Remote workers: Out of sight, not out of mind
Globally, people are people. Those within varied organizations have different wants and needs, but wherever their location, workers are more similar than you’d expect.
That’s the view of China Gorman, advisor and speaker in the human capital management sector, and Bri Vellis, chief marketing officer of UNLEASH, a community that “represents the most diverse brands and organizations from more than 120 countries.”
Culture fit is a hiring necessity. Different values will conflict throughout unless employers and employees alike start their relationships with similar outlooks no matter where they are.
“Hiring for culture fit requires you to know your culture. Many don’t,” Gorman said. “Work needs to be done to identify the desired culture and hire to that. I’m a big proponent for working on identifying desired culture before you do anything else. Nothing works as hoped before this is done.”
Vellis agreed, adding that no match is perfect.
“Not every employee is going to fit into a company’s overall culture — especially a global enterprise,” she said. “It’s important to keep morale by having subcultures within a company and to ensure that everyone has a role.”
Forbes analyst, brand strategist and TalentCulture Chief Executive Officer Meghan M. Biro said, “Culture fit can help increase job satisfaction — employees are more invested in their work when they’re in an environment that fulfills their emotional needs.”
She said high turnover is an important culture factor.
“Employees who are a good culture fit are more likely to stick around long term,” Biro said, adding the big-picture aspect of the puzzle. “If you incorporate your company’s vision and goals into your culture, hiring people who fit that culture are naturally going to help your company reach its goals.”
Several factors make brands hesitant to unleash the power of employees. First, brands want control. They are uncertain what direction employees will take if turned loose. This is why brands and employees need to embrace common vision, goals and overall corporate culture where everyone is confident with the other.
“It’s not so much resistance as it is cluelessness and an unwillingness or inability to learn,” Gorman said. “As a baby boomer, I am loving watching millennial CEOs shake things up in this regard. It’s not about power but outcomes; not about control but culture.”
Vellis talked about the origin of ideas as a sore point.
“The best brands and leaders don’t make decision at the executive level only but get ideas and inspiration from around — and outside — the company,” she said. “A lot of the best leaders are great listeners. You can’t tune out your employees. A leader’s hesitation comes from letting go of power.”
Lack of resources is also a problem along with inability to control the message or the outcome, according to Biro.
“That’s trust,” she said. “A lot of businesses still don’t trust their employees enough to empower and ‘unleash’ them.”
Globalization has changed the modern-day workplace. It drives home the point that as widespread as workers are, they are more alike than different. The worldwide reach of communication and social media also brings far-reaching corporations down to size.
“The need to understand other cultures becomes paramount,” Gorman said. “Developing cross-cultural awareness is Job 1. Global companies deal with 24-hour work cycles — it’s always the workday somewhere.”
That makes the way widespread workers connect crucial.
“Social collaboration tools are a must,” Vellis said. “We use Slack at work instead of email, and it makes for shorter, to-the-point messages.”
While worker dislocation has increased, so too has the number of distant workers.
“More and more people are working remotely now than ever,” Biro said, listing other factors:
- Cultural diversity, due to an increased number of remote workers and the low cost and relative ease of international business travel.
- Increased job specialization driven by technology.
- Job retention and greater education, especially through re-employment programs aimed at helping dislocated workers get training for more skilled jobs.
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