Hybrid work has created both opportunities and challenges for organizations looking to compete in the post pandemic era. Audio visual technology has enabled workers to do their jobs anywhere and anytime, and companies are advocating flexibility, which looks like a combination of in-office and remote work. Applying the hybrid work model often comes down to how people prefer to work and how that impacts productivity. Companies need to find the right balance – one that harnesses the power of their workers to perform, while meeting their changing expectations around work.
Keeping people inspired in the workplace is critical, not only to keep them from leaving but also to make them feel invested in their role and in the company itself. Employee engagement is directly related to increased productivity, lower turnover, greater loyalty, better safety, and even higher profitability according to Gallup’s State of the Workplace 2022 Report. Hence our vision of inspired work, inspired life. ™
Against the backdrop of people quietly quitting, company leaders need not only be aware but must also take proactive measures to create greater social cohesion and advance company culture. Traditionally employers held power and control by creating expectations around performance and in-office requirements. Whereas the implementation of a hybrid work model means employees now expect greater flexibility over where and how they work. Therefore, the proximity principle of driving culture and engagement through in-person interaction is no longer the default. While remote workers may experience better work life balance and financial benefits such as saving on the commute and time, they are also more likely to experience greater isolation due to less interactions with colleagues. This can be a slippery slope towards disengagement.
Driving Employee Engagement within a Hybrid Work Model
So, what can companies do to drive greater employee engagement even when their people are not always present in the office? Let’s look at what some are doing to sustain corporate culture while providing work flexibility through a hybrid work model.
- Inspirational Environment: By creating an office environment that supports collaboration and other modes of work, companies can foster interdependence with their colleagues in working together to achieve common goals. Making the workplace a destination that employees want to go to can create an environment that enhances culture and comradery.
- Equity and Technology: Companies that give equal voice to employees both in the office and remotely during meetings can prevent a two-tier hierarchy from developing. Lack of access to information, software and support can impact productivity and lead to differences in output between remote and in-office workers. Technology is the great equalizer, so having the right equipment available can support this need for equity and enhance collaboration.
- Participation: By welcoming input and ideas from employees, leaders can allow their people to feel heard and signal to them that what they think matters. People who participate in the ideation and creative process will more likely embrace the organizational directives.
- Employee Surveys: Gathering feedback on how your employees feel and how engaged they are, has a double purpose. First, it signals your effort as an organization to illuminate any concerns and shows employees that it is a priority. Secondly, it allows you to address any issues or mitigate them before they continue to grow. For example, if people are saying that they do not feel invested, that their job lacks importance, or that their manager is ignoring them, leaders can take measures to correct this. Net Promoter Score (NPS) allows organizations to compare employee engagement metrics with one another to help them address workplace disengagement challenges.
- Strong Management: Undoubtedly, leadership must be more consistent as managers grapple with having to lead teams who are not always together. When people are working remotely, they may have more independence, but may also feel disengaged. As a response to this, managers need to have regular check-ins with their teams, and authentically connect beyond business matters. While connection points can certainly happen remotely, face to face interaction is vital to team bonding. Replicating fun and breaking bread over Teams or Zoom can only go so far. A healthy combination of the two is highly recommended.
These are just some of the considerations that company leaders need to address to elevate employee engagement with a hybrid work model. No longer can organizations depend on an organic approach to help build and sustain culture. The work landscape has been redrawn with the hybrid work model and now leaders need to be intentional in how they engage employees both in-person and digitally.
Culture remains very important to companies. Attracting and retaining the best talent requires meeting the diverse needs of workers. Defining that culture, its core principles values, and operationalizing them through the application of well-defined communications strategies and infrastructure investment will separate leading companies from those that experience disengagement and attrition. Afterall, your people are your greatest assets.
POI Can Help You Enhance Employee Engagement
POI provides connected solutions which boost performance, productivity, culture and well-being within corporate, healthcare, government and learning environments. Reach out to the experts at POI today to learn more about how we have successfully applied the hybrid work model to our offices and how we can help you create spaces employees want to go to.