Why hybrid shouldn’t drive your HR investments
READ the August 2021 issue of our magazine: The Rise of Work Tech
The main challenge for organizations embarking on HR transformations across Asia Pacific is bigger than simply enabling employees to be productive when working remotely.
Understandably, most of the post-pandemic office plans being announced by employers are hybrid models. It’s with good reason - a hybrid approach is what many employees want, and the majority of respondents to a recent Qualtrics study across the region said they’ve either maintained or improved their productivity working remotely.
Yet, a hybrid approach doesn’t suit everybody. Nor should it be the main focus of your investments in HR technology.
For example, one in five respondents to the same Qualtrics study said their productivity had decreased and that they were feeling less connected to their company’s community working remotely. Similarly, when asked what things employees liked least about working remotely, the top three were a lack of social connection to co-workers, challenges separating work from personal life, and difficulty collaborating with others.
These contrasting experiences with hybrid models are just one example of why organizations need to direct their efforts in enabling employees to work in ways suited to their individual needs. The challenge is identifying how different people now want and expect to work, and then enabling hybrid work and workplace solutions at scale.
Right now, every organization is in the middle of an experience transformation. After the last 18 months, people have different expectations, needs, and preferences toward the way they work. And that’s why the first - and most important - investment in any HR transformation is ensuring employers are regularly engaging their teams to continually listen, understand, and act on their changing needs.
I’m not talking about the traditional annual employee engagement program. While this remains an important tool in many HR departments, it does not provide the speed and responsiveness leaders and people managers need to make a difference in today’s fast-moving situations. Instead, employers need to be listening holistically and frequently across multiple moments in the employee journey to understand whether individuals have the services, technology, and work environment to meet their needs at every stage. For instance, do new joiners have easy access or understand how to use the technology they need to do their job remotely, or how is having teams work across locations impacting their ability to effectively collaborate?
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This new approach to listening must also make it easy for HR teams to access and analyze data, as well as tailor engagements for changing situations. It means any new listening tool adopted must offer various self-serve capabilities to deliver maximum and rapid value.
Using insights into the employee experience enables employers to make data-driven decisions about future investments and initiatives. This allows organizations to act with confidence and precision while optimizing resources and encouraging fast adoption and high usage among employees.
The work underway at the major international bank Standard Chartered is a proven example of using employee experience insights to drive meaningful change. To ensure the bank’s hybrid work model addressed people’s needs, Standard Chartered expanded its employee listening programs to collect both active and passive experience insights helping guide the business forward.
These listening capabilities are now fundamental to how Standard Chartered is responding to ongoing business challenges. For example, the company's future of work program adopted at the outset of the pandemic has evolved to become a permanent and sustainable way of working at Standard Chartered. The program is continually evolving - informed by employee insights - as Standard Chartered works to balance the benefits of remote working with the social and innovation benefits of face-to-face interaction with clients and colleagues.
The power of listening and acting
The benefits of listening and taking action on feedback extend beyond optimizing technology investments. When employers listen and take action on feedback, employee engagement, well-being, and intent to stay all increase. When you consider organizations that have high levels of engagement have up to 4.5x more revenue growth compared to those with low, listening and acting on feedback provides a huge competitive advantage. What’s more, it helps attract and retain talent.
With endless choices and tools now available, it can be difficult knowing where to start as organizations across Asia Pacific rethink and redesign their HR offerings. This is why being able to regularly listen, understand, and take fast action on the needs of employees needs to be the foundation for every HR investment and program, giving employers the confidence and knowledge they need to kickstart their experience transformations for maximum success.