We touch on some of the most important issues for businesses across all industries – mental health, hybrid working, mentoring, leadership and learning, to name a few.
How can organizations strike the balance between keeping clients happy, and their team engaged during a move to a hybrid model of working?
I think engagement in the remote world is much harder – it needs a lot of thought and planning.
There’s an opportunity as an employer to capitalize on when people are in the office and try to create culture that way. But I think on the second part of that question, the engagement really needs to be mostly centered around the remote environment.
If you have a very flexible, hybrid model policy, you need clear communication; that’s important for engagement.
In terms of the actual team, engagement is about structure. What most people truly, really want right now is transparency so that they can plan, because there’s nothing worse than if everything’s up in the air, and you can’t make decisions.
Businesses are rotating teams back in the office. There’s a mix between mentors and mentees. A lot of mentoring happens face to face and in-person learning is also very important. How can you structure the return to the office so that the right people are in at the right time?
There’s no one size fits all type of solution, right?
I think you have to think about where people can cross-collaborate and gain mentorship. I think there’s been a trend leaning towards more informal mentorship, learning as you go, open door policies, which is great.
That’s how you’re going to really create a successful mentorship program that’s going to grow and develop people: more access to online learning programs, webinars, where people can access in their own time, and move to a more virtual training-led, connected environment.
How can companies ensure that in a remote-only environment that young people are still motivated and they aren’t falling behind?
When speaking to very junior lawyers, partners do have concerns about what their training has been like, because it hasn’t been [the same] as you would get in an office setting.
Obviously, in big organizations that can sometimes be easier than smaller organizations, but it’s about having those structured sessions.
The motivation piece is a major issue, because I think [for] Millennials in particular and Gen Z as well, their motivations are more about the cause, so if you’ve got a strong message internally about why are we doing this [and] what is our goal, I think all of that will help with motivation.
The other thing as well is recognizing that people have been working successfully through the pandemic remotely. Nothing’s changed there. And if you come at trying to come back into a hybrid model, or try to get back to how things used to be, that’s going to increase attrition in your organization, because there’s a lot of choice now for people, especially at the moment in terms of changing jobs and opportunities.
It’s about being creative with the way that you’re coming back [to the office] and trying to deliver training and development, and making sure you ask people what they want; you need those conversations, that transparency.
Remote working has enabled a lot of cost savings across many organizations. If you were to reallocate that spending to best future-proof your business and its people development, where would you do that?
The key things that stand out are money for the best technology, mental health support, and events that can bring people together.
I think if you’re redirecting those savings elsewhere, those are the three things that are really going to make sure you keep a strong culture, and therefore keep retention high, because I think that’s that’s the battle people are going to have over the next couple of years; it’s such a hot talent market.
Cost saving is great for any kind of business, but I think that there’s a natural tension if people don’t see some of those cost savings coming through.
And even if things return to normal, people are making lifestyle choices and decisions, and you want to make sure that mental health is supported, not only because there’s an increase in awareness of it recently, but also because I think it’s going to be compounded by the way that we’re working.
And then, events; reasons to celebrate. Fun holiday parties, team building events that everybody should attend in person that can bring people together. That’s how you’re going to keep your culture alive. Those are some ways you can use that money. I think that would be good.