EngagementEmployee EngagementFrom surviving to thriving – creating a culture to empower employees in a hybrid world

From surviving to thriving – creating a culture to empower employees in a hybrid world

Microsoft stresses how successful hybrid working strategies can result in greater employee empowerment, highlighting tools available to business leaders

Organisations today are understanding that employees desire the flexibility associated with remote and hybrid working with the benefits of being located within an office space. As a result, employees have become empowered and learning how to set and maintain boundaries which are clear and focused, and employers need to ensure they can deliver on employees’ new expectations and understand what it is that employees are looking for a job to provide.

Culture change had traditionally been an iterative gradual process, taking years to gain pace and longer to cement. Today, employees are well versed in rapid organisational change and have unearthed a strong opportunity for leadership to rethink their ways of working and deliver on the promise of hybrid.

There are strategic moves HR leaders can make to accelerate culture change rapidly and deliver on their evolved expectations and help employees thrive in the workplace.

1: Embrace and embed flexibility to prioritise wellbeing

The velocity of change and uncertainty seen recently has driven us all to shift our priorities, alter our worldview and take a more holistic approach to life and work. With this underpinning the “worth it” equation, employees are now more eager to actively prioritise time with family and friends, or looking after their own health and wellbeing, over time spent working.

Acknowledging that this can mean different things to everyone, delivering true flexibility through hybrid working is fundamental to offering employees a rhythm and routine that makes sense within their new context and priorities. Given the scale of change and commitment we have seen to these priorities, and a heightened willingness to act on them, organisations need to go much further than they have before with facilitating flexible working, integrating the approach into their operations, and making sure their organisation is designed to accommodate and take advantage of everything this approach has to offer.

In practice this means making sure the promise of hybrid work is not an endpoint, posted alongside travel insurance and share schemes as a HR perk, but is an organisation-wide way of doing business. Designing spaces to facilitate hybrid meetings, ensuring managers buy-in to facilitating hybrid employees and delivering training on how to communicate and operate in a hybrid world are all options for organisations seeking to facilitate an approach to hybrid that enables an enriching and flexible organisational culture.

2: Listen to managers and act on their insight

An important lesson of the past two years is that managers embody and instantiate the culture for every organisation. Managers are a critical bridge between evolving employee expectations and leadership priorities, yet many feel disenfranchised, stuck between the competing demands of employees and leaders.

With an acute awareness of the new “worth it” equation employees are calculating, managers know what changes need to be made and which priorities need to be shifted. Unfortunately, 74% revealed that they do not have access to the influence or resource needed to drive this change.

If empowered, they hold the key to unlocking the potential of hybrid work and driving the culture change needed to empower and retain employees. To deliver this, leaders must equip managers with the skills and resources they need to manage the transition, while continuously listening to their concerns and creating spaces for the elevation of employee feedback.

3: Use technology to support employee needs

For organisations looking to drive the positive culture and deliver the flexibility employees are demanding, the tools that facilitate hybrid working need to be seamless and expansive, covering the fundamentals of remote collaboration and expanding to support the complexities of flexible working. This includes our employee experience solution, Microsoft Viva, alongside Microsoft 365 product solutions including Teams to help enhance collaboration and drive better business outcomes.

Driven by insight and understanding of flexible working, Microsoft Viva was built for the hybrid era to help accelerate this transformation with data-led insights. Employees who use Viva can find a collation of all the tools they need to learn new skills, connect with colleagues, and organise their workloads from one integrated platform. Supporting the workforce with specific opportunities identified with remote work, and delivering on the re-prioritisation of wellbeing, the platform integrates mindfulness routines to help employees segment work from life and uses AI-driven insights and recommendations to help leaders ensure their workforce is set up for success and thrives in the years to come.

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For more information on how employees are reprioritising what is important within the workplace, sign up to Microsoft and HRD’s forthcoming webinar here: The new employee “worth it” equation (on24.com)

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