience can make all the difference. A candidate who has previously worked around processes such as these will know exactly how to leverage collaboration tools, online business applications, and digital HR to boost remote workforce productivity.
As Issac puts it: “A candidate with remote experience has a better understanding of what it takes to work and communicate effectively while away from a physical workplace. They’ll require less of an adjustment than a new remote worker.”
We recommend embedding these specifications into the job posts when initially sharing with your candidate pool. A background assessment software could then verify all these details, helping select the right talent for maximized remote workforce productivity.
3. Find Innovative Ways to Gauge Resourcefulness
According to Issac, being resourceful is an essential trait of any successful gig worker. Every day, new workplace scenarios will arise and your employee will have to adapt and adjust without any face-to-face connect with the workplace or their team. This requires a keen understanding of the available channels and getting the job done in line with your remote workforce productivity targets.
“Since a candidate won’t be part of your immediate team environment, their creative energy and ability to adapt in different work situations is essential,” Isaac believes. “Someone who has a variety of different work experiences or an impressive track record of successful side projects is usually more equipped to succeed without being told how to do so on a daily basis.”
4. Have a Rigorous Process and Stick to it
There are several recruitment and onboarding tools out there to help define your hiring strategy and enforce the various checks and balances. It’s important when hiring offsite workers to not deviate from these guidelines.
While maintaining a certain level of flexibility and openness, always ensure that your remote workers undergo the same recruitment procedures as your regular employees. “Always put in the extra time to find the right person,” warns Isaac, noting how vital it is to employ best-fit talent – regardless of age, cultural nuances, and of course, location. Once the hire is in place, leverage specialized WFM tools like Ezitracker to monitor and manage employee development, across locations, ensuring high remote workforce productivity levels.
In Closing – Reimagine the Office for the New Workforce
To engage their multi-cultural, multi-generational and multi-locational employee base, large companies are placing a lot of emphasis on wellness, remote work policies, and flexible benefits. While this focus on work-life balance is extremely important, the office itself should be conducive to collaboration and productivity.
“Open office plans are extremely common these days, but they often hurt employee productivity instead of helping it. Getting “in the zone” is important. If your workplace is one where the only way for employees to do this is by putting noise-canceling headphones on and listening to music — you’re going to undermine creativity. Especially the critical kind of creativity that happens 1 on 1 or in smaller groups. There’s no one perfect way to lay out an office but being aware of the varied needs of a productive team is a good place to start,” Isaac opined, as we closed this enlightening and revealing discussion.