3 Ways to Use Digital Processes to Support Hybrid and Remote Workers
Most companies have embraced either short-or long-term hybrid work models.
A recent HR professionals survey conducted by MindEdge Learning and the HR Certification Institute (HRCI) found that 90% of respondents’ companies have implemented remote work programs.Regardless of whether they instituted their remote-work programs before the pandemic (26%) or in response to it (63%), it’s clear that most organizations have embraced partial or fully flexible work structures.
While there are many benefits of hybrid work — no commute, casual attire, easy access to the fridge— a lack of in-person office experience also has repercussions, especially for learning and training initiatives. With lim ited in-person access for learning and development opportunities, companies need to double down on offering remote resources and support to reskill, upskill, and guide the career development of an increasingly asynchronous workforce.
To manage their staff seamlessly, HR and business leaders need to understand how employees are learning and changing skill sets. Here are three ways leaders can do this.
1. Engage in Two-Way Communication With Employees
Traditionally, work-related communications trickle down from the C-suite and HR to managers and supervisors and then to the remaining employees.
But in these fast-changing times, business leaders need to focus on making business communications transparent and two-way. Doing so helps build trust among employees and also offers them insight into the big decisions that companies are making, such as office reopening plans.
For example, the MindEdge/HRCI survey found that, despite strong concern about employees’ health and safety, 81% of respondents whose companies had already reopened felt safe upon their return. This statistic may be attributed to strong internal communications around safety policies, like mandatory masks (73%), limited people in conference rooms (72%), and mandatory social distancing (69%).
At the same time, it’s equally important for business leaders to collect honest feedback from their employees.
Employee burnout and turnover are on the rise. 80% of survey respondents say they’ve seen increased burnout, and 54% note that turnover is higher than before the pandemic.
It’s a smart idea for companies to make it easy for employees to share ideas, praise, and grievances. Short online surveys are a simple solution because they provide quick, quantitative feedback to guide company actions, as long as company leadership is ready and willing to listen and respond to survey submissions.
2. Automate When Possible
The pandemic has accelerated the use of automation in the workplace. In a previous MindEdge survey , 52% of respondents reported that their companies increased the use of robotics or other forms of advanced automation in direct response to the COVID-19 crisis.
When people hear “automation,” they usually imagine a robot taking their job. However, this is typically not the case. Automating repetitive and menial administrative tasks can relieve employees from office drudgery and free them for more productive work.
By investing in automation, employers can also give time back to employees who may be stretched too thin, allowing them to use that time for reskilling and upskilling.
Further, if a job is task-oriented and requires project management among and between different teams and individuals, having a cross-functional project management platform increases visibility, accountability, and efficiency.
Instead of requiring each employee to send several emails out to coworkers when they complete a project, they could update a single status in a project management system. Colleagues could automatically share emails. That wouldn’t take away anyone’s job, but it would save a lot of time.
3. Invest in Online Learning and Training
Every employee should be allowed to upskill and reskill as their respective sector changes.
There are swaths of certifications, programs, badges, and degrees that employees can complete at a fraction of the cost of in-person training or a new university degree. These virtual options, especially when subsidized, can empower employees to be more successful in their roles.
Online courses have also evolved to encompass more than just technical skills. Today it’s possible to take courses and receive certifications in an array of interpersonal skills, such as business communication and change management. These “soft skills” are essential in a hybrid-work environment.
Online training will be more in-demand than ever, as employers hustle to narrow the skills gap and employees work to strengthen their skills and careers. The one seemingly obvious area would be training in remote work.
Companies that proactively help their employees deal with the stresses of remote work would seem to have a competitive advantage in the hunt for new talent. Yet, so far, few of them have seized that opportunity.
The MindEdge/HRCI survey found that 61% of respondents’ companies have not offered their employees any remote work training at all.
Learn More About How to Support Hybrid and Remote Workers
Every organization is unique and faces individual challenges, especially from sector to sector. However, early adoption of digital processes has the potential to enhance employee satisfaction and improve business results.
A forward-looking HR professional might want to start some conversations about these changes as a means to unlock business potential. This means listening to employee feedback and taking these learnings to the leadership teams as proof points to leverage change.
Additionally, make sure to have regular check-ins with decision-makers and managers to discuss implementing and launching new initiatives that serve employees naturally.
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