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How hybrid working can help employee retention

To say there has been a lot of change over recent years would be a pretty sizeable understatement. The pandemic has been an enormous disrupter to our lives, to our work and to businesses throughout the world.

There we were, trundling along, doing our thing, and then along came a global pandemic that changed the way many of us live and work, possibly forever.

Such a gear shift has affected many businesses in a negative way, largely through losing custom and losing staff. Termed as the Great Resignation, businesses have seen unprecedented levels of employees leaving during 2021 and into 2022. According to the State of Hybrid Work 2022 study conducted by Owl Labs, 31% of office workers have changed jobs in the last two years. The reasons will inevitably vary from person to person but there will be running themes that emerge as the effects of the pandemic continue to ripple around the globe.    

When looking at what attracted people to new companies, the top reasons given included those that offer flexible hours, a shorter working week, and flexible locations. In fact, 37% of those surveyed said they would be put off a job if it didn’t offer flexibility.    

That’s quite a change to how we are used to operating and we seem to be moving into a new world of work, where the employee is at the heart of the company. It’s one where employees place increased value on other factors as well as pay and benefits, such as job security, flexibility, work-life balance, trustworthy leadership, and companies who listen to them. And while hybrid working was certainly nothing new when Covid came on the scene, it has been thrust into the limelight as we see the evolution of flexible and employee-centred working practices.

So now is the time to look to the future and focus on how best to recruit new talent and, crucially, how to retain your people.  

With such a premium placed on flexibility, hybrid working should be a key part of your employee retention strategy. In many ways, it’s a bit like the ‘multi-tool’ of employee retention, because it helps to address many factors with its flexible approach.    

Here are some of the ways adopting hybrid working as your business model can help you to hold on to your wonderful workers.‍

It helps to nurture wellbeing and balance

Research into work and working practices is increasingly showing the positive benefits that flexible working has on staff wellbeing and mental health, and it is fast becoming a key factor in how employees select the companies they wish to work for. Hybrid working as a business model can aid staff wellbeing and increase the work-life balance for people. It provides employees with much greater control over their working lives and lets them blend work with home in a way that recognises the significance of home life alongside the significance of working life.    

It gives your workforce flexibility

You don’t get much more flexible than hybrid working, but it’s just one part of a wider flexible working offer, which can encompass flexible locations, employee-centred hours, shorter working weeks, and the ability to fit work around everyday life so that family and personal commitments needn’t take a backseat. This is critical for today’s workforce and for retaining your staff. It says to your workers that their employer places value on flexibility for them and gives them that all important sense of security and belonging.

It fosters trusting working relationships

A workforce that trusts and believes in its leadership will stay with them. Leaders can demonstrate their trust in staff by offering flexibility, enabling them to have work-life balance and trusting them to perform their job well regardless of whether they are in the office or at home. In turn, staff are more likely to feel respectful of their managers and feel they can trust them to have their best interests at heart. It fosters loyalty both ways between managers and teams.  

It aids learning and skills development

We never stop learning. It is lifelong and vital for career progression. Staff want to be able to stay where they feel they have a future in a company, and where there is a clear commitment to their learning and skills development. Hybrid working offers the flexibility to undertake more learning than an office-only model can offer. Courses can be weaved in more flexibly to the working day and in suitable formats. And employees who are feeling well-balanced between work and home lives may also feel more receptive to their learning and able to fully concentrate.

It widens the pool of talent

We’re not talking recruiting staff from the other side of the world to join you in your office/home model, as it might be a bit tricky for them to do the office bit, but hybrid working certainly widens the pool of who you can attract. And not just geographically. Office-only business models are often limiting to employees whose lives don’t fit a working pattern that involves a daily commute to a workplace. People with caring commitments, parents and guardians of children, people who have health conditions that make the traditional business model impossible to do. Many lose out on valuable work hours, have to move jobs, or worse, leave work completely. Companies that recognise this and embrace flexibility become instantly attractive to many more people and the opportunities for both the employees and the company become endless.

And it keeps you ahead of the competition

With employees putting it at the top of their checklist when looking for work, companies who aren’t joining in the flexible fun may find themselves at a disadvantage in the marketplace.  Therefore, by adopting hybrid working, you are already positioning yourselves in a strong place for attracting and retain new team members.   So, food for thought. When creating or reviewing your employee retention plans, make sure to include hybrid working and flexible business models at their heart. And don’t forget there are many tools out there to help you manage this, including Team Today.  

Madeleine Thompson

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