January 3, 2019
Some of the best companies in the world are known for their incredible cultures. Google, Apple and latterly Microsoft stand among the greats when it comes to working environments, and their cultures pay dividends. Not only do workers earn more in these companies, but they’re also vastly more productive than their rivals. Firm culture is potent because of its synergistic effects.
What constitutes a good company culture is changing because of developments in the labor market. With the rise of distributed, remote working, it’s no longer the case that employees work together in tightly-knit offices or can quickly go out for a drink at lunchtime. New approaches must be found.
That's not to say that these new practices don't have benefits. Companies want these new working patterns because it allows them to scale in a way that wasn’t possible before. Rather than workers being a kind of “fixed cost,” difficult to remove once installed, remote workers and distributed working patterns mean that companies can act a bit more like consumers, choosing to employ labor only when they need it. This “off-the-shelf” approach is helping to drive down company costs while simultaneously opening businesses up to a pool of talent which they wouldn’t ordinarily be able to access.
Distributed working patterns combined with the freelance boom has led many companies to embrace the remote workforce in a way that simply wasn’t possible in the past. There are now so many talented individuals out there just waiting to sell their skills that firms have a real choice about who they employ. Competition between individual remote workers is driving up standards, meaning that companies not only save on costs but can get higher-quality work done in the process.
One of the reasons companies developed great cultures in the past was because people were together physically in a community. It’s one of the reasons why tech giants spend so much money on huge campus office complexes: they want to bring people together because they know that by doing so, they can achieve powerful synergies.
Doing so, however, is costly. Most companies would rather have their cake and eat it: a low-cost remote workforce with an excellent culture which delivers all the same benefits enjoyed by the Apples and Googles of the world.
The good news is that with some smart approaches, you can achieve an incredible company culture. Here are some pointers:
The way in which workers and management speak to one another can make a big difference to how remote workers and freelancers feel about a firm. Often, the only method of communication is a chat box or email, and so these channels of communication must be treated with great care. Each person in the organization needs to be comfortable speaking to every other person in a way that promotes respect, engagement, and civility. Without in-person interactions, standards can quickly break down, leaving freelancers feeling disgruntled and jaded.
Although freelancers and remote workers provide a service to your business, they are still people who have feelings. Getting the best out of them requires a little conscious thought on the part of the company. Although legally and technically they may not be employees of the firm, being thoughtful about their needs helps to ingratiate them into the company family, leading to better outcomes. Freelancers are much more likely to act as if they are members of the business if you treat them as such.
People love to receive recognition for the work that they do. Recognition occurs in businesses with traditional employment structures all the time (through award ceremonies or in-person managerial feedback), but not so much in those that hire remote workers. However, recognition is important and can make a big difference to how freelancers perceive a firm. If they are rewarded for all their hard work and management and other employees recognize it, then they are much more likely to put in the effort in the future. Great company cultures depend on all people in the organization taking ownership and feeling that they are personally responsible for overall outcomes.
New platforms such as Field Engineer are making it easier for companies to hire candidates that fit their company culture not vice versa. The platform allows people to find problem solvers and independent workers who can get the job done.
The global rise of freelancers empowers businesses through a pool of unlimited talent. Sign-up for free and hire a field engineer today!