Why Telecommuting Might Not Make Sense

Why Telecommuting Might Not Make Sense

Telecommuting is definitely on the rise. The Society For Human Resource Management (SHRM) recently reported that telecommuting has increased threefold in the past 20 years, and more employers are beginning to offer the flexibility of working from home than ever to meet demand.

But does it really make sense for your business?

Telecommuting offers some distinct advantages for employers: mac-733178_640

While these benefits can have a dramatic impact on your bottom line, there are some challenges your business must consider:

  • Nurturing a strong culture can be more difficult when several team members (or more) are working off site. Allowing employees to work off site can expose a weak corporate culture — or degrade one altogether. When your team is separated geographically each day, it can be difficult to build and nurture a sense of team. If your culture is strong; however, telecommuting can be integrated effectively. It’s imperative that your HR department work with leadership to establish clear methods for the ongoing nurturing of your corporate culture (through virtual happy hours, Skype or other video conferencing, regular phone time, intermittent office visits, etcetera).
  • Collaboration can be stifled when employees aren’t working side by side. This is especially true for smaller companies that thrive on new ideas. When employees are chatting by the water cooler or over lunch, great ideas can often result. Take away the water cooler and the lunch room, and you could miss out on game-changing innovations for your business.
  • Clients can sometimes become uneasy with a lack of face-to-face contact with your team. If your clients are accustomed to regular, in-person meetings with one or more employees who are now working from home, it could create an issue for clients that require a bit more hand holding. In today’s economy, virtual employees are becoming increasingly common; however, watching out for this potential roadblock is something you would need to do on a case by case basis.
  • Some employees may become angry if your organization decides to allow telecommuting for some, but not all, employees. Be prepared to decide just how many people can take advantage of telecommuting, and how often. Perhaps one or two days a week, or only afternoons, works for some employees and/or roles. If telecommuting is impossible for certain employees or positions, be prepared to offer some type of added bonus to compensate them and avoid hard feelings (or worse, an exit of employees en masse).

Is telecommuting right for your business? 

Careful consideration for your organization is necessary before moving forward with a telecommuting option for employees. Internally, you should have the right business structure, culture and managers to effectively lead virtual employees. Here are some key traits to ensure your managers possess before allowing telecommuting:

  • No reservations. If your managers are nervous about allowing telecommuting, they won’t be able to effectively lead. Everyone should be “all in” before making the switch.
  • Clear communication. The ability to set clear expectations and deadlines (and enforce them when necessary) becomes especially critical with telecommuting employees. Accountability is key to taking advantage of the productivity boost noted earlier. Your managers should be able to clearly communicate what is expected and when.
  • Trust. Ultimately, your managers must trust their teams in order to effectively lead them in a telecommuting environment.

Once you have the right managers in place, you’ll want to ensure the right employees are being afforded the flexibility of telecommuting. Look for these qualities:

  • Self starter. Personal accountability is critical to success in a telecommuting role. Employees should demonstrate the ability to work with little to no supervision and should be able to allocate their time effectively.
  • Strong technology. While you may provide a phone and/or laptop for your employees to use at home, you should ensure that any telecommuting employees also have solid wifi and other in-home technology to support their company technology.
  • Strong problem-solving ability. Telecommuting employees will often be on their own when it comes to solving problems. Both from a technical standpoint as well a a client perspective, challenges arise. The ability to think on their feet and get things done without being able to pop in someone’s office is key.

Before your business can consider telecommuting, you have to have the right employees in place. At Helpmates, we connect employers across Southern California with exceptional talent. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your business achieve more.

Why Career Mentors Are Essential (And How to Find One)

Research shows that professionals with mentors are happier and more successful in their careers. In fact, research shows that employees who received mentoring were promoted five times more often than people who didn’t have mentors.

In an increasingly digital world, the importance of fostering and nurturing real-world relationships cannot be underestimated. When one (or more) of those relationships centers specifically around your career and personal development, the impact can be much more profound.workplace-1245776_640

The connection between mentors and success

From billionaire entrepreneurs to celebrities and athletes, the world’s most successful people have one thing in common: they have felt the profound impact of a mentor. Why does mentoring have such a big impact on success?

  1. They help you learn from their mistakes. Mistakes will happen to most people at some stage in their careers. Successful professionals accept their mistakes, dust off and learn from them to avoid more mistakes in the future. Mentees can fast track that process and learn from the mistakes of their mentors.
  2. They provide more than any book. In today’s information age, there are plenty of career books, blogs and other resources out there (including this one). While there is plenty of value within these resources, strong mentors can help you fill in the gaps to determine how the advice or tips you’re reading fit into your specific career and goals.
  3. They help you take action. Sometimes fear of the unknown can hold you back from taking new steps and journeys in your career. It’s in those times that you need an extra kick to actually take action. Your mentor can be the accountability partner needed to keep you on track and working toward your goals (rather than just talking about them).

Finding the right mentors is key

Reaping the benefits of mentorship requires the right relationship. Finding the right mentors, though, can seem like a daunting challenge to some professionals. Although you may be tempted, don’t ask a stranger to fill that role for you. Perhaps you’ve identified a successful individual in your field who you believe could teach you a significant amount. That’s great! But if you haven’t previously established a relationship with that person, now is not the time to ask. Try these tips instead:

  • Partner with a nonprofit. There are organizations across the country dedicated to helping professionals find mentors. Depending on your specific industry, you may even be able to find an organization that works solely within your specialty. Google “[your city] + mentors” to see what opportunities might exist in your specific area.
  • Get involved. Local chambers of commerce and other professional networking groups offer an excellent opportunity to meet new people. The relationships you build can naturally evolve into mentorship relationships down the road.
  • Don’t be too narrow. Careers are not limited to just one mentor. You may find mentors who help you grow in a variety of capacities (eg. leadership, sales, communication). There are a range of individuals who have skills that can help you, don’t rest on your laurels after you’ve identified one person who can help you.

Here at Helpmates, our recruiters serve as a career partner to help you reach your goals. We can help you find your next great job. Search our jobs in Southern California now or contact your nearest Helpmates office to get started.

Identifying Emotional Intelligence in Hiring (And Why it Matters)

More than 20 years ago, research found that individuals with average IQs were outperforming those with with the highest IQs 70% of the time. Going against the rationale at the time that the most “book smart” employees would be the most successful, researchers dug deeper to understand why. Eventually, researchers found that emotional intelligence was the key ingredient of success that separated the most successful from the rest of the pack.

What is Emotional Intelligence?ID-10066391

Pause for a moment to think about the tasks that encompass your day. Surely there are hard skills necessary to complete them. According to the experts at Talent Smart, who literally wrote the book on emotional intelligence, emotional intelligence (sometimes referred to as emotional quotient or EQ) is the bit extra in each of us that helps us “manage behavior, navigate social complexities and make personal decisions that achieve positive results.”

Emotional Intelligence and Hiring

In all likelihood, your organization has hired a candidate who simply didn’t work out. This can result in low employee morale, increased cost, loss of productivity and more — the impact on an organization can be disastrous. Factoring emotional intelligence into your hiring decisions can help mitigate the risk and offer an added layer of insight into candidates before you make a decision.

While emotional intelligence is comprised of multiple aspects, Harvard Business Review’s Christina Bielaszka-DuVernay recommends focusing on these three aspects to help you identify potential high-EQ candidates:

  1. Self-awareness and self-regulation. Look for insights into the needs and wishes that drive candidates and how they affect their behavior. Candidates who are more likely to be successful can regulate their emotions to prevent any fear, anger or anxiety they experience from spreading to colleagues or result in a loss of control.
  2. Reading others and recognizing the impact of his or her behavior on them. Candidates who have well-developed emotional and social “radar” and can sense how their words and actions influence colleagues are more likely to be successful within your organization.
  3. The ability to learn from mistakes. Candidates who can acknowledge their mistakes, reflect critically upon them and learn from them are ideal choices for any organization.

How to Find Candidates with High Emotional Intelligence

Finding high-EQ candidates doesn’t have to mean overhauling your hiring process. Ask these questions to identify the best candidates:

  • What bothers you most about previous coworkers?
  • Tell me about a time you helped out a coworker.
  • When was the last time you had a bad day? What went wrong?
  • What has been your favorite professional relationship? Why do you think it was successful?
  • What are you most proud of in your career? Why?
  • Who inspires you (and why)?

Asking the right questions to determine EQ means getting the right candidates in the door for interviews. At Helpmates, we have strong relationships with top talent across Southern California. We’ll help you find the best talent to help your organization reach its goals. Contact your nearest Helpmates office today to get started.

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