Silicon Valley is often referred to as “the tech capital of the world,” but the truth is innovation should never be tethered to a single location.
Innovation comes from people, collaboration, idea sharing and inspiration. So, beyond Silicon Valley, where might the next great tech hub crop up?
The answer is simple: everywhere.
The rise of a new, remote workforce allows innovation to be boundless and collaboration to be global. In an increasingly hub-less world, it’s essential to attract and retain diverse talent now more than ever.
Remote workers and distributed teams are now armed with powerful collaboration tools and are bucking the notion that innovation blossoms in a single location. Startups today are competing for the best talent as more founders and executive leaders realize diversity and distribution is the answer. In fact, a recent study found that 80-90% of workers want the option to work remotely at least part time. Another study found that by 2028, 73% of all departments will have remote workers.
Remote work allows companies to hire the best people for the job, regardless if that person lives nearby. To attract top talent, preparing for remote work isn’t just a nice-to-have, it should be a top priority.
Today’s generation of workers want to feel at home (whether they’re “WFH” or not). As a new startup founder, I quickly learned that people thrive in an environment where they feel most comfortable.
The future of work is diverse and distributed, and supporting this type of workforce means creating an inclusive culture that fosters open communication, increased creativity and better business decisions. This will not only help continue to recruit talent but also retain that talent.
To retain talent successfully, executives have to make it a priority to walk the walk every day, not just talk the talk when trying to recruit. Employees are people, and if there’s one thing that resonates with people, it’s authenticity. If you say that every idea is welcome, then there needs to be a system in place to facilitate the sharing of ideas.
At my organization, Threads, one of the main priorities that we’ve implemented is establishing a culture that welcomes leadership feedback and takes that feedback seriously. Through our open communications channels, we’re able to connect with all employees and create a workplace that is truly inclusive. People crave environments where different ideas and voices are encouraged and valued, so what better way to commit your brand to those values than to start from the ground up?
Having a diverse set of employees means having a diverse set of ideas. Everyone approaches each situation differently based on their personal experience, and it’s vital for leadership to acknowledge that. While employees want their voices heard, it’s equally as important to make sure those voices don’t all sound the same.
To avoid alienating your workforce, establish an open line of communication between C-suite and junior -level employees.
Whether you decide to implement an open-door policy, utilize collaboration platforms or hold monthly brainstorms, show your commitment to hearing all ideas.
Also remember: Collaboration is a two-way street and requires you to acknowledge the ideas being presented. Let employees know you’re listening and show them that they’re a part of the process. Employees today crave feedback and recognition for their contributions, but sadly, they often choose to stay quiet when they feel their ideas are going unheard.
Whether your team is working within the same four brick walls or from a coffee shop across the country, talent is talent. Technology will continue to evolve, but building and keeping a talented workforce remains vital to the success of any company — and that won’t change any time soon. The (not too distant) future of work is diverse and distributed. Companies that build the right culture and technical infrastructure to empower this new workforce will find themselves innovating at a faster pace.
This post originally appeared in Forbes.