HomeEmployee ExperienceEngagementMaking work ‘worth it’ – engaging and retaining talent

Making work ‘worth it’ – engaging and retaining talent

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Businesses are figuring out what the future of hybrid will look like for them. The success of these new working models will centre on access to technology which will to equip managers to enforce data-led decisions

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The effects of the ‘Great Resignation’ are still being felt today. Employees everywhere are rethinking their “worth it” equation and are taking time to reflect on their careers and relationships with work.

Microsoft’s latest Work Trend Index showed just this, revealing how more than half (56 per cent) of UK workers are more likely to prioritise health and wellbeing over work than before.

For Generation Z and Millennials, this is even more important – with 55 per cent likely to consider changing employers this year. Employees are revaluating what is important to them – health, family, time, and purpose – and what they’re prepared to give in return.

This brings with it new opportunities for leaders when it comes to cultivating a strong organisational culture, and ultimately for attracting and retaining top talent. It is paramount leaders understand the role of fostering a positive hybrid working culture and the power this has to tip the new “worth it” equation towards work and careers, improving employee satisfaction and productivity.

Improving culture to retain talent

In fact, poor workplace culture has been found to be the greatest factor pushing employees out of the door – both physical and virtual – during the Great Resignation. A MIT study found nearly two-thirds of employees listed corporate culture among the most important reasons they are with their current employers. A separate report found workplace culture to be 10 times more likely to contribute to an employee quitting than low pay.

Understanding how to cultivate a successful culture comes down to varying factors. Firstly, the best leaders create a culture that embraces flexibility and prioritises employee wellbeing. Hybrid work is not going anywhere, and research from YouGov and Microsoft recently revealed how more than half of workers who currently have the option mix remote and in-office working would quit their job if the choice for hybrid was removed.

Closing the gap between leadership and management

A part of successfully embracing hybrid work requires business leaders to equip their managers with the resources and training they need to manage their hybrid work environment. Not only will this improve employee retention, but can help to gain a competitive advantage, access talent anywhere and build a thriving organisation and drive long-term growth.

In Microsoft’s recent study, 74 per cent of managers say they don’t have the influence or resources to make change for employees, while 54 per cent say leadership is out of touch with employees. Managers may struggle to fully embody an organisation’s culture and act as the bridge between employees and leaders. Once this employer-employee connection is fixed, organisations can begin to focus on the other facets of organisational culture that influence employee happiness, productivity, and retention.

The importance of knowledge sharing

Remote work has meant employees are having a much more difficult time fostering significant relationships with their co-workers, and as a result, social capital is depleted. To combat this, leaders should invest in technologies which can bridge the gap between the physical and digital worlds. Microsoft is committed to equipping organisations with the tools they need to help close this gap, like Microsoft Viva, smart cameras, speakers and displays, which can ensure remote employees feel included in hybrid meetings and managers feel connected to their workforce. Outside of this, company-organised social events and activities that strengthen team relationships and bonding are paramount, even if virtual, in helping employees’ feel embedded into the culture of their organisation.

Linked to this disconnect between in-person and remote employees is a growing concern over equitable career opportunities. Many in the workforce fear that hybrid working may favour those who are more present in the office and there are also concerns that they may find faster career development pathways as a result of presenteeism. Factors such as benefits, which are twice as important as compensation for employees, learning and development, feeling respected and having purpose, can have positive impact on your organisation.

Additionally, a report from McKinsey even showed how ensuring a free flow of information across company networks, through solutions including Microsoft Viva Connections, can have a positive effect on company culture. Viva Connections brings everyone within your organisation together in the flow of work, and support employees in finding news, conversations and resources they need to do their job – all in one place.

Every business has a brilliant opportunity to work out what their hybrid organisation looks like. Central to the success of this will be access to technology, to equip managers with data-led decisions to cement a successful hybrid strategy and retain, attract, and engage employees in the process.

To learn more about this topic, click here to take part in HRD’s latest research conducted in partnership with Microsoft. 


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