People First is the New Normal Workplace

As the COVID-19 pandemic evolved, many companies and thought leaders started discussing the “new normal” and the “future of the workplace.” Perhaps, they began to evaluate the concept of people first.

What would the future of office spaces look like?

We spoke about hygienic measures, including distancing and private spaces.

Also, we talked about incorporating technology, changes in space utilization, and even adopting new equipment and fabrics using anti-bacterial materials.

Ultimately, the fundamental transformation in the workplace was not as physical as it was operational.

We believe physical workplaces will continue to evolve in the upcoming years. But, what does the new workplace look like?

Remote, Hybrid, or In-Person When We Talk About People First

Company strategies for The Great Reentry or RTO (return to office) varied widely by industry, location, and even managers and business unit leaders.

People First Highlight

Gone are the days of a strict Monday through Friday, 9 to 5 schedule with a daily commute.

Workplaces will be a mix of hybrid, remote and in-person moving forward. This is a critical factor to consider when choosing to stay in your current job or look for a new one.

Companies like Tesla might be a good fit for you if you are looking for entirely in-person. If you are on the other end of the spectrum, companies like Salesforce are ideal for your fully remote aspirations.

Luckily, there are thousands of options right in between.

Around 62% of employees aged 22 to 65 say they work remotely occasionally and 54% of employees who work at least some remotely say they would ideally like to split their time between working at home and in the office – a hybrid arrangement.

Remote_Hybrid_In_Person_When_We_Talk_About_People_First

Technology First

Workers worldwide proved that companies could survive and thrive (in many cases) with partial or fully remote operations. So, if your company can stay with remote workers and your employees ask for it, why not embrace it?

As we incorporate and continue developing our IT ecosystem, we suggest companies look for integrations and compatible digital tools.

We also recommend avoiding over-complex scenarios like linking Microsoft Forms to Microsoft Excel to Microsoft Projects and then wrapping it all up by exporting the data to Microsoft Excel once again –as one of our clients used to do before acquiring Murmuratto.

Good use of technology includes a design of the ecosystem, the tools, and the skills users will need to adopt them successfully.

Facing multiple tools for communication, companies and leaders should be proactive about setting expectations.

Some questions organizations should ask:

  • When should you use text messages, email, phone calls, or video calls to communicate?
  • When collaborating, what is the expected response time? Which platforms will be used?
  • How will we train employees to use and adopt them successfully?

Here’s a quick example of communication technology:

  1. Strategically choose the software tools. For example, identify the tools you need to
    • foster collaboration and communication and
    • execute your work more efficiently. Are they the same? Which tools should be the standard for your company? (e.g., Slack, Outlook, and Teams)
  2. Design or at least map out the process. Identify the different digital tools your team needs and how they will be used. Try to limit redundancies and unnecessary complexities.
  3. Training and Upskill. Pay attention and identify if your staff needs upskilling of soft or hard skills, additional training, or some support from the IT team.

People First Will Be the New Normal

PwC’s latest Global Workforce report on Hope and Fears for 2022 confirmed one of our worst fears: The Great Resignation is not over.

People First Highlight

1 in 5 employees is likely to look for a new job this year.

Employees have spoken loud and clear. With unions on the rise, resignations on the rise, and requests for higher salaries on the rise, a clear and proactive corporate strategy is needed.

We suggest those strategies include human-centric pillars, including employee enablement to allow your team to find ways to do a better job and get their work done more efficiently.

Companies using compensation as their pillar for attracting new employees have not been as successful as companies pursuing a more holistic value proposition.

This is a great moment to gather employee feedback and data on engagement and employee experience topics.

Some questions we would ask are:

  1. What does your team like about your company?
  2. Is there anything we can do better?
  3. Would they recommend your company as an excellent place to work to a friend or family member?

Establishing an employee engagement and experience measurement strategy is an excellent step in this new normal work environment. Rewards and recognition strategies have to be reimagined for the new workplace.

Conclusion

“By putting in place a full bundle of coordinated employment practices, you can attract and retain the best talent and use their skills and motivation to make your company successful.”

Thomas Kochan, Professor of Management at MIT Sloan.

Remember to be flexible and human-centric. Embrace technology but be strategic in its design, adoption, and everyday use. And finally, put people first.

Empower your team to do a great job and help improve things. This will lead to a better employee experience and higher employee engagement and help you build a better-performing team and company.

How much would your company improve if all employees contributed a slight monthly improvement?

Let us know your thoughts by commenting on this blog post!

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