How to manage digital workforce for start-ups

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Just when you think you’ve got a grip on today’s tech evolution, you look up to find the modern-day workforce — including the most effective ways of leading it — has changed as well. Today’s business managers are dealing with a double revolution. There’s a digital transformation changing how we work and an influx of generational young’uns who think, act and expect completely different things from those who lead them. It doesn’t matter if your employees are working from your company’s bullpen, their couch or a train travelling from Paris to London. The truth is that you need a unified method of hiring, inspiring and retaining the best and brightest if you want your company to grow.

The good news is that as a start-up, your company is younger, more nimble and adaptable than many of the lagging giants in your respective industry. If there’s anyone primed to take on the world of contingent digital workers, it’s you. Still, that doesn’t mean the roadmap is a clear and simple one. Below are five tips for growing your business in the midst of global change.

Know what works and what doesn’t

In today’s digital economy, traditional leadership style is out. It doesn’t matter if you earned your degree from Harvard or Wharton — micro-management, power games and siloed leadership will never win in today’s free-loving, free-flowing world. Nowadays, employees favor freedom over structure. They want the flexibility to pursue outside passions and income streams and the chance to play a meaningful role in a place they feel good about. If you’re not onboard, you’re going to struggle finding, and keeping, the employees you truly need.

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Indeed, research shows that an employee’s intent to stay increases 15 per cent when rewarded with things that make life easier, like the flexibility of working from home. (Any parent knows the thrill of being able to start laundry or dinner while responding to emails or waiting for a conference call). Do not underestimate the productivity and loyalty of a happy employee, especially when today’s technology is aiding, and expediting, the process.

Let them grow

I recently read the speed and insight gained from technology are giving our best employees more time to take on new responsibilities and become even more important resources in decision-making and management. Let them make the most of it. The digital generation places high value on personal growth. After all, they’re not stupid. They know their job could be completely different — or eliminated altogether — come their next homeroom meeting. As such, they’re willing and able to wear multiple hats, just like you, if given the opportunity. Offer ongoing training opportunities, and take time to know their strengths so you can utilise them when times change. And they will.

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Get creative with organisational structure

I guarantee you this — nothing will make savvy employees jump ship faster than finding exhausting approval processes, redundant staffing and teammates who are unaware and unprepared for the work they want to accomplish. Keep your employees inspired by eliminating silos and structuring your company in a way that more closely resembles the movement of information and action within your market. This will encourage strong collaboration, productivity and improve your bottom line.

—www.entrepreneur.com

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