Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
I’ve heard a lot of talk lately about organizations wanting to plan for when employees return to the office and employees wanting to stay remote a while longer. This should not be a surprise to anyone. But I did see someone remark that “hybrid” workforces are starting to be a recruitment marketing tool. Organizations that are trying to recruit right now, might want to think about this.
On some level, hybrid workforces are flexible workforces. That’s not a bad thing. Companies can give employees flexibility (which increases engagement) and they can possibly save money in terms of rent, utilities, and possibly taxes. But creating a hybrid workforce isn’t like flipping a switch. It does take some planning. Here are a few articles that might help get the conversation started.
HR leaders should be ready to discuss how the workforce is changing and what it means for the business in terms of recruiting, engaging, and retaining talent. Creating a hybrid workforce isn’t hard, but it does require a well-thought-out strategy. Each individual component needs to work for both onsite and remote employees. And, the key elements together should support organizational culture, which in turn drives engagement and productivity.
Organizations can use technology tools to communicate, train, and follow-up with employees, regardless of where they’re working right now. This builds trust because the employee knows that the organization is able to share important information with them in a timely fashion. And the organization knows the employee can share their feedback at any time from any location. It also means that as the organization grows and needs to change, technology is a respected tool that can be used by everyone. With the growing numbers of remote workers, organizations should review and possibly refresh their employee experience strategy to reflect this new hybrid workforce.
Right now is a perfect time for HR departments to consider how they can plan to provide an exceptional level of service to employees. HR departments are managing employees returning to the workplace as well as developing strategies for employees who will continue working remotely. It’s a natural conversation for them to consider, leading to actionable decisions. While HR’s goal to provide service is the same for both groups (on-site and remote employees), it’s important to design a process where both groups in a hybrid workforce receive the same level of service. Employees who work remotely can’t feel like their questions and issues aren’t receiving the same priority.
As organizations are planning their post-pandemic strategies, it’s important to remember a lot has changed. At some point, maybe every employee will want to work in the office. But I can’t help but think it’s short-sighted of organizations not to recognize that employees who have been working remotely might need a transition period. A hybrid workforce could be that transition.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby while exploring the streets of Barcelona, Spain