We’re all currently faced with it.
The lack of personal interaction, the feeling of continual untethered motion, changes in delivery methods, and the reality that ‘in person’ meetings may well be a thing of the past. It seems the current norm is to feel disconnected, and ruled by the internal need ‘to do’. This new hybrid workplace can also breed burn-out, and undermine any real sense of loyalty.
Add to that the current market trend of ‘The Grand Exit’, or ‘The Great Resignation’ - and it’s even more apparent that the need for a strong culture built on cohesion, connection and communication is a deep-seeded want for employees - and a necessity for employers to retain & grow their current workforce.
So how to address these important elements, and to develop and strengthen company culture? The goal is for employees to feel a high level of inclusion, involvement and value for their individual contributions.
Meet Them Where They’re At
Humanize the workplace for them - especially for ‘remote heavy’ workers. There’s a blurred line between home life and workplace duties during these ‘pandemic times’ - and it’s up to the employer to create easy connection paths.
Start with a short survey - ask them to complete it anonymously. What’s on their minds, heavy on their hearts, keeping them awake at night? Be straightforward and ask for candor.
Develop and communicate an ‘open door’ policy for idea sharing around work & culture. This could be a weekly corporate communication - with a date & time listed for review of all ideas with leadership. Empowering your employees to share how they feel their workflows could improve, what new programs should be developed, or areas they’d like to collaborate with others in. This creates connection and allows them to have some real skin in the game -to be proactive, rather than reactive.
Model Self-Care with a Well-being Plan
Communicate expectations as it pertains specifically to work-life balance. Highlight best practices through storytelling, and personal connection. This is crucial. Sharing of evidence, and modelling of personal care behaviour by leadership & management alike - blocking lunch hours on their calendars, taking personal discovery days off to unplug, providing access to an online wellness program, or hosting guest expert lectures on topics like managing stress, mindfulness, and healthy cooking. This all helps to remove the stigma associated with taking time off to re-charge & take care of your mental health. Create a well-being company plan that fits the needs of your current employee profile, and tweak from there. Having something to offer new recruits, or to retain current employees is non-negotiable in this current landscape.
Humanizing the hybrid workplace is a requirement for employers to stay in the game. It’ll require dedication, intention and inevitable pivots - but the return on investment will be an engaged and productive workforce. Learning to set the tone for inclusion and collaboration through communication, with a focus on self-care and building empathy, will strengthen a company culture based on human connection. It will require excellent listening skills - but even more so, it requires a plan.