As employers establish their hybrid-work plans, they need to get serious about adapting to employees’ needs by soliciting their input along the way. With workers having so many options in terms of workplaces, they’re unlikely to stay employed long at an organization that doesn’t value their opinions. The author offers specific questions to ask to get the input you need from your employees.
The hybrid workforce will introduce flexibility that millions of people never had before the pandemic. Already, we’re seeing new experiments in how people work with the increasingly popular three-days-in-the-office, two-days-remote workweek. This hybrid work model covers place, but companies need to start paying more attention to process and, most important, people. No matter the hybrid work configurations they end up favoring, employers must get serious about adapting to employees’ needs by soliciting their input along the way.
The business case is clear: At a time when competition for talent is great, creating an organizational structure that doesn’t include the employees’ preferences can result in turnover, as employees leave for greater opportunity and engagement, and difficulty attracting ideal candidates. More and more, employee relationships and feedback are critical to organizations’ success. Companies that lend support to workers’ entire employee life experience — offering flexibility, building deeper employer-employee connections, and creating a shared purpose — see better employee well-being and produce 21% more high performers, according to Gartner research. Despite the benefits, some organizations will struggle with engaging all employees in such essential feedback and decision-making.
Yet it can be done. It starts with the company expecting its leaders to 1) know their work teams and the work performed, 2) understand how the team impacts other areas of the organization, and 3) run their piece of the operation as a small company that can flex to meet customers’ needs. Involvement in all major decisions (which can simply mean input and feedback) creates the feeling of value that causes people to remain with an organization. It’s not a nice-to-do; it’s a must-do.
It’s also essential for U.S. employers to embrace a variety of hybrid work options; more than ever, it is becoming widely recognized that one size doesn’t fit all. With the hybrid workforce among us, we’ll start to see businesses testing out their own systems that work best for their cultures. Time will tell which businesses will succeed with their hybrid structures and which won’t, and because we as a society tend to look toward successful companies to emulate their processe