The workplace is rapidly changing, with data-based workers taking the place of knowledge-based workers. While many companies continue to rely on employees who work traditional 9-5, Monday through Friday weeks, but that’s changing too, with many businesses encouraging greater flexibility in terms of work times and locations. So long as there’s access to essential data, and so long as employees are able to produce the desired results, everybody’s happy. How to manage the digital workforce? It’s easier than you may have been led to believe.
Know What Drives the Digital Worker
The digital workforce is composed of all kinds of people. Despite their differences, they’ve got quite a bit in common.
- They enjoy being self-starters: Whether they work from the office a few days per week, or if they’re completely offsite, digital workers know what they need to accomplish, and they’re motivated enough to get the job done. These people take a great deal of personal pride in going above and beyond.
- They want autonomy and flexibility: Given the proper tools, effective digital workers are perfectly capable of handling whatever comes their way. They require very little supervision, so micromanagement is never needed.
- They want good relationships with their employers: Whether you’re working with contracted employees, freelancers, or a combination of different types of workers, your people long to feel important – and they want to enjoy positive relationships with your company.
Knowing what makes people tick is the first step to more effective management, so take a little time to familiarize yourself with each employee who reports to you. When you learn what motivates them, you’ll find that it is very easy to extract the best performance possible.
Keep Information Flowing
While primo parking spaces, executive orders, and water cooler politics continue to play a role in traditional work settings, they don’t hold much sway in the digital workplace. What matters, and what makes a difference, is ease of access to information. A modern digital portal such as sapho.com keeps information flowing, prevents missed deadlines, and ensures that each and every employee receives personalized data that arrives in manageable, relevant chunks. Frustration is eliminated, engagement increases, and every aspect of business improves as a result.
Communicate, and Keep It Light
To a digital worker, nothing is quite so frightening as silence. While your people don’t want to be micromanaged, they do need to hear from you. There are a few ways to make communication simple and effective:
- Let employees know about your availability. How should they contact you, and when is the best time to get in touch? Remember to let people know that it’s fine to ask questions.
- Be sure that people know if you’re not much of a communicator. If you’re the kind of leader who prefers once-or-twice weekly conference calls with everyone instead of more frequent talks. Set up a system so that employees know what to expect.
- Be cordial and open when you communicate. You don’t have to act as if you’re their best pal, but it pays to offer up a genuine, friendly persona whether you’re emailing or conversing in person. When you foster an environment where open, transparent communication is the norm, you encourage honesty and prevent problems from blowing out of control when they do come up.
Have Fun at Work
Strive for excellence, but remember to have fun while you do it. As Dale Canegie once said, “People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.” Digital employees long for human connection, and if you can inject a bit of humor into your workday, you’re more likely to keep them feeling engaged and happy – and that can help you retain your best workers. Besides improving retention, a fun work atmosphere leads to happier, better-adjusted workers. They in turn do a better job creating satisfied customers, enhancing your company’s success.
What’s slowing your digital workforce? The odds are good that the technology that’s meant to speed things up is leading to a backlog instead. While you want to ensure that everyone has access to the fastest internet possible, hardware makes a difference, and so does software. Micro apps are the newest, easiest way to streamline, integrating with existing solutions while creating quick, intuitive workflows. It’s easy to build customized micro apps to suit your digital workforce’s needs and streamline processes of all kinds.
Just like their office-based counterparts, digital employees need to stay on top of the latest trends. While some may seek opportunities for higher learning on their own, you’ll be better off if you offer continuing education and provide opportunities for advancement. Remember that the digital workforce is made up of individuals who want to be successful at whatever they are doing, and help them achieve those goals within your company. When you develop your employees by offering better training and education, you prevent stagnation, retain your top workers, and give your business a competitive edge.
More money? Time off? Public recognition? People respond well to rewards, so remember to incentivize. The easiest way to create great rewards that will motivate employees toward greater achievement is to find out what they want, and then come up with a way to deliver it. While financial rewards are nice, incentivizing employees doesn’t have to come at a great cost for your company. There are plenty of other ways to show appreciation for a job well done.