“The name of the game is flexibility,” said Carl Kutsmode, Senior Vice President at Talentrise, who sat down with Ruth Macleod, New Zealand Trade Commissioner to San Francisco, to tackle the nature of remote work since the coronavirus pandemic. Kutsmode discusses how the pandemic has changed the workforce, likely for good. Additionally, his unique perspective provides tips to help employers adapt to new business and networking practices in a post-pandemic world.
Pandemic’s push for career reevaluations
The confinement of the pandemic enabled people to pause, reconnect with their families, and establish a work-life balance that had not existed to such an extent before 2020. As the world slowly moves away from the pandemic’s restrictions, employees are motivated by new, different factors than they once were and, as such, have different expectations of their employer.
As the pandemic subsides, the ability to work remotely or hybrid has been a huge factor in whether employees have chosen to stay with their current organization or look for employment opportunities elsewhere. Likewise, employees have begun to reevaluate their careers. Many are looking for growth opportunities within their current set of skills, while others want to expand their skillset. Finally, employees are embracing workplace diversity. Today, diversity does not just refer to ethnicity but also includes company culture—hiring outside of your organization or outside of the company’s comfort zone. Employees understand that diversity is key to business success.
How can companies adapt to these changing employee expectations?
Kutsmode noted that companies have made an increased effort to intently listen to employee sentiment.
- To create an employee-centric environment, surveys, focus groups, feedback committees, and new technology investments are being organized to eliminate employee turnover.
- To win the workforce, organizations have embraced offering flexible benefits. One system, appropriately dubbed “cafeteria benefits” is gaining popularity because of the personalization granted to everyone’s use of their benefits.
- A challenge for some businesses has been the ability to trust that remote or hybrid employees contribute just as efficiently from home as they would in the office. Many of today’s business leaders have only experienced a face-to-face labor force. Educating this generation on this matter will play a key role in the success of businesses moving forward. In the meantime, many companies have adopted the use of tracking systems to manage employee performances and measure the progress of the remote and hybrid workforce.
How has remote work changed networking and talent sourcing operations?
- Companies have altered the way they look at locations. Instead of basing themselves where they believe their target audience market is, they have based themselves where the potential talent is concentrated.
- Employers have begun to understand that the commute time in metro markets also takes away from productivity, another advocate for allowing remote flexibility.
- Employers now also habit awarding their employees for their retention. Bonuses or compensation readjustments are offered to long-term employees. This incentivizes employees to remain with their current employer instead of exploring other, potentially more flexible options.
- Companies have begun to realize the worth of a strong employee value proposition (EVP). This includes messaging and branding that highlights what makes an organization and opportunities within that organization so unique. A clearly communicated and consistent message becomes a “talent magnet” for businesses by “painting a picture of an employee’s future,” says Kutsmode. EVPs can be promoted on social media; content such as client testimonials and videos are the most powerful.
Kurtmode’s tips for achieving remote business success
- Be judicious with your colleague’s time
Kutsmode noted that many leaders are used to organizing in-person meetings, both impromptu and planned. The pandemic’s shift to virtual meetings or direct messaging as an alternative has altered many individuals’ opinions about the necessity to hold in-person meetings. Oftentimes, virtual meetings are just as productive and immensely more convenient.
- Ask the important questions pertaining to remote work and location
The future of remote work is here. The pandemic’s remote workforce allowed many individuals to move or relocate and still hold their job. To remain competitive in the industry, employers must ask where their employees are working from and what their career desires are moving forward. Businesses must understand that the pandemic has completely reshaped employees’ perspectives on how and where they can be productive.