Workforce: Redesigning work for those at the center of it
How do I boost workforce engagement and morale in geographically dispersed or asynchronous teams?
Today, many people are rethinking the role of work in their lives. Their preferences and priorities are changing. Workforce engagement has, therefore, never been as crucial as it is today. To strike a chord with the workforce in terms of engagement, organizations need to focus on factors close to their hearts, such as belonging (the feeling of connection with a group or community), well-being (including mental health and help with access to education, resources, and training), flexibility (giving employees a sense of control and ownership over their work by holding them accountable without micromanaging), and purpose (reminding them they’re part of the larger mission no matter where they work).
How do I create opportunities for socialization, networking, and mentorship in a hybrid environment?
If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that social connection is important for us to thrive not just as human beings but also as professionals in our work. The sudden shift to remote work succeeded largely because existing social ties and relationships within organizations helped sustain our productivity. Making sure that this social capital continues to thrive in a hybrid environment will be critical.
As part of this, agencies can bring people together in the moments that matter (e.g., for brainstorming sessions, townhalls, or informal gatherings for holidays or to celebrate successes) and provide time for workers to engage in virtual “watercooler” connects (casual conversations not strictly related to work). They can also encourage employees to strategically plan their in-person days (coordinating schedules and activities to ensure face time with colleagues and stakeholders), allow workers to choose how they’d like to connect with others, and provide opportunities for informal interactions and mentorship sessions with leaders.
How can I advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in a hybrid work environment?
In a hybrid work model, some workers will be in the office and others work remotely. Without an accompanying culture change, this can create a “two-tier” workforce, with primarily remote workers feeling like they may miss out on career- and relationship-building opportunities.
To mitigate such challenges, agencies can train managers to use check-ins to understand and address any problems team members might have with the remote environment and educate them on how to identify and avoid “proximity bias.” Managers should promote an inclusive team environment and demonstrate behaviors that show support for remote workers. Adopting equitable meeting practices—such as having everyone log into a virtual call regardless of location—can also help foster inclusion. Lastly, agencies can provide their workforce with resources and training for career advancement, as well as options for different career paths that are partially or entirely remote.
How should I adapt my organization’s processes for hiring, onboarding, and knowledge transfer to serve the needs of a distributed workforce equitably?
As organizations step into the hybrid environment, strategies they can consider include continuing with the virtual hiring practices adopted during the pandemic and retaining some of the virtual elements of the recruitment process (e.g., virtual job fairs and events). Seek geographically distributed talent can help them to access a wider and diverse talent pool.