How Businesses Make Hybrid Work Models Work | Deloitte US has been saved
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By Laura Shact and Nick Petrihos
As the COVID pandemic shifts to endemic, organizations have adopted hybrid work models that combine remote and in-person work. These work models offer new capabilities to engage both employees and customers, but they present new challenges, too. As organizations transition to these hybrid work models, how will they know if the models are effective?
In response to COVID-19, organizations rapidly switched from in-person to remote work models. Today, as COVID-19 becomes endemic, organizations are considering transitions from entirely remote work models to hybrid work models. This transition aims to capture the benefits of both in-person and remote work models.
Since the pandemic, in-person organizations shifted internal structures to be effective in a remote environment. They have also discovered aspects about working in-person they miss, don't need, or can improve. Many organizations have responded by designing hybrid work models that aim to combine the best of both remote and in-person work.
Hybrid work models bring specific benefits for organizations and workers, and enable them to achieve their goals more effectively, including:
However, how do organizations with deliberate strategies for moving to a hybrid environment know when to realign or re-design their work model to achieve their goals? Similarly, how do organizations without clear goals around hybrid work know whether their work model is delivering for them?
Here, we explore three steps every organization can take to determine if their hybrid strategies are effective and ensure their work model is suited to their business goals.
#1 Align your hybrid work model to the goals it supports
Measuring the effectiveness of your hybrid work model starts with identifying your goals for the organization, workforce and customer interactions and how well that model supports them.
Many organizations are mistakenly developing and adopting a hybrid work model based on emerging trends from market leaders without first identifying clear goals for their own organization that their work model should support.
An organization’s departments and functions may have differing goals and will seek different outcomes from a hybrid work model that they need to measure. For example, at the C-Suite* level, see Exhibit 1:
Part of every leader's role includes a need to create and maintain cross-functional connections that support a hybrid work model. HR plays a vital role as the connector across the C-Suite to help achieve alignment on goals and ensure the hybrid model enables the organization to achieve them.
#2 Measure the effectiveness of your hybrid work model’s five core elements
To understand the impact of an organization’s hybrid work model and what changes to make, the organization needs to measure the effectiveness of core hybrid work model elements, specifically:
Levers that underpin these core elements can help an organization measure the effectiveness of their hybrid model and develop actionable solutions to refine their hybrid strategy.
Leaders should steer this process, determining what to measure and setting priorities for their executive teams. Organizations need to be deliberate about choosing measures which will either indicate progress towards their goals or guide decision-making to adjust the work model design. For example, an organization looking to develop an equitable career development program may measure the portion of its workforce promoted across work modalities, segmented by performance. An organization looking to maximize its workforce’s teaming and collaboration capabilities, may measure their workforce’s satisfaction with the availability of resources, guides, and norms that guide them on working with more distributed teams.
Measuring the hybrid work model elements across organizations as a baseline level provides valuable insights – whether an organization has already implemented a hybrid work model or is looking to transition to hybrid.
#3 Prioritize progress over perfection
Historically, few organizations have developed hybrid work models at scale.
Even high-profile technology organizations at the cutting edge of hybrid work are in a learning phase, testing how well their models work. Similarly, all organizations should adopt a learner's mindset and be open, adaptable and agile.
Every organization can start at a simple level of identifying their core business goals and looking for ways to measure the effectiveness of their hybrid work model against those goals. When goal setting and measuring effectiveness, embrace an agile approach and avoid letting perfection stand in the way of progress. For example, if your goal is to increase your workforce’s sense of well-being, pilot new in-person or virtual resources with smaller, hybrid teams and measure their impact before scaling those resources to the entire organization. Consider focusing on one goal first, and embrace the mindset of iteration, not perfection. Be ambitious in setting goals and choose to measure effectiveness in ways that are scalable.
Organizations that have adopted a hybrid work model without first identifying goals for the business, employees and customer interactions should not assume those models will support their goals.
Your organization's hybrid work model must be tied to achieving specific business goals to be effective. The way to understand the impact of your hybrid work model, and the ongoing changes needed to help ensure your organization achieves its goals, is to measure it.
To learn more about measuring the effectiveness of your hybrid work model across your organization you can get in touch with the authors below.
* C-Suite titles: The CHRO (chief human resources officer), The COO (chief operating officer), The CIO or CTO (chief information or technology officer), The CMO (chief marketing officer), The CFO (chief financial officer), The CLO (chief legal officer)