Fifty years ago, business was conducted out of one office, where everyone met at 8:00 in the morning to start the workday. Meetings held in conference rooms were the way of the world, and the way that work got done. Colleagues bonded over the coffee machine and the water cooler. And when 5:00 p.m. hit, everyone went home to their lives and their families, where they forgot about work until the next morning.
Looking back, it’s hard to believe that this was only fifty years ago. Advancements in technology have changed so many things in the last five decades—email enables us to work in multiple locations throughout the world, chat applications allow colleagues to bond over much more than just coffee, and constant access to the Internet means the workday no longer ends when employees leave the office. The world of work has changed, and as a result, the way we treat our employees must change too.
Working in the Digital Age
In today’s world, access to chat applications, video conferencing, and social platforms are commonplace in our personal lives—imagine living without iMessage, FaceTime, and Instagram! As each of these applications (and those like them) becomes more prevalent, businesses are beginning to recognize their usefulness and adopt the technology for their teams. And those that do so see the benefits—employee productivity is skyrocketing by as much as 25% for those organizations that make communication and collaboration easy for their teams.
As business applications like Slack, BlueJeans, Workplace by Facebook, OneDrive, and others become more prevalent, companies are seeing the benefit in allowing employees to work remotely. In fact, up to 43% of employed Americans worked remotely at least some of the time in 2016 and this number is continuing to rise. After all, if employees can be as productive at home (or in the coffee shop), why should they spend time commuting to and from the office each day?
And on the other hand, if team collaboration and communication can happen regardless of location, why limit employees to one geographical location? If talent can be found in other areas, would it not make more sense to hire them to work remotely in order to benefit from their skills, even if they are not willing to relocate? As Wendy Dailey, HR Business Partner at South Dakota State University stated, “Companies looking to hire top talent today must span geographical and cultural boundaries and find ways to help these people see the company’s location as their new home. Using social media and other technology to source, interview, and hire talent is the new norm and recruiters must be willing and able to adapt to using these technologies to meet talent where they are.”
Hiring in the Digital Age
Just as meetings are no longer confined to the boardroom, hiring no longer happens solely in the office. Short phone interviews are becoming increasingly common, as employers typically have far more qualified job applicants than they can interview in-person. And as video conferencing technology becomes more readily available, companies are increasingly conducting initial interviews over video in order to qualify people before they’re brought into the office. Most candidates are aware of this change and willing to complete this process before the on-site (and oftentimes final) interview.
But what about those candidates who live in other areas? Should they be immediately disqualified due to lack of proximity to the office? For companies with solid communications tools and meetings platforms, the answer is a resounding no. With a tool like BlueJeans, entire interviews can be accomplished without ever having to meet in-person, resulting in an interview process that is both fast and efficient.
As Meghan M. Biro, founder of Talent Culture, states, “We are dwelling in a digital sphere now, more connected than ever, more global, and it’s having really compelling impacts on what I used to call transaction-based hiring. We used to find and hire talent one by one, resume by resume, task by task, place by place. Now companies are turning to tools to find talent wherever it is, freeing up hiring teams to then build relationships and spend time with prospects, rather than having to jump through name after name.” Imagine how much more time you would have if you could complete four interviews in an afternoon, rather than just one. All of this is possible by incorporating video conferencing and other communications tools into your hiring process.
Success in the Digital Age
Fifty years ago, the world of work was much different. Those companies that did not adapt to new technologies and use them to their advantage are either no longer in business or mere shadows of what they once were. Now that the nature of work is changing at higher rates than ever before, it is becoming increasingly imperative to adapt to the world of work as it stands today. Employees are demanding opportunities to work from where they wish, and organizations must provide the tools they need to be successful. Starting a culture where employees are both allowed and encouraged to work how and where they want starts with Human Resources—and it starts with the hiring process.
About the Author
Debbie is a proven leader who empowers organizations with innovative people engagement and retention strategies. As VP of People, she oversees the human resources, change initiatives, and talent strategies at BlueJeans and brings over 15+ years of experience leading large scale human resources and people management in the enterprise software space. Before joining BlueJeans, Debbie was VP of People at DataStax where she defined, developed, and drove organizational effectiveness. She has a BA in Organizational Communication from the University of San Diego.More Content by Debbie Murray