With the great workplace reset picking up real speed now, the HR department is making a dramatic shift from its traditional tactical base to a pivotal strategic role.
No wonder – the success of implementing new modes of hybrid working rests firmly on strategies that focus on core HR functions:
- Accessing labor markets
- Managing compliance issues
- Creating cultures of engagement, wellbeing and respect.
It’s not just a job for HR, of course. They need to work in synch with other departments – IT, facilities and real estate – to make it work and create a successful people-centric environment. It’s also crucial to engage with the C-suite to ensure everyone is moving in the right direction.
The workplace is a sophisticated organism, with these key drivers for workplace change:
Many employers are still keen to see a return of all their staff to the office – despite the gains that employees are enjoying because of hybrid working.
It can be a risky management position, as Ian Nicholas, global managing director at employment agency Reed says: “The restrictions of Covid are, of course, a thing of the past, and many companies are considering, or have already decided, to revert to those traditional, office-based working models.
“However, we believe that by doing so, they could be making themselves less attractive to both existing employees and potential new recruits, who have become accustomed to at least some degree of homeworking – and are unwilling to give that up.”
HR professionals need to walk the delicate tightrope between C-suite mandates and what will actually produce positive outcomes for the staff and ultimately the business.
Diversity, equity and inclusion are increasingly important factors in terms of attracting Generation Z staff. They are the most diverse generation in history with 48% of Gen Z identifying as non-white.
Increasingly, this is a major area of focus for HR professionals with a recent survey finding that it was the third most cited activity within HR’s remit.
Cross-functional decision making
Hybrid working success is a holistic process. The Gartner Market Guide to Workplace Experience Solutions has this to say:
“By 2024, organizations with a persistent cross-functional team tasked with workplace experience strategy will be 80% more likely to have high employee satisfaction with the workplace.”
HR needs to work with other teams, such as IT, if they are to retain and grow talent while achieving the goal of creating an overarching great employee experience. Developing a list of the application capabilities they will need to support their organizational goals for the role of the office in their hybrid workplace strategy is a key first step.”
In the hybrid workplace, creating a collaborative and productive environment can be challenging. Proximity bias can unfairly impact those who are working remotely.
A solution is to create neighborhoods. Organizations need to nurture diverse neighborhoods in their workplace as a way to communicate their values and shift their culture. The workplace must give staff the same energy and connection they would feel sitting in a café, or the same level of quiet they experience in their library or their own home
How the new breed of technology can help
As the needs of the hybrid workplace are evolving, workplace leaders are looking for more than desk and room booking solutions for organizing the working day. A more sophisticated and integrated approach is needed.
Solutions such as Rendezvous are a new breed of workplace experience application offering:
Mobile-first technology – Rendezvous simplifies room and desk booking. With a few taps and pinches an employee can organize their whole day or week. Thanks to Outlook integration, all bookings are recorded in their calendar.
Accurate management information – make informed decisions based on actual real-time occupancy and utilization figures using sensor technology. Pinpoint key trends and make data-driven decisions on how best to use space.
Service provision – organize refreshments and AV straight from the app. Additional service requests – such as maintenance – can be called from the dedicated Service Tracker or from digital room panels.
People finding – see on an easy-to-use floorplan when your colleagues are going to be in the office. Reduce uncertainty in these uncertain times.
Designed for hybrid meetings – integration with Teams, Zoom and Webex enables staff to book and execute videoconference with ease – even across multiple time zones.
Neighborhood booking – our new employee engagement features enable managers increased flexibility in booking desks for their team members while also speeding up the process of creating work rotas – often a tedious process for HR.
An integrated approach – Rendezvous is built on a holistic design philosophy. It integrates with occupancy sensors, digital signage, VC, access control, visitor management, QR and RFID access to create a wonderful return on investment.
This infographic from Gartner explains how this new breed of workplace management software works:
Talent is at the heart of every organization’s success. It’s time for HR to take a well-deserved seat at the table where the long-term strategic decisions about people are made.
Partnerships with other members of the executive team are critical to making this a success. Creating successfully working neighborhoods, for example, is also going to take input from real estate, design and IT to make them a reality.
So pull up a chair, HR, and join the top decision makers. Because in the end, as any good CEO knows, the success of your people is ultimately the success of the whole business.
Check our Great Reset video for more tips and ideas on creating a great employee experience
*HR Technology Management Maturity Assessment Report, 2023