With organizations struggling to get back on their feet completely, a new concept that has given hope is the hybrid workforce. The hybrid workplace model is one wherein employees come to the office occasionally and complete the rest of the task remotely. Therefore, it is important for companies to have a meaningful Employee Engagement Plan handy. This will in turn enhance the image of the organization and build a better culture, during further readjustment in the months to come.
HR is tasked with creating the perfect employee experience in every organization. Creating such an experience by itself is a herculean task considering that every individual is different with their own set of talents and challenges. This is now compounded by the emergence of hybrid and remote workforces. The difficulties arise since there is an absence of a face-to-face interaction.
In order to keep such diverse teams engaged, organizations need to evaluate ways to communicate with the teams regularly and foster productivity and growth without isolating or micromanaging employees.
Factors affecting the Success of a Hybrid Workforce
The success of a hybrid workforce lies not just in integrating remote and office work effectively but also when the company is able to
- Assess available skills and capabilities
- Realign resources to address changing needs
- Compensate and promote people fairly
- Develop future leaders
- Recognize and reward top performers in ways that increases motivation and performance
Effective Practices to Ensure Meaningful Employee Engagement for a Hybrid Workforce
Building and maintaining a cohesive employee experience for a distributed workforce can no doubt be a daunting challenge to HR departments. However, it is not possible to brush aside the challenge since the hybrid and/or remote workforce is all set to become the new normal. Bearing in mind a few basic principles as enlisted below will ensure to bring about a meaningful employee engagement program
1. Reshaping Goals and Objectives
Keeping the world order in mind, the time would be as good as any to revisit values, goals and objectives of the organization. The points to be borne in mind in doing so are how the pandemic has impacted the business, the response of the organization to the crisis, and the need to evolve a new work order going forward. Reshaping goals and objectives with these thoughts would prove to be an effective way to bring the hybrid workforce upto speed after a prolonged period of remote work. It would work well to keep the workforce looped in regarding the revised goals and objectives by conducting seminars, having informal quizzes, and so on.
2. Shift in Culture
Aligning the goals and objectives also brings about a major shift in the culture of the organization. Since remote work is here to stay, a hybrid workforce will be the new normal. Therefore, it is necessary to realign policies and procedures in line with the altered goals and objectives to make the hybrid workforce a successful reality. The organizations through its leaders top down should make it a point to embody the shift in company culture. This should reflect in various aspects such as
It should be redesigned to accommodate the remote workforce such that it serves as a self-help material to them.
It would be a great idea to create a knowledge base for all employees whether already existing or new joiner’s to have a reference point for information.
In addition to HR it would help to have various touchpoints for employees for dissemination of information or to clear doubts. This will reduce the waiting time for an answer and will also ensure that communication channels are open.
3. Clear and Transparent Communication
While communication happens on a regular basis with respect to work, it is extremely essential to keep the lines open for a two-way communication at regular intervals. Clear and transparent communication is the essence of a hybrid workforce since not everyone is onsite all/any time. This can be done by
Ways to create Clear and Transparent Communication Lines
- Setting clear goals and expectations
- Providing regular feedback
- Recognizing effort and hard work
- Celebrating success
It should be emphasized that the communication lines are open not just for work but for feedback, solutions, airing of issues if any.
Any changes to company policy should be communicated in a clear and precise manner without any delay.
4. Charting Employees Personal and Professional Growth
It is extremely essential to align, develop and cultivate employee experience for a more meaningful employee engagement program.
Employees should be encouraged to align their strengths and skills to support the goals and objectives of the organization. This allows them to plan their work in alignment with their strength so that they can be most productive at what they do. Using their skills and knowledge to complete the tasks assigned will ensure the best results for the company and give the employee great satisfaction personally too.
The workforce should be encouraged to develop new skill sets which will motivate them to do their job better and advance their career. This gives the employee a sense of belonging, inculcates agility and enthusiasm to do better than before.
Employees should be able to cultivate meaningful and genuine relationships at work. Mistrust and conflict can be detrimental to work and brings about unhappiness towards work and the workplace in general. Fostering mutual respect and understanding will go a long way in creating a stellar employee experience.
5. Organizational Health and Wellness
Although wellbeing and good health are a part of every organization’s charter, sometimes it tends to go unattended. However the pandemic has shown us that health and wellbeing of the workforce is of utmost importance to being a successful organization. This could be due to the hardships and scare brought on by the pandemic and its impact on employees and their families and also anxiety due to work related uncertainties. Social distancing and the time spent indoors at long stretches is giving rise to pandemic fatigue across all workers.
Hybrid workforces will definitely benefit if their wellness and health are prioritized. Creating a stress-free environment such that the employee can give his best is one of best engagement principles any organization can provide.
6. Keeping in Touch With the Pulse of Employees
If feedback is not a regular feature in your organization now is the time to rectify it. Surveys and feedback are a great way to gather data about the pulse of employees. Many organizations are resorting to shorter pulse surveys. The objective is to take quick action on the data with the focus primarily on trending issues and challenges that employees are facing. They will also provide the company with critical insight into anything that might be ailing the company and thus prove detrimental to its growth and success. Above all, making informed decisions based on available data is more scientific than continuing with age-old practices.
Market uncertainty, business disruption and having to deal with a hybrid workforce are challenges almost all organizations are facing. Added responsibility lies with the HR departments to create a meaningful employee engagement program in these trying times. A hybrid work environment with the right foundation can give the employees a feeling of belonging, being empowered, appreciated and rewarded. This creates a win-win situation for the organization and employees, wherein the organization will manage to stay ahead of its competition through the quality of their work and employees are satisfied and always willing to do best for their organization.
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