Employee Retention and Training: How to Do Both Well In the New Virtual Environment

Guest columnist Izzy Galicia is an industry veteran with broad international experience, Mr. Galicia is the President and CEO of the Incito Consulting Group.

Here are his thoughts on Employee Retention and Training in the New Virtual Environment.

The COVID-19 pandemic had a massive ripple effect on workplaces that can continue to be felt today. However, while many businesses have strived to “return to normal,” others have embraced these changes and used them to create a workplace that has allowed them to grow beyond the limitations of a physical office location.

In this new hiring ecosystem, it takes different methods to attract, train, and retain a world-class workforce. “At one time, companies were limited to candidates in their immediate area or who were willing and able to relocate,” explains Izzy Galicia, President and CEO of Incito Consulting Group. “Now, employers are not limited by borders or culture, allowing them to create their own diverse and talented workforce.”

Embracing a new paradigm of work

Some companies have attempted to relocate their traditional brick-and-mortar office to somewhere else in the country, but this strategy has proven costly and ineffective. Although relocating to an area with more available and qualified talent might be a temporary solution to a business’s staffing needs, this still restricts access to a significant majority of the workforce available naturally and globally.

Instead, businesses should strive to embrace this new virtual world in which we live. Remote work became a necessity during the height of the pandemic, but once business leaders were shown the tremendous benefits of this model for employee morale and performance, it became the new normal. 

“These days, the businesses that are most successful are those which adapt to the new virtual landscape,” Galicia explains. “The way to hire a world-class workforce is to offer the flexibility and innovation they demand in the workplace.”

Many businesses have found success in repurposing their physical offices into features such as hubs, satellite offices, innovation circles, and huddle locations. “Approaching physical workspaces in a different way can really change an employee’s perception of the job,” says Galicia. “Many people think of the office as a place where they are locked in for work. Instead, employers and leaders should create a physical workplace that employees think of as a place they can come to foster their creativity.”

Understanding the challenges of a virtual workplace

However, this new virtual work environment comes with a slew of challenges that businesses must learn to adapt to. Traditional methods of managing employees have proven to be ineffective, as they are largely limiting to employees rather than freeing. The goal of business leaders, particularly in this new virtual environment, should be to empower employees as opposed to restricting them.

One of the biggest obstacles that companies have had to overcome is the changing face of employee engagement. “Typically, it is much easier to gauge an employee’s engagement in an in-person setting, as this allows leaders to see their employees’ reactions,” explains Galicia. “As such, business leaders must take a much more active role in employee engagement in this new virtual world. Work with employees to figure out what methods of engagement work best for them, and implement those strategies.”

Many employers would benefit from improving their support and recognition programs. “With the elimination or reduction of the in-person element of the workplace, it can be easy to lose that essential human touch,” says Galicia. “In other words, it is critical that business leaders make their employees feel like they are more than faces behind a computer screen. Doing so means recognizing them more frequently and substantially for their hard work.”

Furthermore, a sense of mutual trust and respect is even more important in a remote workforce than in a traditional in-person workplace. Because leaders are no longer able to directly see their employees as they work, the temptation can be strong for leaders to micro-manage their employees. Still, it is essential to give employees a level of trust and freedom to hold themselves accountable, as this will promote better morale and productivity in this new paradigm.

In this new virtual ecosystem of work, hiring efforts can improve exponentially if companies adopt a flexible work environment meeting the needs of today’s innovative, creative, and inspired workforce. Creating this virtual and borderless workplace is not as challenging as it seems if leaders are able to understand and adapt to the unique challenges they face with the paradigm shift. With just a bit of flexibility, businesses can be on their way to building the most diverse and talented workforce they have ever had.

About Izzy Galicia

An industry veteran with broad international experience, Mr. Galicia is the President and CEO of the Incito Consulting Group. Mr. Galicia brings over 25 years of expertise in driving Lean enterprise transformation for a wide range of Fortune 100 and 500 businesses across the globe. Mr. Galicia began his career with Toyota and has received extensive training in the Toyota Production System from the best Toyota experts and sensei in the United States and Japan. Mr. Galicia was responsible for several successful major model launches for Toyota. Mr. Galicia has significant international experience implementing lean enterprise transformation across various industries across Europe, Asia, Canada, and Latin America.

About Incito Consulting Group

Incito Consulting Group is an award-winning global professional services firm and expert in strategic enterprise transformations.