Hybrid working has been a reality for many organisations for some time. For many, the focus has been on logistics and how often employees need to work in the office. Now is the time for HR leaders to finesse the finer details of the hybrid employee experience to ensure that, regardless of where or when an employee works, they are able to perform at their best and feel encouraged to stay.
In the world of customer experience, the term micro-moments or “moments that matter'' refers to small experiences customers have that play a significant role in shaping their perceptions of a brand. In our latest report, Reconfigured, Harriet Molyneaux, Managing Director of HSM, argues that the same principle applies to employee experience, particularly as companies experiment with new hybrid working models. “Although significant moments in the employee experience, such as how you were onboarded or when you got promoted really matter, the micro moments are also very important,” she says.
Engineering positive micromoments should be a priority when redesigning the employee experience for a hybrid working model because:
First impressions really count when starting a new role, and opinions formed during those formative few weeks or months are likely to shape the way an employee feels toward an employer in the long-term. In a hybrid working context, onboarding experiences are likely to be very different to those in a traditional office-based working model, for example, an increased reliance on digital tools for work and communication and fewer opportunities to meet managers or colleagues face-to-face. However, a hybrid onboarding experience can be very positive if planned well.
It goes without saying that employees need the tech and tools to carry out their role from the outset. If a new starter is not attending the office on their first day, their laptop, screen and other essential items should be shipped by the IT team to their home address well in advance of their first day. Clear and regular communications from HR are required to give IT the heads up of start dates and addresses. Delay with this can cause high levels of frustration and wasted time.
Ideally, the employee would have an opportunity to attend the office on their first day, with an itinerary of meet-and-greets with their team and representatives from the wider business. For those working remotely or in a different location, virtual meetings can be scheduled. It’s paramount to get these introductions established within the first few days for the employee to hit the ground running.
An onboarding buddy programme, where new starters are paired up with an experienced employee is a great way for them to access informal help and support, in addition to expanding their network within the organisation.
Adopting a hybrid working model requires rethinking the way that employees interact with their managers, and ensuring that managers have adequate training in how to get the best from their teams in this new context. New starters or junior hires may need more support than ever before to get to grips with their role and company culture due to fewer opportunities for face-to-face informal interactions and less learning by osmosis. Microsoft reports that new hires are 3.5 times more likely to report satisfaction if their managers play an active role early on.
In a recent interview with Actual Experience, Ray Berg, Managing Partner of law firm Osborne Clarke says that “Remote working has meant that juniors usually get more interaction with partners in our firm but it can be clunky because everything is in 30-minute blocks of digital meetings rather than the shorter, more informal chats that you can have more easily in an office,” says Mr Berg. “This changes the nature of line management and so it’s really important to adapt and have a consistent approach.”
Line managers should:
Hybrid workers will of course spend at least some time working from an office location. Therefore, management of office spaces should get as much thought and investment as the digital workplace.
Examples of negative micromoments in the office might include coming in to find no one there, or conversely arriving to find it full with no space to work. HR and operations teams need oversight of who is in the office and when to manage how it is used, ensuring staff have colleagues around them, available meeting rooms and quiet spaces to complete focus tasks when needed. Investing in an office management platform could streamline this process.
The increased reliance on digital tools, exacerbated by the mainstream adoption of hybrid working models, makes resolving tech issues more important than ever before for the employee experience. In our research, 58% of business leaders say that digital experience of technology is much more than just an IT issue.
Synergy between HR and IT teams, who once operated in silos, is now vital. HR teams should use regular pulse surveys and encourage line managers to check in to ensure that employees have access to the tools they need. HR should immediately communicate any issues to IT who can promptly troubleshoot and fix them.
For more insight and guidance on preparing your organisation for hybrid working, read our latest report.