Every month, Harkcon makes a push to have our associates submit/update their individual development plans (IDPs), participate in training courses on Lynda.com, investigate online educational opportunities, and pursue their own professional development. Why? Because it helps both them and the company.
The Changing Workplace Landscape
Companies across America continue to raise the bar with respect to what they expect from their employees. Business experts think this phenomena could be due to the number of older employees staying longer in the workforce, the increasing number of college graduates entering the workforce, or even over-qualified candidates filling lower level jobs. In any case, the experts agree that the best way employees can help themselves is to aggressively pursue professional development opportunities.
Obtaining Employee Buy-in
As employees grow and develop, so does a company’s capabilities, many times in a more economic...
You need the right employees to be a successful virtual company; not everyone can work independently or with minimal supervision. It is important to find well-balanced, highly-motivated, self-starters who you can count on to get the job done.
Balancing Technical and Soft Skills:
As a virtual company doing business across the United States, we rely on each of our employees to best represent Harkcon on a daily basis. They create our reputation not only by how they perform their job, but also by how they conduct themselves in the workplace with our customers, clients and other employees.
We hired each and every one of our employees because we think they are the best at what they do. But in a virtual company, being a technical expert isn’t enough. For an employee to be truly successful at a virtual company like Harkcon, they also need to develop and perfect their “soft skills.” Soft skills are those personal qualities, characteristics and attributes that m...
As indicated in my earlier blog entry, Harkcon found many advantages to starting as a virtual company. We also encountered several drawbacks, most of which centered around lost opportunities for face-to-face interaction, sharing ideas, team-building and inter-company communications. We quickly realized that, in order to be successful as a virtual company while remaining true to our Guiding Principles and maintaining a people-centric culture, we had to identify ways to overcome these obstacles.
With some trial and error, we’ve learned to virtually replicate key features of the physical office space – be it water coolers, conference tables or break rooms – in order to create socialization “touchpoints” to address these issues and establish/maintain an environment of open communication, active collaboration, and unselfish contribution; a place where people truly enjoy their work…and working with others in the company.
“To be a successful virtual company, you need to find ways to connect your isolated workers and emphasize soft skill development as much as technical competence.”
Running a small business is a challenge. Not having your staff physically with you as you run your business could be perceived as an even greater challenge. If you’re willing to leverage today’s technology, you can “connect” with your employees, no matter where you or they are, and provide the oversight, project management, training, and social engagement all employees need. With a little foresight and planning, you can overcome the biggest obstacles of running a virtual, including:
Maintaining clear and open communication with all employees
Providing opportunities for employees to create personal and professional relationships