Paradigm shift in work culture and employee engagement

Introduction:

Every dark cloud has a silver lining! But very often, we become so busy counting the negatives that we completely overlook on the positives. Covid pandemic is one such dark cloud which has its positives too. Now, there is a whole lot of change happening on the HR front post-covid. A paradigm shift in the work culture and employee engagement is one of them. HR is not only about helping the company, but it also revolves around helping the employees too and making them comfortable so as to increase their overall productivity in a win-win manner. The way in which the employee is treated at his/her workplace speaks a lot about the company culture.

What is changing?

The major shift is in the way employees look at the concept of flexibility i.e., the ‘Hybrid’ culture. Employees have begun to see flexibility as a need-to-have and not as a nice-to-have work culture. LinkedIn saw a 5x hike in ‘remote job’ posting.

A staggering 86% professionals believe that a hybrid working model is essential for maintaining ‘Work-life balance’ as per LinkedIn Future of Work study of 2021.

As per another study, a whopping 52% of India’s workforce believes that work-life balance is just as important as their salary.

Accommodating the employees’ choice, many a company is trying to adjust their workplace to breed a hybrid working model. As per the Chief People Officer at Persistent Systems — Sameer Bendre, both the company as well as the workforce will have to learn to adopt and appreciate each other’s point of view. However, going hybrid comes with its own pros and cons and it becomes essential to strike a balance between the two!

Employers v/s Employees:

As per a McKinsey report, more than 75% of C-suite executives expect a ‘core’ employee to be present at office at least 3 days a week. Many believe that the work from home culture is indeed effective as far as working hours and savings in travelling time go, but it hurt organizational culture and lowers a sense of belonging with the organization. While surveying the employees, more than 50% employees want at least 3 days of remote working.

If the hybrid working model is left unchecked, a potential threat of burnout will arise. Employers need to follow an agile approach; wherein timely surveys need to be done for all employees and proper analytics needs to be considered before reaching any conclusion.

Sustaining the company culture:

Challenges are the charm of life! One such challenge is to manage the workforce while adopting a hybrid work-model. During pre-covid times, there used to be a plethora of employee engagement activities and that added productivity to the work. But going virtual has not only axed down the physical activities, but also made it difficult to socialize. Of course, the workforce meets online but the socializing is limited to seeing each other in small boxes on the screen. In case of a hybrid work mode, it is very difficult for all employees to gather at the same time for a work-related or leisure activity. The precious bonding over a lunch or coffee is highly missed by the employees. Moreover, a hybrid model disturbs the daily routine of an employee, making it difficult to remain efficient at their fullest potential.

A company culture is all about its human assets. Training these resources is of the utmost importance in order to align their goals with the company’s goals. A hybrid work culture comes with its own set of positives as well. For some employees as well as the employers, it may be a boon and some might look it as a bane. It has become a new Key Responsibility Area in the HR personnel’s job description to make each and every individual aware about the company culture and further retain the same.

What are the companies doing?

The companies are dropping ‘One size fit all’ hat and donning ‘Customized’ hat working on building customized HR policies to suit to the new normal while working on better ways of employee engagement . The new-age startups are especially enthusiastic about exceeding employee expectations by adopting employee-friendly policies. Some examples here include Innovaccer, Licious, Instamojo, etc.

Ashish Singh, the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) at Meesho believes that the new-age talent is quite different from the older generation in terms of their thought processes and work as well as personal requirements. What worked for the company until now may not work in future and that is why the policies are tailor-made to suit the changing requirements.

Tata Consultancy Services has already announced its commitment to a 25x25 model, wherein no more than 25% of the total workforce will be required to work from office at any given point of time, and an employee would not need to spend more than 25% of his/her time at office by the year 2025.

Conclusion:

While we may have lost much during Covid period, we have also emerged as stronger, resilient and courageous. In spite of many challenges related to working environment, the companies around the world have changed the way of managing things and have set a great precedent. What we can definitely say is that the hybrid culture is here to stay!

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Ankita Agrawal

Ankita Agrawal

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