The greatest hybrid working challenge for HR professionals and business leaders is keeping employees connected to each other and the company on an emotional level. This was reported by two-thirds (66 per cent) of the 300 HR professionals and business leaders who were surveyed for ‘The State of Employee Engagement 2021’ Report*.
With 81 per cent of office-based organisations shifting to hybrid working, and 18 per cent of these giving employees full flexibility to choose where they work, HR professionals are navigating how to best maintain a positive and inclusive workplace culture. A key part of this is helping people to feel connected to their co-workers, leaders and the organisation, especially when working remotely.
“With some employees returning to the office full-time, others choosing to stay remote and many doing a combination of both, there is a real risk of a fracturing workplace culture,” says Steven Frost, Founder and CEO of WorkBuzz. “We need to be careful not to create a two-tier system than ignores sections of the workforce. After all, if leaders aren’t conscious of adapting their communications and interactions to keep remote, office-based and frontline workers’ needs in mind, people will begin to feel excluded and disengaged.”
The Report also reveals a number of other hybrid working concerns by HR professionals, with one in two highlighting their challenges with identifying and supporting wellbeing needs, nurturing the right culture, and collaboration when teams are dispersed.
Frost says, “For most challenges, experienced leaders and HR professionals have a playbook – they’ve seen it before. But with hybrid working, many are chartering new waters, figuring out how to make it work most effectively and adapting to employees’ changing expectations. This makes listening to their people even more important.”
HR professionals should gain access to employee feedback and actionable data, which will help them to track culture and emerging trends and issues. This information gives them answers to worries they may have such as, are we keeping our people emotionally connected to the organisation, our purpose and colleagues? Do those employees working remotely feel part of the team and are they getting the right communications? Are our new onboarding processes working and if not, what should we change? Are we offering enough flexibility – are any employees considering leaving because they don’t have enough?
*Report from WorkBuzz