How to Assess the Effectiveness of Your Hybrid Work Approach
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Organizations are embracing hybrid work at an increasing rate, but the effectiveness of that implementation is a work in progress. While research and best practices have emerged, true understanding will take time.
The right implementation of hybrid work is context-dependent, varying by industry, job type, and leadership. What truly matters is finding the right implementation for your organization.
Most organizations are a year or two into their hybrid work models, so it's time for reflection. How well is hybrid work working for your organization? A comprehensive review will help organizations adapt their approach and make hybrid work optimal for both them and their employees.
Key questions for a hybrid work review include:
- Are initial objectives being met?
- How do employees experience hybrid work?
- What is hybrid work’s impact on productivity, performance, and innovation?
- Is the current approach optimal, and where can it be improved?
In this article, we'll take a closer look at exactly how you can go about assessing the effectiveness of your hybrid work approach.
3 Ways to Assess the Effectiveness of Your Hybrid Work Strategy
There are several different channels to invest in to review your hybrid work approach. The combination of these channels will yield a robust sense of how your hybrid work approach is faring and where there might be opportunities for improvement.
Voice of Employees
You can access employee perspectives via surveys, focus groups, or interviews. A survey can be quick and accessible – just ensure you provide space for open-text responses to obtain detailed feedback.
Ideally, surveys should cover the following topic areas:
- What is working well about hybrid work in the organization?
- What is not working well or needs to change?
- How can the organization’s approach to hybrid work be improved?
- How can the organization support employees more effectively to facilitate hybrid work?
Make sure you ask the right segmentation questions so you can differentiate feedback between parts of the organization, managers and non-managers, and workforce demographics. Additionally, tailor questions to elicit insights specific to different groups, such as understanding unique perspectives from managers, non-managers, or employees with diverse demographics.
Focus groups require a greater time commitment but can provide rich data and allow in-depth insights to be explored. They can also provide a voice for groups of employees who might have specific insights, such as employee representatives, disabled employees, parents, caregivers, or new starters to the organization.
1:1 interviews with a representative selection of senior leaders can also add to the qualitative data, providing insight into how hybrid is perceived at the top of the organization.
People managers are a key constituency where going deep into their hybrid work experience is valuable. Key areas you will want to understand:
- What do they find easy and difficult about managing a hybrid team?
- What support or guidance would help them improve their skills and become better hybrid managers?
- How do they perceive hybrid work to be influencing communication and collaboration in their teams, as well as productivity and performance?
Identify manager training and support needs and how they would best like to address them. Additionally, recognize that managers are both team leaders and members of another leader’s team. Investigate the unique challenges and insights that arise for managers in both roles. Understanding this dual perspective can provide a more comprehensive understanding of the impact of hybrid work on leadership dynamics and team management
Data and Key Performance Indicators
In addition to employee and manager feedback, your organization will have other valuable data sources. This could include:
- Productivity metrics
- Performance against KPIs
- Customer satisfaction trends
- Recruitment win rate
- Retention rate
- Office space utilization
Incorporating this data will tie employee and manager sentiment to actual business performance. This is critical to achieve a holistic picture of the state of hybrid work.
Conducting the Hybrid Work Review
Here’s a rough outline you can follow to map out your hybrid work review:
Determine scope and objectives for the review. In this step, you should also outline the project timeline, which channels you will invest in for feedback and key data sources. It is also valuable to identify explicitly what is out of scope for the purposes of the review.
Communicate the purpose of the review. Explain clearly to employees why the hybrid work review is taking place and how they will be involved. Upfront clarity is valuable to set expectations and elicit honest feedback.
Collect and analyze data. Marrying the quantitative data from KPI analysis with survey feedback will highlight areas that merit deeper investigation. In qualitative data, such as the comments from focus groups or 1:1 interviews, look out for key themes emerging from employee comments. Identify factors or practices that contribute to the success of the hybrid work model and review the suggestions for improvement to determine the most viable and realistic ones.
Create your action plan. After the data analysis should come the action plan – what will your organization do differently as a result of the feedback, and when will you do it? Do any policies need to change? Which employee ideas will be taken forward from the employee feedback? Determine budgets and gain any necessary executive agreement.
Share outcomes. Communicate key findings to all employees, along with the agreed steps that will be taken in response. This will help employees know that you have listened to their voices and what will be done as a result.
The Time to Review Your Approach is Now!
Hybrid work is a promising but complex operating model. Now that you’ve amassed valuable data from operating hybrid, it's an ideal time to kick off a review.
At the same time, it's crucial to remember that listening and reflecting should not be a one-off endeavor. Ongoing monitoring and feedback collection are vital for ensuring the long-term success of hybrid work and maintaining an agile approach.
About the Author
Gemma Dale is an experienced HR professional, a Chartered Fellow of the CIPD and Fellow of the HEA. She is a senior lecturer in the Business School at Liverpool John Moores University where she is currently researching remote work and wellbeing.
When she is not working at the University, Gemma runs The Work Consultancy where she focuses on flexible and hybrid working, leadership development and HR consultancy. Gemma was one of the 'Most Influential Thinkers in HR' in 2021 and 2022.
Gemma is a qualified mediator and coach, and a regular speaker and writer on a variety of HR topics including employee engagement, flexible and hybrid working, and wellbeing. Gemma is the author of ‘Flexible Working’ and ‘How to Work Remotely’ published by Kogan Page. You can find Gemma on Twitter @HR_Gem and on LinkedIn.
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