January 15th, 2021

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A 5-Minute Return-To-Work Plan For HR Leaders

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It's tricky to know what defines HR success in workplace experiences when the workforce is remote and circumstances are constantly changing.

You may wonder how you can measure success this month, this quarter, or even for the year, when there's still so much left unknown.

Most human resources (HR) leaders are working around the clock to get the data they need to better support employees. But at a time when the workforce is distributed and hiring has slowed down, using traditional HR metrics alone could hold you back.

Let's talk about how to measure success in 2021 — even if you're not sure what this year will hold.

Maybe you’ve seen Napolean Hill’s famous quote about opportunity, from his book "Think and Grow Rich:"

“Opportunity has a sly habit of slipping in by the back door, and often it comes disguised in the form of misfortune, or temporary defeat.”

 

Here's your current opportunity: build organizational resilience by improving your employees’ experience and driving value to the business.

That's what success looks like in 2021, and here are the HR metrics and technology you need to measure it.

Help employees thrive

It’s hard to quantify the exact value of certain metrics, but there's an abundance of research showing the positive correlation between a happy workforce and strong business performance.

Your HR technology should give you the ability to take a holistic look at the factors that affect productivity.

Here's how to have a positive impact on employee performance.

Employee performance

Productivity has always been a top concern for leaders. And the shift to full-time remote work put employee performance under an even bigger spotlight.

According to research by Predictive Index, the number of executives who cited employee performance as a top concern rose to 56% in 2020, a significant increase from 36% the year prior. 

But reduced performance and productivity is usually a symptom, not a cause. The real concern should be engaging your employees.

And you can’t build resilience in an organization that’s not engaged.

Keep an eye on the HR metrics that will help you reinforce business priorities as you promote a better, happier workplace experience.

Employee expectations

Employee expectations are a good indication of things to come.

Make sure they know what their options are, how you’ll support them, what the process will be like when things open up again, and how they can come back into the office if and when they do feel comfortable.

The best HR technology will include an employee experience app that allows you to communicate with employees and ask for their feedback, without being lost in their inbox.

For example, you could send out a survey through the app and ask your employees what they think about your return policy, if they feel safe, and how often they want to work in the office. 

To be successful, you need to keep a pulse on employee sentiments and align your HR strategy with their needs and preferences. 

Support greater flexibility

Contrary to fears prior to the pandemic, working remotely wasn’t the end of productivity.

In fact, recent research from Gallup shows that engaged employees with job flexibility typically put in more hours of work every week.

It turns out, working from home full-time isn't what everyone wants. Some employees are reporting high levels of burnout in the aftermath of COVID-19.

Choose HR technology that enables you to promote greater levels of engagement and connection wherever your employees will be working this year.

Employee satisfaction

As leading organizations continue to prioritize employee experience post-COVID, HR leaders will be under increased pressure to keep people connected, enabled, and productive.

Considering that 50% of employees want to work from home for three or more days each week, it's important to start preparing for a hybrid workforce now.

Some of your employees probably want to return to work when the option becomes available. If an employee falls into that camp — have a plan in place for protecting their safety.

Others will likely opt to stay home for now, possibly even permanently.

Solutions such as office wayfinding and visitor management will help protect and empower employees and give your leadership team the insights they need to understand and plan ahead.

Measure the demand for space

When it’s time to reopen, make sure you've got the systems in place that keep people safe and help them return confidently. For example, using a desk reservation system can help ensure that workspaces are adequately cleaned in between uses.

You need to keep an eye on how many employees plan to work from the office so you can adjust the types of space, anticipate occupancy rates, and equip the workplace for the specific needs of your organization.

To get real-time insights into how employees use your space, you need to be able to visualize and manage desks, rooms, floors, and buildings.

Attract and hire top talent

As organizations adapted to remote work, technology enabled quick deployment of new tools, important information, and the ability to meet, connect, and collaborate virtually.

Experts say that virtual interviews aren’t going away after the pandemic; they’ll just become a more hybrid process.

When candidates aren’t able to come into your physical workplace, it’s even more important to make sure your brand positioning is strong. And the HR technology investments underlying your hiring strategy this year need to be strong, too.

A LinkedIn analysis predicts candidates will engage more with companies that hold themselves accountable for shortcoming and are “transparent about their plans to address them” this year.

One way to demonstrate your commitment to safety is by implementing a visitor management system that requires visitors to submit a wellness check or self-assessment when they arrive.

You’ll discourage anyone with symptoms from entering your workplace and make it clear that protecting your guests’ and employees’ health and safety is a top priority.

How you respond today speaks volumes about your commitment to your workforce. You’ll be remembered for your treatment of workers and how well you supported flexibility, enablement, and safety.

Optimize your return

Considering how quickly things change, your office configuration and workspace assignments need to be adjustable and flexible. HR technology can solve these challenges. 

Work cross-functionally to accelerate solutions

Moving closer to a hybrid work model will pose novel challenges for human resource teams, but it doesn’t have to be an uphill battle.

HR technology will be key to fostering connection between teams, accessing critical business information, and deploying new tools for employees working remotely, at the office, or both.

Tools that focus on employee experience will enable greater productivity, engagement, and connection.

For instance, desk booking apps will give them the ability to see desk availability and reserve a space before they come into office.

They won’t have to worry about overcrowding in the office or sanitization, because you’ll have the HR metrics you need to prepare in advance.

Enable cross-functional teams and support

One of the most important metrics for HR this year will be the safety and well-being of the people you serve.

When you return, your HR technology should allow you to make more effective, data-driven decisions and speed up your response time.

Take a look at how our Space-Right™ space planning feature simplifies your return and helps you create safer floor plans and manage seat assignments or shifts.

Return-to-work tech can help leaders across the company maintain digital records of their visitors, remove physical touchpoints, allow teams to book a meeting space, and send out wellness surveys.

Invest your time and budget on HR technology that provides data-enriched insights so you can quickly monitor, adapt, and plan a better workplace this year.

Looking for more tips and best practices? Take a look at our 5-Minute Return-To-Work Plan for HR Leaders.

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