Keeping up with the changing ways of work.

If you look around any metropolitan area, you will see signs of commerce everywhere. These hubs supported our industrial revolution and brought us into the new millennium. Skyscrapers stand as icons for where work gets done, or should I say, the way work used to get done.  Our nation has migrated from an industrial economy to a knowledge economy – transforming the where, when, and how of work.

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For the past 100 years, people have gone to work because that was the only place a person could get their job done.  That has all changed with the introduction of broadband and advancement in technology. Companies in both the public and private sectors have increasingly moved toward mobile work as a business strategy. Just ten years ago mobility and flexibility were seen as an employee benefit. Today, businesses around the world see it as a necessity.

So how do you bring your organization along?

The first question every organization needs to answer is WHY? Here are some ideas that may help you answer that question:

  1. Recruitment and Retention. When you work with people to customize how they achieve goals, you’re treating them with respect and trust. Which will be returned. And when talented employees decide to work from anywhere, they are making a serious commitment to the organization. Instead of working for you, they are working with you. This builds enormous buy-in and improves workplace culture.
  2. A Broader Talent Pool. If talent doesn’t need to be onsite, your talent pool becomes global, not local or even regional. You can build productive relationships with talent across the country or across the globe. With social networks, intranets, project-specific groups, and collaboration tools, distance becomes irrelevant.
  3. Engagement. Studies show that organizations that adapt to changing work styles have less absenteeism and turnover, and higher levels of employee engagement and productivity. It comes down to control. By increasing autonomy, employees will feel trusted and valued, and their investment in the work, and in the organization, grows.
  4. SMART Workplace. Facilitated talent mobility is one of the most important new disciplines in HR.  All of this interconnectedness and transparency, coupled with a shift in demographics, means that businesses must think about talent very differently.  Companies that embrace the SMART Workplace, and all it entails, create strong leadership, capability, and employee engagement.

The world isn’t just changing; it has changed. No one can wait for others to go first anymore. We live and work differently compared to ten years ago. We (and our organizations) are evolving with the world. Change is good; acceptance is better! As organizations prepare to leverage new ways of working, it is imperative to focus on culture, leadership development, communication and technology as an integrated approach. Developing policies and integrating them into training and other learning forums for managers and employees will ensure a place at the SMART Workplace table.

~Kathy Kacher

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