Career Advice

Hiring the Right People for the Digital Workplace

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The people you hire are what make your business successful. As a CEO or business owner, you’re normally not able to deal with every client or customer, so when it comes to hiring you need to get it right. The people you hire should have values that gel with your own and a work ethic that helps drive the business forward. The skills new hires bring should complement those of other employees and ultimately grow your business. 

Why Hiring Is So Important 

As someone who has managed and owned businesses, I understand how hiring the wrong person can do enormous damage. Your employees represent your business when they’re on the clock, so you want them to take care of your customers or clients, in the same way, you as a business owner would. 

When it comes to hiring, an employee who doesn’t work out can cost your company a significant amount of money. In the UK, 85% of human resources decision-makers admitted their companies had made a poor hiring decision, according to a survey by the Recruitment and Employment Federation. They found that a worker with a £42,000 salary could cost a company over £132,000.  

If you hire an employee who is underqualified, you’ll have to pay for additional training. If that doesn’t work out, then you have to pay to get rid of the employee and start all over again. This whole process costs money. Additionally, it can leave your other employees disheartened, which can negatively affect productivity, a factor beyond the financial costs. 

Finding the Right Talent 

Being comfortable in a digital workplace is imperative in most workplaces these days. You need someone who has experience working with technology, and someone who can adapt to changes in technology. Fortunately, there are not too many Luddites left in the workplace, as the Boomer Generation – who spent much of their working lives in the workplace before it was digitized – retires in droves. Generation X and Millennials make up most of the workforce these days, and both generations tend to be familiar with modern hybrid workplace technology

The people you hire are what makes your business successful. As a CEO or business owner, you’re normally not able to deal with every client or customer, so when it comes to hiring you need to get it right.Click To Tweet

Many in Generation X are already well along in their careers, so most are not actively seeking employment. Often, recruiters approach those Gen Xers who are already employed and successful in their current position to fill mid-level management positions and higher. Many are moving into the leadership positions being vacated by Boomers. 

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Gen X grew up and saw a great deal of technological change occur in the workplace, so they are more than capable of adapting to new technology. Many also worked in businesses prior to digitization, or when new systems failed, so also have experience working without technology. However, many in this generation have considerable personal responsibilities, with many taking care of both children and aging parents. 

Millennials – those born between 1981-1996 – are now the largest part of the labor force, estimated as about half of all workers. They are most familiar with new technology and can adapt to systems in the workplace with ease. Business leaders need to transform their companies to attract and retain Millennial talent, along with the upcoming Generation Z, who have not known a time without the Internet or technology in the workplace. 

Companies should focus on the following techniques

  • Citizen IT: Development is no longer confined to those who can code, so allowing employees to create their own business applications – offered by Office 365, PowerApps, and other platforms – can help simplify business processes. 
  • Customer service: Companies should look into and integrate alternate/virtual reality technology for those workers who deal directly with the public, which will allow them to add value to what’s offered to customers or clients. 
  • Device management: As more employees use smartphones and tablets for work, these devices should be managed similarly to company laptops and desktops to improve efficiency. 
  • Digitize: Look into emerging technologies that can make your workplace distinct, using AI, machine learning, virtual assistants, and the like to help streamline processes and anticipate problems before they occur. 

Sophie Pallott – a digital marketing manager – says this about hiring: 

“I’ve noticed throughout my career that employees who can identify with their company and are a good culture fit tend to experience heightened job satisfaction and bring more to the business. You can have the most qualified candidate out there, but if they don’t feel connected to the needs and values of your company then work and morale may suffer.”  

While she goes on to say that employers shouldn’t just hire clones, it is important to find people who fit naturally into a company’s culture. 

Effective On-Boarding

When you find the right people for key positions, effective onboarding is vital to ensure that new employees integrate easily into the company. Part of this process includes making sure that the people you hire are who they say they are, and this involves a great deal of paperwork. But if you haven’t already, it’s an area that can be easily digitized, something that will be welcomed by new hires. 

The traditional process – which in the US includes filling out I-9, W-2, and other forms – involves a great deal of paperwork, much of which can now be avoided. Filling out forms online can streamline the process considerably, saving time that can be better utilized for real training. Besides this, much of the data new employees provide is sensitive, so keeping this data safe should be a priority. 

Fortunately, a variety of systems can streamline the process and keep employee data safe. The US ESIGN Act of 2000 made most electronic signatures legal, including for employee contracts and most government forms. Companies such as Wolters Kluwer, who started in the mid-1990s and a veteran in the electronic signature industry, pushed for the legal recognition of electronic signatures. The company provides eSign and eVaulting cloud services that allow new employees to sign official documents and protect employees and other data. 

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Promoting a Growth Mindset

Perhaps one of the most important traits to encourage among new employees is their mindset. Carol Dweck – a Stanford University psychologist – developed a theory on the mindsets of workers. One mindset believes that basic qualities such as talent and intelligence are “fixed” and that what workers bring to the table is limited to their basic qualities. 

A “growth” mindset, however, focuses on constant improvement rather than one where boundaries are set at birth. It rewards hard work, dedication, and personal development. New employees who embrace this growth mindset during onboarding will become more motivated, resilient, and productive. And this is, in the end, what you want from all your employees.

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