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Smarter Not Harder: Communications in the Next-Gen Workplace

The modern workplace is almost unrecognizable when compared to what it was just a decade ago. With advancing technologies, cultural shifts, and increased competition all driving a multitude of industries to become more digital, how people work and get things done has significantly changed, especially with more millennials entering the workforce. 

This change is set to continue. Businesses are no longer only concerned with getting things done, but they also are placing more emphasis on how tasks are completed. They’re becoming more agile, and working more efficiently, creatively, and collaboratively. As they do so, they’re also pivoting their values and the way they work day to day.

In January, LinkedIn released the 2019 Global Talent Trends report, an annual survey of hiring professionals aimed at enabling business leaders to shape their recruitment strategies. The report highlighted the importance of soft skills, including creativity, time management, collaboration, and adaptability, to the modern workplace, as 92% of respondents agreed these skills were more valuable or just as important as hard skills. In particular, 90% of talent professionals surveyed within the U.S. agreed on the importance of soft skills, placing collaboration, creativity, and adaptability as desirable traits to their future workforces.

In addition to valuing skills that made employees more agile, LinkedIn found a noticeable focus on flexible working, unsurprisingly, with 72% of professionals surveyed expecting some form of flexibility in their working lives.

LinkedIn also found that improving work-life balance (77%), staff retention (54%), and increased productivity (42%) were among the benefits of offering flexible working. Those within the U.S. also agreed on the importance of delivering flexible working, with 75% of respondents from the region saying that work flexibility is very important to future workers. 

Driving engagement with tools for smart communication
Modern business leaders clearly understand the changing values of today's workforce and notice the impact flexible working, collaboration, creativity, and adaptability has on overall profitability. However, the next step is to equip teams with the right tools to deliver on these values.  

Communication is an integral element of the modern workplace which contributes greatly to team productivity, business profitability, and employee engagement. Research highlights that 97% of employees believe communication plays a key part in how tasks are performed every day. 

What’s more, LinkedIn found that while flexible working was desirable, it also highlighted that collaboration, team bonding, and work oversight were key barriers created as a result of flexible working patterns. Nevertheless, smarter communication tools that work seamlessly on any device can be used as a way to break through these barriers with instant messaging, voice, web, and video conferencing overcoming the challenges of employees working remotely, due to their ability to create the immediacy of communicating face-to-face.

As the workplace continues its transformational shift toward a more dynamic and digital future, the impetus is now on business decision-makers to implement smarter communication methods to equip their workforces with the tools and flexibility needed to enable more productive working. One of the most powerful factors of greater communication is its ability to strengthen a business, which can result in objectives being reached and employees being better aligned. 

There is a myriad of communication tools that can be implemented and combined to strengthen the communications strategy within a workplace. Solutions such as unified communications (UC) are now enabling businesses to combine IM, video, web, and voice conferencing. Additionally, these communication tools enable strong digital engagement strategies, which can be utilized across a range of different departments within a business to ensure an engaged and motivated workforce.

Each business will have its own set of individual challenges depending on industry and location. Organizations within the U.S. looking to expand globally and continue their steady growth need to consider what hurdles they face, and how they can overcome them by using the right communication tools. 

While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to implementing smarter communications, assessing a workforce’s specific needs and mastering the identification of communication tools and patterns that work best will help leaders gain a better understanding of how to mobilize their employees successfully and drive their businesses forward.