Preparing Employees for Telecommuting

The percentage of employees who work from home or telecommute is climbing, and from the number of reports talking about this phenomenon, it doesn’t appear that this trend will be reversing any time soon.

And lest you think that this new way of working is a result of the supposed caprices of the Millennial generation, consider the following from globalworkplaceanalytics.com:

On average, a telecommuter is college-educated, 49 years old, and earns an annual salary of $58,000 while working for a company with more than 100 employees.”

We live in a new age, when nearly everything a knowledge worker needs to get their work done is available online. From cloud-based document storage and real-time file-editing tools like Google Drive to virtual work spaces and project management tools like Slack, workers have what they need to accomplish their goals, interact with their coworkers, and increase productivity without ever having to leave the house.

Even though the average telecommuter is 49 years old, there are many older workers who have not yet adapted to emoji-based team meetings or who are wary of working in coffee shops over cubicles. This may not be a problem for those whose current office-based jobs offer stability and remain engaging, but what happens to those older workers who find themselves laid off due to reductions in force or restructuring?

The latest report from Aberdeen Group discusses the need for outplacement services that not only cater to the growing trend of telecommuting, where outplacement participants prefer to speak to their coaches over the phone and internet as opposed to face-to-face, but also help non-virtual workers adapt to a more virtual workplace.

Baby Boomers and Gen Xers will be in the workplace longer than previous generations. Rather than assuming that they may choose to retire as early as their parents and grandparents, we should help our employees stay prepared for their future jobs, even if those jobs are no longer with our organizations.

Remember that your future talent acquisition depends upon future candidates’ perceptions of your employer brand—and that your employer brand is earned, not owned. In other words, if former employees have good things to say, whether on social media or employee review sites (like Glassdoor) or to family members and friends, your brand will remain positive and potentially attractive, even after a layoff.

And one great way to help former employees find reasons to continue to recommend your organization after a layoff is to help those employees develop the skills they need to succeed during and after their career transitions. This includes preparedness for new ways of working, especially if their former role involved more traditional methods.

According to the report by Aberdeen Group, an effective outplacement program can not only help employees transition into new roles, but also deliver services that support employees virtually. This support can introduce employees who might be hesitant to take on telecommuting or flexible roles to a different way of working and prepare them for success in roles that they might otherwise be unwilling or ill-prepared to take.

In offering virtual-led outplacement services and not only supporting employees through their transitions, but also preparing them to succeed in their next roles, you increase the potential for employer brand protection.

We’ll discuss this topic and more in a #SmartTalkHR webinar with Howard Adamsky of Aberdeen Group on September 20, 2016 at 10 am PST/1 pm EST. To discover all of the insights from the report and best practices that you can incorporate in your own future outplacement offerings, register for the webinar now.

 

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