How is your company adapting to change in business? As societal demographics evolve, business owners need to alter their approach in order to remain relevant and competitive. Here are the top three areas you should focus on:
1. Leveraging Technology to Manage Remote Workers
Increasingly, businesses have embraced the idea of allowing employees to work remotely. With advances in communication and collaborative technology, there's no longer a driving need for workers to remain on-site. What are the best tools to manage remote staff and maximize productivity?
Many free or inexpensive resources are available to video chat with off-site employees, such as Skype and Google hangouts. Web conferencing software also leverages video as part of a meeting experience that brings managers and remote team members together.
- Collaboration Platforms
Supervisors naturally want to check on the status of projects that are being completed off-site. Google Docs and Dropbox, among others, provide collaboration tools and project management solutions to keep work organized and help facilitate effective communication among team members.
Cloud-based technologies facilitate the safe, reliable storage of information, and allow you to share content across multiple devices. VPNs are an established tool for secure access to network servers, but more comprehensive enterprise application security solutions provide multiple layers of security.
2. Choosing Between Full-Time Employees and Contractors
How do you decide whether to hire full-time employees or bring in contractors? It's important to keep in mind that hiring a full-time employee involves expenses such as a standardized salary, health insurance, payroll taxes, workers' compensation and vacation time.
There are also significant costs affiliated with recruiting and training new employees. But when you hire the right individuals, you can create a team of skilled, trusted people who "might go above and beyond for you, taking on extra responsibilities and working extra hard to make sure everything they produce is of the highest quality," according to Entrepreneur.
With outsourcing, you can bring in employees with the ability to address specific challenges immediately. By and large, hiring a contractor makes sense for short-term projects. However, a full-time employee is a better choice for ongoing needs.
3. Managing Multi-Generational Employee Differences
"For the first time in history, five generations will soon be working side by side," reports the Harvard Business Review. What type of practices are the most effective when it comes to managing multi-generational differences?
- Conduct surveys that focus on what employees want in terms of preferred communication styles and opportunities for growth.
- Put different generations together "based on a goal, or around a project or an outcome and set clear expectations of what needs to get done and when, but let each figure out how to navigate their differences and strengths," suggests CIO.
- Leverage opportunities for cross-generational mentoring. Pair a younger employee who has a keen knowledge of technology and social media with an older, more seasoned employee who's willing to share his or her knowledge and experience on organizational best practices.
Adapting to change in business is not the only one of your key responsibilities as a business owner, but can also impact the overall strength and success of your business.