- The demands of hybrid work have turned employers' attention to employee engagement — but many companies aren't ready for the changes this paradigm shift will require, according to a June report from Willis Towers Watson.
- Ninety-four percent of employers surveyed said that improving the employee experience will be a priority at their organizations in the next three years, a jump from 54% who said the same prior to the pandemic. Additionally, many expected one quarter of workers to blend onsite and remote work in the near future.
- Nearly 8 in 10 employers said that the new realities of the job market make hybrid work a requirement, but 52% of respondents are flexible about how and where work gets done, Willis Towers Watson said. Forty-nine percent are currently re-engineering career paths in response to the new way of work.
For better or worse, hybrid work has emerged as a key component of HR strategy moving into 2021 and beyond.
Employers shifted to overdrive when the pandemic hit, having to provide remote work furnishings — including technical support and, in some cases, flexible work hours, a Randstad study showed. But now that hybrid work may become a more permanent part of employment arrangements, organizations may need to revisit policies put into place in 2020 in order to prevent them from becoming "impractical," Gartner analysis said.
Tension is already emerging between manager expectations and employee desires, other surveys have shown. While 4% of employers surveyed by Littler in May estimated that most employees prefer to come back full time for in-person work, 28% said they expected to require such an arrangement regardless. Employers were wary about the management issues that could spring from a hybrid arrangement in which not everyone is in the same place.
However, experts caution making a blanket shift without serious attempts at experimentation with hybrid work. Trying a hybrid arrangement for a month and then declaring it a failure could deal a serious blow to employee morale, researchers previously told HR Dive. Such trial and error will require strong communication and transparency from leadership — something that could require its own kind of training.