Activating the power of the hidden workforce

By Makarand Joshi, Area Vice President & Country Head, India Subcontinent, Citrix- Investing in virtual collaboration solutions will enable an organisation to cater to individuals with diverse working styles, while ensuring unified communication and increased employee engagement.


Photo Credit : Citrix,

Makarand Joshi, Area Vice President & Country Head, India Subcontinent, Citrix

The pursuit of skilled talent is more competitive than ever before as companies seek to build an agile workforce that can move faster than market expectations and compete in today’s global economy. On one hand where wealth of knowledge and expertise leaves the workforce because of retirement or parenthood each year, on the other, young professionals are delaying entrance into the workforce in favour of educational pursuits. 

Not tapping into the talent pool of these said prospective employees is a miss enterprises cannot afford. Hence, it is pivotal for organisations to broaden their recruitment horizon to address the projected skills gap. This approach not only has the potential to reduce absenteeism and increase productivity, but also can be utilized as a useful means of employee engagement and loyalty across the current workforce. Unfortunately, traditional employment preferences and approaches by leaders and Human Resources departments fail to accommodate their changing workforce’s unique needs. Businesses often have rigid restrictions and policies on working locations, technology devices and BYOD, use of digital applications and inflexible working hours. 

CEOs around the world are aware of the talent management challenges that lay ahead and are increasingly concerned about finding talent with the right skills now. According to PwC research, nearly all CEOs (93 per cent) recognise the need to evolve strategies for talent but little has been done to put this into practice. Failure to evolve is limiting company growth ambitions and competitive advantages, but more worryingly, it also results in a skills shortage across a wide variety of industries that threatens national security, economic growth momentum and technology advancements. A recent study by the Ponemon Institute and Citrix found that two-thirds (57 per cent) of Indian security, IT and business professionals considered their organisations were not successfully hiring knowledgeable and experienced security practitioners. 

With this as the backdrop, it is safe to say that employers will have to re-energise their efforts towards engaging with the overlooked groups to help fill the void – both now and in the future. This reality demands that leaders and HR departments accept, adopt and promote new strategies to better attract, engage and retain the hidden workforce to succeed in the new era, and prepare for an uncertain future. 

1. Flexible work schedules

Eliminating the rigid traditional job structure in favour of flexible work schedules, such as compressed work weeks, flex-time, job sharing or reduced hours, is an effective way for companies to create workplaces that are considerate towards their employees’ need to strike a harmonious work-life balance

2. Accommodate remote working and distributed teams

Technologies, such as virtualisation, cloud, software-first networking, enterprise file sharing and mobility management, will allow jobs to flex with lifestyles and make companies more attractive to remote employees who are unable to physically come to work due to personal reasons 

3. Creation of opportunities for a collaborative workspace 

Some workers may be permanently restricted to residential locations as a result of remote working or personal reasons leading to a loss of face-to-face interaction and collaboration with office-bound colleagues. Investing in virtual collaboration solutions will enable an organisation to cater to individuals with diverse working styles, while ensuring unified communication and increased employee engagement

4. Proactive outlook to employee training

The act of balancing facets of personal and professional life, and not limiting oneself to the traditional work schedule comes with its own set of issues. Employers need to take the initiative to address these resultant concerns which will also aid in creation of trust and understanding. Training programs that enable skill enhancement for a variety of working styles; face-to-face workshops, e-learning courses or even peer-to-peer mentoring programs will have to be actively sought to ensure equilibrium and consistency in the employees’ value delivery.

5. Build an accepting workplace culture

Companies must train leaders on how to effectively manage remote workers and put into place systems to measure performance or results rather than physical presence in an office or the number of hours lodged. Software can help companies seamlessly monitor and manage employee who are working off site

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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