A record-breaking 4.4 million Americans quit their jobs this September, according to a report released this month by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Meanwhile, 55 percent of Americans who are already in the workforce are actively looking for a new job, according to a survey by Bankrate. In this moment, millions of workers are reevaluating what they want in an employer, which LinkedIn CEO Ryan Rolansky has referred to as the Great Reshuffle. Faced with 10.4 million unfilled jobs across industries, companies across the country are now experimenting with variations of a hybrid work model in order to stay ahead of the competition, combat talent shortages, and retain existing employees.
The Value of Hybrid Work
The case is strong for adopting a hybrid work model. Research shows that offering flexible work policies is essential in attracting new candidates and retaining existing employees. According to Future Forum’s latest Pulse Report, 76 percent of employees want flexibility in where they work, while a survey by Envoy and Wakefield shows that 47 percent of employees will look for a new job if their employer doesn't adopt a flexible working model. Indeed, a flexible work model can increase employee satisfaction, improve work-life balance, enhance collaboration, and ease employee concerns about health and safety—all while empowering companies to hire qualified talent from all over the world. Future Forum also suggests that adopting flexible work policies can improve employee satisfaction amongst diverse workers, with the desire for hybrid work being strongest among women, employees of color, and working parents.
In other words, going hybrid can empower you to create a positive experience for new candidates and current employees. With that in mind, here are three ways to attract and retain qualified candidates while operating under a hybrid work model.
Attracting and Retaining a Hybrid Workforce
Set Clear Expectations for Hybrid Work
There are endless ways in which workers can split up a 40-hour work week, but showcasing what hybrid work looks like at your company will enable you to build up your brand as an employer who has truly embraced hybrid work trends. More importantly, being upfront about your hybrid work policies from the start will help you attract candidates whose expectations closely align with your promise of a flexible workplace.
Companies adopting a hybrid work model will benefit from setting clear expectations regarding the level of flexibility they offer—starting with hybrid job descriptions. Every job description should be revised to include clear and consistent messaging surrounding how your hybrid work policy affects the role. If, for a given position, the employee can telecommute 100% of the time, highlight that in the job description. For each role, define what the “on” hours are for working remotely and make sure to specify what time zone the employee should adhere to. For roles that may sometimes require the employee to show up in-person, detail those obligations. Here are just a few things to think about: What is the minimum number of days per week you expect them to be physically present? What aspects of the role will have to be handled onsite? If a role isn’t fit for telecommuting at all, communicate that.
For existing employees, always encourage managers to set clear guidelines for work hours, place of work, and remote communication methods. Aside from this, remember that not everyone will need the same work schedule. To accommodate more flexible ways of working as well as every employee’s personal needs, you might consider allowing teams and individuals to negotiate custom hybrid work schedules—just be sure to articulate how team guidelines and your company’s hybrid work policies should be integrated within these schedules. Finally, remember to regularly get input from your workers. Employee satisfaction and knowing what employees value are at the core of retaining a hybrid workforce. Therefore, managers need to gather employee feedback and insights on the current work schedules through one-on-one time or surveys.
Refocus Your Employee Benefits and Perks
As companies navigate the future of work, they’re getting creative with the benefits and perks they can offer to a distributed workforce. The Zebra, an Austin-based insurance comparison startup, has offered to cover pet adoption fees for its employees. Every month, employees working for the dating app Hinge receive $100 stipend to spend on dates.
Indeed, the Great Reshuffle presents an opportunity for leaders to attract and re-engage employees with benefits and perks that support life inside and outside of the office. In today's candidate-driven market, an all-inclusive benefits package will give organizations the competitive edge they need to attract and retain talent. Many companies are now offering unlimited PTO, paid family leave to support all parents, and credits for in-person and virtual wellness and fitness sessions. At the same time, virtual team activities like happy hours, cooking and mixology classes, and digital escape rooms can enable remote and in-person teams to reconnect. Reimbursements or stipends for childcare, eldercare, pet care, and cleaning services may empower employees to maintain a better work-life balance. Additionally, offering opportunities for employees to visit your various locations can encourage remote employees to show up in-person. Companies can also leverage care packages and company swag to create a sense of togetherness and increase employee appreciation.
Companies exploring a hybrid work model also need to refocus their benefits offerings to ensure that in-office perks are recreated for remote workers. One way companies have been attracting hybrid talent is by offering commuter stipends to those showing up at the office and home office reimbursements and coworking allowances for those who aren’t. In the place of catered lunches, some companies have been offering meal delivery stipends for remote workers, while others are offering customized snack boxes in place of a fully-stocked workplace kitchen.
Create a Workspace that People Want to Go to
If employers want to attract and retain a qualified hybrid workforce, they’ll need to make the office a safe and exciting workplace. A positive onsite experience will give you something else to brag about on your careers page, and give current employees something to rave about in their reviews of your company—thus making your company more attractive to potential candidates.
Facilitate Opportunities for Human Connection
Unsurprisingly, what many workers miss most about being in the office is interacting with their colleagues in-person. Opportunities for colleagues to meet face-to-face and refresh working relationships can be a great motivator for returning onsite. Consider organizing catered breakfast or lunches, as well as office parties and happy hours to create a vibrant onsite experience. You could even host your next company-wide meeting onsite and offer travel and hotel reimbursements for employees who don’t live within the area.
Another way for employees to reset relationships with their colleagues is through mentor programs and on-site skills training sessions. Mentoring and training programs can help employees feel connected to each other, while integrating personal and professional development opportunities into your workplace culture. It is important to accommodate remote employees who can’t travel onsite by making available recordings of training sessions, as well as the option to participate in mentor programs virtually.
Offer Amenities that Matter in a Post-COVID Workspace
A clean and safe workspace that also inspires collaboration and human connection is likely to attract employees and candidates alike. Workspaces should be reorganized to include socially-distanced work stations, while masks, hand sanitizers, and disinfecting wipes should be placed in convenient locations. In addition to being provided with a safe work environment, employees should be outfitted with the appropriate equipment for collaborating with their remote colleagues—for example, high-speed WiFi, a second monitor, video conferencing lighting kits, and so on. To keep your workers synchronized, consider offering home office reimbursements to remote workers so that they can have access to similar equipment. Lastly, reconfigure your workplace to include common spaces and open areas that foster collaboration and human connection.
Once you have defined what hybrid work means at your organization, reevaluated your benefits and perks, and created a workspace that successfully bridges remote and in-person work, you’re on the course to attracting and retaining a hybrid workforce composed of the best candidates out there. At LevelUP, our talent specialists are well-versed in comprehensive sourcing strategies targeted to quality candidate slates. Click here to connect with us today.