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Office Scene

Office Nostalgia

During the past few years everything has changed. People now call their home their office, they work whatever hours they need to get a job done, their work attire is more casual and many have no commute at all. This is all influenced of course by work that is remote, hybrid and when in person, less populated. These shifts which seemed drastic as 2020 and the pandemic began are now familiar and often desirable in 2022. They also led to more employees making big and in the past tough decisions starting in 2020 to relocate and change careers or companies.  

The good news is it is now 2022, a new balance has been adopted and employers are focusing on employee retention. Employers know that a strong company environment and positive culture influences retention and turnover rates. The latest study from Jobvite cites that 32% of new hires who quit within the first 90 days of their employment cite company culture as their main reason for leaving.

But how does a company establish a strong and positive culture and balance that with a hybrid work arrangement? A game plan is important when welcoming new employees and for retaining old ones in an effort to make this changed environment seem more cohesive with the past. This is a little complicated as it is also important to maintain some personal preferences and flexibility that was established in 2020. Do you even remember what it was like before?

In the past employees could lean over or walk a few steps to ask an opinion or run an idea by a peer. A meeting could be planned spontaneously and those involved would be collected on the spot. An employer could respectfully question or guide an employee without a lot of planning or ceremony. An employee would stay in the office and complete a task rather than revisiting it after dinner. A pat on the back or smile and thank you showed appreciation for a job well done.

In the past people became friends with their peers at work, office romances ignited and many looked forward to a quick morning exchange about The British Baking Show or Game of Thrones. Lunches were planned or shared at desks and after hours sporting events or concerts could be coupled with a Friday work day. This informal and friendly atmosphere has almost disappeared. 

Between little or no peer engagement and less impromptu and frequent recognition, awareness and appreciation of employees is lacking but as in the past remains of utmost importance.

According to Gallup, the majority of the U.S. workforce (51%) is not engaged, Gallup’s State of the American Workplace Report, cites Companies with highly effective recognition programs focused on employee engagement have 31% lower voluntary turnover.  Employers appreciate this message and understand that they need to focus on developing a cohesive, communicative work environment coordinating at home, in person and hybrid personnel.

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How to recognize, distinguish and acknowledge each other in a hybrid workplace and bolster job retention.

There are many practices companies can adopt to improve their culture and promote employee retention. These need to be prioritized and somewhat altered in 2022 and beyond to include the remote worker.. Among these are the following:

  1. Promoting both accepting and supportive peers

It is important that both remote and in person employees remain on the same time schedule and are included whether on zoom or in office in the same meetings. Equal speaking time should be given to make sure the remote employee isn’t overlooked. Individual meetings with both remote and in person colleagues should be encouraged.

  1.  Inviting opportunities to create work relationships and friendships

It is helpful to implement regular minutes for both remote and in person employees to join “coffee clutch” groups for regular non-work discussions.

Also subscribing to an employee engagement and rewards platform is very worthwhile. Here both in person and remote employees feel valued as they are acknowledged by their peers and employers with cards,praise along with the opportunity for redeemable gift cards. This platform bridges the gap that occurs in hybrid offices and new friendships and relationships can develop.

According to Psychometrics, When asked what leaders could do more to improve engagement, 58% of respondents replied, “Give recognition”. However, studies show that only 14% of organizations provide managers with the necessary tools for rewards and recognition.

  1.  Retaining Flexibility

An employer may want to occasionally be remote to make this practice appear more acceptable to all. In person employees may be encouraged to sometimes spend a half day at home working to balance  employee attendance and perception of equality and flexibility.. 

  1. Requiring a welcoming and respectful manner among all

It is important to make sure on site employees wait to discuss business transactions with remote colleagues rather than the side discussions that often had convened in hallways and at desks. Also remote employees need to be given time to speak during meetings as well as being punctual and respectful of distractions possibly occurring at home.

  1. Maintaining effective good communication

All colleagues must be willing and ready to regularly talk on the phone or through video conferencing without hesitation or arranged appointments. The in person employee should not hesitate contacting a remote colleague as remote hours should coordinate with office hours. Employers need to regularly be available to all employees and work on developing a comfortable relationship even when it is remote. Organizing small group meetings and pairing mentors with new employees and peers with peers on projects also strengthens communication.

  1. Engaging in developmental and educational growth opportunities

Offering voluntary participation in remote courses and lectures covering a variety of interests and topics  makes employees feel valued and promotes relationships among peers.

  1. Assuring employees have a sense of accomplishment and the possibility of job advancement and adjustment

Regular discussions on future responsibilities, plans and promotions is crucial and employees are more fulfilled and more likely to remain at a company if they feel like their future is considered and valued.

Will these additional preparations help with employee retention?

Planning ahead, evaluating your company’s needs and acknowledging employees, is a great step in increasing employee retention in the workplace. Making sure employees are valued by their peers and employers can be difficult but incorporating these tips and retaining an Employment Engagement and Rewards Platform such as PerkSweet is an easy way to navigate this new and changing world. 

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