Hybrid working has been the talk of the town ever since the pandemic struck. It feels now as if the same platitudes have been spinning around on repeat, with lots of chat not necessarily backed up with the action necessary to navigate the requirements of new ways of working.
While most companies are attempting to effectively pursue a hybrid model, fueled by both desire and necessity to evolve, many lack the necessary tools and data to effectively implement such a system.
A few companies are even reverting back to their pre-pandemic ways either because of old fashioned views or simply because it is an easier option.
With recent advancements in technology, we’ve seen widespread adoption of people analytics tools over recent years.
Especially as HR teams implement new ways of working, such as hybrid or fully remote, technology is now assisting these transitions.
We’re seeing HR and leadership teams embracing technology to support and inform their people strategy, but also to ensure that it’s appropriately aligned to their overall business objectives, data is absolutely central.
Why focus on data?
For many HR departments, data may already inform much of their operations, but when going through periods of change, it’s important to maximize the power of data.
The information often already exists, so instead, it’s about observing and capitalizing on that to dramatically improve decision making. The more data you compile and information you collect will naturally increase the accuracy of forecasting.
“Workplace Culture” is often seen as an intangible concept; something that is key to the business, to be championed and promoted, but not something that can be measured. However, data can shed light on the components of culture and how your business decisions impact these.
Data hosted on the cloud not only helps develop a clear understanding of the past, but also provides real-time information which can inform the hybrid business modelling of the future.
For example, it’s possible to build detailed profiles of team members who may be at risk of leaving prematurely by noting a drop in performance. Or, on a larger scale, it’s also possible to model the impacts of changes your organization has undergone on the overall employee experience.
Effects can be drilled down and measured from talent hiring and retention to employee engagement. The lessons learnt from this can help ensure accurate ‘future-casting’ for the business.
How to deploy your data-driven strategy
If you want your data driven strategy to align with your business objectives, get a picture of your people, their qualities, and skills within the existing workforce.
Ask yourself, what is it you want to achieve? What questions do you want to answer? What insights will you need?
This way, you can pinpoint the specific data required to achieve these goals and assess how it can be collected and analyzed.
With these insights, you’ll effectively be able to identify gaps that need to be filled, as well as the implications of this on your business and cultural infrastructure.
Fully aligning your company values to your data driven strategy is equally essential. From identifying training and development needs, to sourcing any necessary external help and expertise, the actions to building your hybrid working culture come with data driven insights at the very heart.
The impact on company culture
Using data to drive a culture-led hybrid organization will naturally reap rewards across the business.
With data to hand that clearly delineates skills, experiences, and attitudes of the existing workforce, it becomes possible to design a blueprint of your ideal candidate and the perfect cultural fit to maximize high performance and improve retention rates.
Additionally, data trends can highlight the need to diversify from the existing hiring pattern.
For example, data may show that your leadership team is dominated by men and that the company is still successful with this setup, but this obviously wouldn’t be a reason to recruit more men just because it seems to work.
In this case, the data presents an opportunity to diversify and improve on that success through updating existing cultural diversity policies and recognizing any biases potentially at risk of entrenching themselves in your organizational structure.
Therefore, these insights can be used to show what works within the existing workforce, as well as what needs changing to continually optimize your culture.
The impacts are mostly limited to building your hybrid workplace culture, but maintaining and constantly improving on it too.
Managers and HR leaders with access to real-time data can track employee progress, map it against individual goals, and use this to inform one-to-one meetings and ongoing feedback mechanisms in a virtual working environment.
When data powers feedback, any issues that arise can be ironed out in real-time before they develop into bigger problems for the business as a whole. Proactive performance feedback demonstrates a dedication to wellbeing and minimizing burnout, reduces internal conflict, and boosts team morale – especially at a time of rapid change.
Taking the time to understand what makes your employees tick and feeds a healthy workplace culture will cultivate that all-important sense of belonging amongst the workforce.
Even in a hybrid working environment, regular check-ins and mutual trust are vital to support employees and ensure that peak performance doesn’t come at the cost of widespread burnout, plummeting retention rates, and a damaged employer brand.
As businesses revisit their strategies to build a hybrid working culture, now is the time to revisit how employee satisfaction and productivity is measured.
It’s no longer just a social responsibility to make sure that your employees are well supported; a healthy workplace culture isn’t just a functional program within a wider business plan, instead it is inextricably linked to performance, engagement and the business’ bottom line.
CEO at StaffCircle
Mark Seemann is Founder and CEO of StaffCircle, the next generation HR software for managing all desk, non-desk and remote employees. He is a serial software entrepreneur with a 25-year track record launching and directing four Cloud software and telecommunication businesses, including founding his latest venture, StaffCircle, in 2017.