While still a moving target, most U.S. companies have implemented return to office policies with the mindset that the COVID-19 pandemic is behind us. An estimated 74% of U.S. companies have either implemented or plan to implement permanent hybrid models. Yet many companies are faced with employees asking “why?” Employers struggle for cogent answers that satisfy their employees’ concerns and preferences. “Because we said so” or “because we have office space we are paying rent for” don’t cut the mustard and risk negatively affecting employee retention and recruitment. Regardless, hybrid models are here to stay, and employers should be considering how those models work best for their employees and their businesses.
Historically, offering flexibility to employees has often led to a positive and holistic employee experience with greater work-life balance. So why has it been such a challenge to adapt to a hybrid environment? Post-pandemic, employers are faced with numerous challenges they need to address to move beyond their return to office deadlines and navigate the hybrid work model.
Here are three top considerations employers should be thinking about:
How are you communicating with your employees? How are your employees communicating with their teams and supervisors? What tools are in place to facilitate this communication? Check out these three strategies for employers to refresh how they handle employee engagement.
How are you measuring success? The answer will vary depending on the employer and the employee’s role. Are you measuring success by the number of hours your employees are logged in to their computers? Are you measuring success by employee turnover or by revenue? Listen to this podcast for tips on employee monitoring and the hybrid workforce.
How are you pivoting if things are not working, and how flexible are you being to make it work? Are you collaborating to solve challenges? How are you ensuring that there is some degree of ongoing employee connectedness? Here are three powerful strategies that leaders can apply to help keep their remote employees engaged.
There has been much written about the increase in workforce productivity during the pandemic. Virtual meetings are more productive because employees are not transporting themselves from conference room to conference room. People tend to be on time. In sectors such as professional services, clients tend to be happier because they are not paying for the travel time for their advisors. As the saying goes, “a rising tide lifts all boats.”
While employers are benefiting from this increased productivity, it is critical to remember that employee engagement – that holistic experience – must also be nurtured to ensure ongoing retention and the ability to recruit. Without the water cooler, birthday cakes and happy hours, the social and personal connections employees share need to be fostered in other ways. In the hybrid model, how employers are getting creative with encouraging these personal connections is critical.
Employers need to be intentional and think about what is best for their employees, best for their customers, and best for their business. Be smart about it. Employers should dedicate resources – whether people, consultants, budget, or all the above – to make sure the personal connections employees share are not lost in their return to office policies.
The uniqueness of each company requires a personalized solution. We’ll build a strategy that aligns with your company’s needs and incorporates best practices that we’ve implemented in our work with companies on their return to office polices. Contact us today to talk about your workforce needs.
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