New aggressive growth companies benefit from innovative and flexible solutions to thrive—and that’s especially true in the professional services world. In professional services, employee quality can make or break a company.
The challenge is to find the dedicated and skilled employees who are also affordable. There is an untapped labor force who fit the description perfectly: educated, skilled, flexible, available, loyal and affordable.
Women Re-entering the Workforce
There are highly educated women with years of work experience and accomplishments, who may or may not be looking to return to the full rigors of corporate life. They have proven talent, great professional networks, versatile skills, and a strong desire for meaningful employment—but they also want flexibility, either to meet family obligations or as a step to re-entering full-time employment.
As the CEO, founder, and entrepreneur of an aggressively growing consulting firm, these women are exactly what I need: talent that’s skilled and available. And as a mother myself, I understand the demands of family, children, and aging parents, as well as the desire for flexibility. Respecting and embracing these women will increase growth and create a loyal workforce. That helps my business grow.
[Related: How to Cultivate Thriving Leaders]
These employees get more than flexibility, too. They can list “real” experience on their resumes, to counteract the stigma that “independent consultant” still carries in some circles. They continue to maintain their professional networks, since I depend on their connections as much as they depend on mine. They have an employer who will take them seriously—because my clients’ needs are serious to me, and I want to build an effective team that gets things done.
The idea of tapping underutilized but highly educated and experienced women is not new. Many people (and companies) love the concept. Too many companies, however, are looking to pay intern wages and have requirements that leave highly educated, experienced women over-qualified for their positions.
Lead by example in addressing family needs.
These employees want to be comfortable when a child or a child’s school interrupts a work meeting. I find these employees are exceptionally professional when with clients, but I also want employees comfortable when they are working with me or other employees.
As a mom, I’ve always felt anxious and conflicted when I’m in a meeting with the boss and suddenly the school nurse is calling. I’ve felt the same anxiety leaving work early to take a child to the doctor. I remember the first time after I left the corporate world and I took my child to the doctor—and didn’t feel I had to check my emails every few moments. I was at the doctor guilt-free!
That is what I offer my employees. I hope that by me leading by example, my employees become comfortable and anxiety-free as they address family needs.
Technology and virtual reality are partners to success.
My employees have extensive flexibility. I like to say that they work when they want, how they want, and where they want. Technology allows this to happen and has enabled my team to stay connected.
All of my employees get Chromebooks with multiple business applications. We use Google Hangouts. Face-to-face interaction is critical to creating a cohesive team. It has been entertaining for my team to get comfortable getting on a virtual meeting, directly from workouts, walking the dog, or cleaning up kitchen messes. (We do the draw the line at pajamas!)
We also have a virtual office. Our address is based in Manhattan. We all use Grasshopper so that we have a main New York City office phone line, with an extension for each of us. It increases professionalism in interactions with clients as well as with prospective employers.
Remember what matters.
What matters to my employees? Being part of a team, being valued, learning, and contributing. If employees are fulfilled at work and can maintain a family guilt-free, the company earns and keeps their loyalty. Which means great client service, which leads to profitability and repeat business.
As CEO of a startup with aggressive growth plans, creating a loyal, dedicated, quality and satisfied team will drive my business and profitability forward. I think a lot about how to foster trust among my team. For soccer moms (and dads), early-retirement executives, and other professionals no longer interested in corporate life at a large firm, I would say that loyalty, flexibility, and respect are more important to these individuals. Skilled professionals are easy to find; loyalty, flexibility, and respect are more rare.
So if you run your organization based on those values, you’ll find a wealth of exceptional labor. Recognize and foster your employees’ needs, and your business will boom.
Elin is the CEO of Elinphant a financial compliance services firm. Elin ensures compliance officers who serve clients are skilled and knowledgeable in relation to the clients business and needs. Elin is known for looking at compliance challenges as well as marketing and sales in an innovative and direct manner.