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What Organizations are Missing in their Hybrid Work Environments

5 Action-Based Principles for Organizational Success

Written by HRCap, Inc.

March 17, 2022

4.5 million American workers quit their jobs in November 2021, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Majority of the employees left due to wanting a better work-life balance and having alternative options for remote or hybrid work.

Seeing the workplace dynamics and employees’ growing needs, leaders have made shifts towards a hybrid model of both in-person and remote work, and have taken steps to make this a permanent change.

According to a McKinsey survey of 100 executives across industries and geographies, nine out of ten organizations hold similar sentiments of hybrid work and combined remote and on-site work.

From employees to leaders, it is now clear that many are advocating for hybrid work, and it is interesting to note the different work modalities that we have seen across varying organizations across our client groups.

Related: The New Normal of Work Modalities

This brings up the following questions: how can companies create a hybrid work setting that is most effective for their unique business model and organizational culture? And how is this applicable for non-hybrid work modes?

5 Action-based Principles for Success

1. Employee Engagement

It is essential to create opportunities (both time and space) for employees to interact with one another and truly engage in collaboration. According to the McKinsey survey, the companies that had increased productivity were also the ones that supported small connections between coworkers, whether it was about discussing projects or sharing ideas. When employees feel connected with coworkers, they have a stronger sense of belonging and more motivation to work harder.

2. Meaningful Recognition

With hybrid work, employees may oftentimes feel that their hard work is overlooked. Therefore, it is increasingly important to acknowledge their contributions, whether virtually or in person. Some ways of recognizing employees are by offering feedback and giving due credit for their ideas. Companies can also provide greater responsibility, promotion, or bonus awards. It is important to be mindful that each employee might have a different preference for getting recognition, whether it is publicly or privately.

3. Flexibility with Ownership

Leaders should determine objectives and projected outcomes while still giving autonomy to the employee. Giving employees flexibility on how they complete the work builds a sense of trust and provides room for creativity. Flexibility with ownership can be applied to virtual meetings as well. Make clear expectations for virtual room meetings, agenda items, and ways employees contribute. Identify which meetings are required or optional for attendees and start all appointments on time. Also, determine what information can be shared over email rather than through virtual meetings.

4. Productive Collaboration

The key to productivity is building an organizational culture where meetings (in person or virtual) have a clear agenda. Meeting times should be purposefully scheduled so that collaborative innovation and alignment occur. Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, comments on hybrid work and how teams need to be “more purposeful about the time they’re in.” Even Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon, says that “instead of specifying that people work a baseline of three days a week in the office, we're going to leave this decision up to individual teams.” By doing so, meetings can be more purposeful and productive.

5. Empathetic Management

Last but not least, having an empathetic leader can provide the support and coaching that employees need. Leaders should set examples for self-care and work-life balance while providing resources and tools to help employees maintain their mental and emotional well-being. In our next HRCap blog, we will be sharing the benefits and tips on showing empathy as a leader in the workplace.

HRCap's Key Takeaways

We continue to communicate daily with over 100 HR executives from our global client base as they continue to adapt and transform their businesses throughout the pandemic. Some companies have been unable to fully transition into a hybrid work environment due to the nature of their industries and their business requirements in R&D, Manufacturing, and Production. Others were unable to adopt the hybrid modality yet due to the organizational setup and cultures. A few have remained remote and will continue to be fully remote as they begin to eliminate their physical office spaces.

The five principles above still apply regardless of the work environment: fostering employee engagement and recognition, demonstrating flexibility, building productive collaboration, and fostering empathetic management. These principles are not simply about creating a set of corporate policies or rules. Instead, they are about creating an organizational culture that encourages and empowers employees to continuously feel productive and engaged in any work modality (remote, hybrid, or on-site).

Companies that understand and internalize these five principles as part of their organizational culture are truly able to best attract, manage, and retain employees who can succeed in any work setting.

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