Branding hybrid work policies the latest challenge facing business


“We know the problems of flexible work, but we don’t necessarily know the solutions,” said Denise Rousseau, a professor of organisational behaviour and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University. “This is an opportunity for organisations to loosen the strictures they had in the past and say, ‘We are a different kind of organisation now’.”

Companies are seizing the opportunity in various ways. One common approach is a policy that provides flexibility, but not free rein. Take KPMG, whose leaders chose “Flex With Purpose” to emphasise that there should be a clear reason behind deciding to work remotely, in the office or at a client site.


“In the past we just got on planes and flew around the world,” said Sandy Torchia, KPMG’s vice chair of talent and culture. “Now we take a step back and say, what is the intention of this interaction?”

Other plans echo this theme, like Dutch recruitment firm Randstad NV’s “Flexibility with Intentionality”. Jennifer Nahrgang, a management professor at the University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business, favours this approach: “When people come into an office, they want a purpose. Time at home has a purpose, too.”

While Bank of America’s program doesn’t have a formal name, Chief Executive Officer Brian Moynihan has spoken about adding “more formality to the flexibility”. The challenge, according to University of Utah industrial and organisational psychology professor Joe Allen, is the tension created when leaders try to put structure on flexibility.

“It’s kind of a dissonant concept,” he said. “There is a worry, especially among leadership, that people will take advantage. The reality is, some will, but most won’t.”

Other approaches to hybrid work put employees more in the driver’s seat. Examples include Spotify’s “Your Work Mode” and financial-services firm TIAA’s “Work for My Day”. The upside to such names is they “create a sense of empowerment, so employees feel they have some control and autonomy”, according to Robyn Bachochin, a partner and senior communication consultant at Mercer, who works with companies on hybrid plans.

At 3M, about 75 per cent of non-manufacturing workers have chosen some type of hybrid or fully remote arrangement under the “Work Your Way” policy, according to Kathryn Coleman, the company’s senior vice president for talent, learning and insights. The model, rolled out in 2021, calls for employees to sit down with managers and determine how often they should be on-site or remote.

“It’s employee led, but if anything changes you have to have a different conversation,” Coleman said. Managers have the discretion to bring teams in from time to time for “moments that matter”, where in-person collaboration is key.


Not all of 3M’s 90,000 workers gets to work their way, though — those on production lines must make do with a more limited set of flex-work options, like shift swapping. And these individualised plans will only succeed if employees can have candid discussions with their managers about how they work best, and bosses need training on how to conduct these negotiations, which can change over time, Rousseau said. Those lessons could be harder to deliver as firms like Amazon, Twitter and others pare human-resources jobs.

Workers and bosses aren’t the only groups that matter when redefining work. Clients count, too. That’s partly why professional-services giant Accenture calls its plan “Omni-connected”. The common definition of hybrid “was not working for us or our clients”, said Ellyn Shook, chief leadership and human resources officer. They also wanted to avoid the word flexibility, as its meaning can vary widely. So the firm surveyed clients, employees and jobseekers, and CEO Julie Sweet distilled the findings into one all-encompassing word.

Amid all this branding, some companies prefer to play it straight. At Cisco Systems, job site Indeed and other companies, hybrid work is just called hybrid work. “I am a big fan of calling it what it is,” said Mercer’s Bochochin. “Employees can be cynical, so when you name it, they might think it’s just the flavour of the day.”


Source link

Denial of responsibility! Planetconcerns is an automatic aggregator around the global media. All the content are available free on Internet. We have just arranged it in one platform for educational purpose only. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials on our website, please contact us by email – [email protected]. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Leave a comment