How to Optimize the Employee Experience for a Hybrid Environment

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Tech talent wants hybrid work. Our 2022 Tech Employer Survey with Brandata found that remote and hybrid work are top considerations for 64 percent of professionals during their job search. Drilling down even further, around 35 percent of technology professionals would not accept a job if hybrid work were not offered.

 

However, setting up a hybrid workplace that caters to employees’ needs during all five stages of their employee experience — recruitment, onboarding, learning and development, retention and exit — is no easy feat.

 

In this story, we outline how you can build a hybrid structure that supports employees throughout every stage of the employee experience, and how getting feedback during those stages can help you further evolve your hybrid setup.

Recruitment

 

The recruitment stage of the employee experience is the first touch point a professional has with your business, and they don’t have to actually communicate with you to get that interaction.

 

Most candidates today want to know what a company’s remote/hybrid infrastructure is like before they apply for a role. They’re also interested in learning about a business’s culture and values.

 

Ask yourself, “Are we clearly communicating everything a candidate needs to know about our business?” If the answer is no, your passive candidate recruitment experience could improve. Spend time outlining your hybrid work policies and showcasing your culture throughout your public-facing online materials to improve transparency.

 

After a candidate hits “apply,” it’s time for the video interview. More than half of candidates wouldn’t apply for another role after having a bad experience with an organization’s hiring process, so getting the video interview right is vital.

 

Follow the steps from this BuiltIn.com story to get started on building an excellent remote interview plan:

A key element of remote interviewing that requires extra attention is showcasing company culture. Be proactive in highlighting your culture throughout the entire interview process to give candidates a sense of life at your company. Two out of three candidates believe interacting with current employees is the best way to get a sense of a potential employer. So schedule video conferences with various members of the team to discuss various elements that define your culture, your core values or what drives camaraderie.

 

 

Onboarding

 

An effective onboarding process can improve new hire retention by 82 percent and productivity by over 70 percent. And when done correctly, it’s possible to see these benefits with remote onboarding in your hybrid infrastructure.

 

Start your remote onboarding optimization in the same way you began the interview process: outline every step, asset and stakeholder in the process; assess, adopt and test tech tools; communicate steps and expectations to candidates; and be prepared to collect feedback at the end.

 

Not everyone learns the same, so train managers to investigate how their direct reports like to learn best and how frequently they want check-ins. Adapt your training programs to ensure that every learning style is catered to.

 

Also, use regularly scheduled remote skills assessments to gauge candidates’ progress toward full ramp up. Use performance indicators to keep track of how individuals are progressing through the onboarding sequence, not just in their role. Explain the intent behind each assessment and checkpoint to mitigate any unnecessary stress.

“Invest heavily in your company’s social groups and things based around related interests. Remind yourself that a lot of these connections happen naturally in an office environment, and think about how you can intentionally create moments that bond people,” said Alexander Wayman, director of sales enablement at G2.

Lastly, introduce new hires to the culture. Schedule meetings with department heads and others in the company they might not interact with regularly in a remote environment. Also, discuss the company’s social clubs, employee resource groups and engagement activities.

Learning and Development

 

Employee professional development should not falter because of a remote infrastructure. Roughly 60 percent of global businesses worldwide offer mandatory training and/or professional development for technical or soft skills. And 56 percent of developers say professional development is their reason for staying at their current role.

 

Businesses not investing in remote development can get started by first outlining all the available learning resources. Is there a learning stipend? If so, what can it be used for? Are there internal courses available? Showcase what’s possible then chat with employees around their learning goals and what the company can do to support them.

 

So many of today’s third-party learning resources are online-only, which makes remote development easier for hybrid teams. Invest in subscriptions to MasterClass or Udemy. Host company- or team-wide virtual training, lunch n’ learns and webinars. Or even set up a remote mentorship program.

 

No matter the method, employers need to offer and optimize a remote professional development program for team members to keep their skills sharp and engagement high.

 

Retention

 

Most of the employee experience lifecycle is in the retention stage. Here, employees are fully engulfed in both their work and culture; keeping both at 100 percent efficiency is vital to retention and there are many ways businesses can approach that goal.

 

Keeping an eye on professional and cultural engagement can be tough in a hybrid environment. So it’s important to regularly check in with employees via surveys and one-on-ones to assess their pain points, wins and what they’d like to see improve around the business. Conduct stay interviews with key performers to discover what they like about their role and what they would like to change. This re-recruiting tactic can give you the insights you need to evolve your employee experience and keep talent from exploring other opportunities.

Getting work done in a hybrid environment comes with specific challenges that teams must navigate. Knowing and solving for those hurdles is instrumental for retention. Based on our March 2022 survey with Brandata, below are the top five hybrid work challenges employees face today. Solving these will give employers a leg up in their retention efforts.

Investing in new employee benefits can also greatly increase engagement and ultimately retention.

Exit

 

Not every employee is a lifer at their company and people can leave a business for a wide variety of personal or professional reasons. The exit stage is the final segment of the employee experience and an exit interview can be a great way to find out the source of your turnover. These interviews are opportunities to collect honest feedback and constructive criticism about your workplace, benefits, salaries, culture and more, which you can then use to evolve what needs improving.

 

According to Harvard Business Review, it’s best to do exit interviews halfway between the announcement of resignation and the day of departure — the emotion of the resignation has passed and the employee is still engaged in their role. Ask questions that are both broad and employee-specific — all while keeping an eye on their comfort levels. Don’t be afraid to end the interview early if things are getting too emotional.

 

Once the interview is over, you can analyze and act on their feedback. Ideally, you’ll want to create a good enough experience where people would consider working for you again or they would refer others to work for you. Optimizing your hybrid workplace with the best of best practices is a great way to do just that.