Flexibility has become increasingly important to employees and job seekers around the world, with modern technology making this shift in priorities more possible than ever. The hybrid work model affords employees the freedom to work when and where they’re most productive, all while maintaining some level of in-person interaction with their colleagues.
At the same time, no employee or company is identical. There are differing values, preferences, and needs that push toward and against adopting hybrid policies. In this guide, we’ll explore the basics of the hybrid work model and its current place in today’s working society. Then, we’ll share six hybrid employee retention strategies that your company can implement.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- What are hybrid work models?
- What are the benefits of hybrid work?
- What are the drawbacks of hybrid work?
- 6 Hybrid Employee Retention Strategies
According to Accenture’s Future of Work report, only 35% of employees are satisfied with their company’s approach to work model decisions. Whether you’re considering adopting hybrid policies to create a more appealing workplace or improving existing ones you’ve already established, it’s essential to understand how and why modern employee expectations are changing.
What are hybrid work models?
In general, hybrid work refers to a combination of working in the office and working remotely. However, there are several variations of hybrid work models that a company might implement, depending on its goals and employees. Finding the right fit allows you to build a productive, accommodating work environment so all employees can perform at their best.
Some of the most common hybrid work models are:
- Office-first. An office-first model emphasizes employees coming into the office but provides them with the flexibility to work one or two days a week or several days a month at home. Often, it’s up to the individual employee to manage their work week and decide when they would prefer to work remotely.
- Remote-first. A remote-first model expects employees to fulfill their roles and collaborate remotely. However, they’re still able to come into the office and connect with their colleagues if they’d like, and may be required to do so on certain days, such as if there is a team-wide meeting.
- Flexible. A flexible hybrid work model allows employees to choose when and where they would like to work each day. Those who prefer spending their day in the office can commute more often while those who enjoy working remotely can spend more time at home or elsewhere.
- Fixed. A fixed model designates which days hybrid employees must come into the office and which days they can work from home. These days could vary from team to team to provide more opportunities for in-person collaboration in the office.
Since each of these models has its advantages and disadvantages, there is no single perfect option. Keep your specific goals and employee preferences in mind to determine which model is most suitable for your company. For example, if your company has teams that require a high level of teamwork and communication, consider implementing a fixed hybrid model for your employees.
What are the benefits of hybrid work?
Adopting a hybrid work model is an effective strategy for recruiting new talent and retaining employees for the long term. The following statistics from Cisco and IWG illustrate the specific benefits that make hybrid models so popular:
- 79.8% of full-time employees indicate that their work-life balance has improved with more work-from-home time.
- 95% of HR professionals agree that hybrid working is an effective recruitment tool.
- Every employee who works hybrid can save a company around $11,000 due to increased productivity and lower office utility bills.
- Hybrid working reduces urban carbon emissions by up to 70% in the U.K. and up to 87% in the U.S.
- Hybrid workers get up to 71 more hours of sleep a year.
- 70% of employees report that hybrid working gives them the chance to prepare a healthy breakfast every morning.
By reducing commute time and providing more convenience to employees, companies can significantly improve job satisfaction, promote well-being, and minimize burnout. Giving your employees more freedom to work in their preferred conditions and environment ensures that they stay motivated to exceed expectations and generate meaningful results every day.
What are the drawbacks of hybrid work?
Despite its many benefits, some companies are still reluctant to shift to a hybrid work model. Their main concerns include:
- Productivity. When employees spend less time in the office, there are fewer opportunities for more traditional supervision. While 87% of hybrid employees report that they’re productive during the workday, only 12% of leaders have full confidence in their team’s productivity.
- Employee isolation. According to analysis by IBI, fully remote (40%) and hybrid work (38%) are associated with an increased likelihood of anxiety and depression symptoms compared to in-person work (35%). Companies may be concerned that their employees may feel more isolated and disconnected from their team members when working from home.
- Security. With employees accessing company data on various networks and from different locations, cybersecurity becomes more of a concern. Companies need to invest in more training and set up protocols for secure information sharing between team members.
Fortunately, there are many tools and best practices you can employ to overcome these drawbacks. With a thoughtful approach, you’ll be able to develop hybrid policies that empower your employees to reach their highest potential in their roles.
6 Hybrid Retention Strategies for a Thriving Workplace
Implementing a hybrid work model can be a game-changer for employee engagement and retention, allowing you to reduce costs associated with hiring and onboarding new team members. Keep the following strategies in mind to develop hybrid policies that your employees will appreciate for years to come.
1. Improve the hybrid onboarding experience.
Your onboarding experience for hybrid employees will set the tone for the rest of their time with your company. Therefore, it’s crucial to create a process that provides them with everything they need to get up and running both in the office and at home.
Consider incorporating the following ideas into your onboarding experience:
- Make new employees feel at home by sending them personalized welcome eCards on their first day.
- Introduce them to the rest of the team during an in-person or virtual meeting.
- Supply them with equipment they’ll need for working at home, such as a desk, monitor, and office chair.
- Share an onboarding packet with key details such as communication guidelines and work schedule expectations.
- Schedule frequent check-ins to provide them with opportunities to ask questions.
Build loyalty from the get-go by demonstrating to your hybrid employees that you’re invested in their long-term success. Since they won’t always be in the office with their team members, help them start strong by establishing meaningful connections and presenting them with the necessary resources to thrive no matter where they’re working.
2. Invest in essential technology.
49% of employees lose between one and five hours every week dealing with IT issues. Equip your hybrid employees with streamlined, user-friendly tools they can use to carry out their tasks efficiently and effectively. This way, they can spend more time on their responsibilities rather than troubleshooting.
Some time-saving and results-boosting tools for remote working include:
- Project management tools. Maintain productivity and teamwork among hybrid employees by looking into tools such as Zoho, a cloud software solution for businesses, and Trello, a team collaboration platform. With solutions like these, employees can better handle their workflow both in-office and at home.
- Messaging tools. 97% of employees believe that hybrid work requires new technology to improve collaboration among team members. Solutions such as Slack and Microsoft Teams make it easy to virtually update team members about tasks and ask questions in real time.
- Video conferencing tools. Video conference tech, such as Zoom, allows employees to connect face-to-face, even if they aren’t in the same physical location. This reduces time spent sharing important or complicated information and minimizes miscommunication.
- Document and filesharing tools. Hybrid employees need to collaborate with their team members to achieve substantial, meaningful results for your company. Ensure that they always have access to everything they need to work productively by using tools that have file transfer features and data access settings, like Google Drive.
- Remote work supplies. From headsets to monitors, there are several physical tools your hybrid employees will need to work remotely. Help them set up home offices that will allow them to work as effectively as when they’re in the office.
Invest in software to engage employees, enhance their productivity, and mitigate concerns that company leaders have expressed about hybrid work. However, it’s essential to keep your values and employee preferences in mind when shopping for new technology to add to your toolkit.
The Littler Annual Employer Survey Report found that employers are split on the use of employee-monitoring software, with 65% worried about its impact on employee morale and privacy law compliance. Furthermore, as more AI business solutions surface, so do concerns about the potential for systemic biases and employment-related discrimination.
If you’re ever unsure of how your employees will respond to a software implementation, consider sending out a survey to gather their input before moving forward with any changes.
3. Be strategic about in-office days.
There are various ways your company can determine when you’ll allow hybrid employees to work from home and when they should commute to the office. The right structure will strike a balance between convenience and connection for your employees. This balance contributes to overall satisfaction and hybrid employee retention.
Gallup’s research on the future of hybrid work reveals that 4 in 10 employees want full autonomy over when they come into the office, while about 6 in 10 would prefer more structure. Since preferences will vary from company to company, ask your hybrid employees about their ideal schedule and use their responses to inform which type of work model you choose.
One way to maximize efficiency and productivity, for instance, is to designate specific days of the week for different teams to convene in the office. This ensures that hybrid employees can commute to the office knowing that their team members will be present and available to collaborate in person.
4. Promote culture and connection.
One of the primary challenges that hybrid employees face is fewer opportunities to develop meaningful relationships with their colleagues. According to HubSpot’s Hybrid Work Report, while 66% of hybrid employees indicate that having a close work friend impacts their desire to stay with their company, only 34% feel strongly connected to their colleagues.
Despite this information, only 47% of businesses offer in-person team-building and celebratory events. When your employees are separated by location, it becomes more crucial than ever to instill a strong sense of company culture across your teams. Keep employees engaged by encouraging collaboration and hosting office events that will help them cultivate positive relationships.
Another impactful way to strengthen connections between hybrid employees is to develop a system for peer-to-peer recognition. Through eCards or an in-office wall of fame, make it easy for your staff to acknowledge one another for going above and beyond in their roles. This ensures that each hybrid employee feels valued for their contributions by their colleagues, making them more invested in your company’s long-term growth and success.
5. Recognize your hybrid employees.
Beyond ad-hoc peer-to-peer recognition, your company needs to incorporate official methods for recognizing employees in your hybrid employee retention plan. eCards are a convenient and memorable way to show your employees just how much they matter. Plus, you can send them for a variety of occasions, from acknowledging outstanding performances to sending well wishes on birthdays.
For a better understanding of how your company can incorporate eCards into its hybrid employee retention strategy, check out our brief video overview:
As the video illustrates, eCard software like eCardWidget allows you to incorporate your company’s logo and colors into eye-catching virtual designs for appreciating your employees. You can use pre-made templates to jumpstart your efforts or upload your own images and let your creativity run wild.
Modivcare, a company in the healthcare industry, uses its eCards to appreciate employees and reinforce its company values. Using the eCardWidget platform, Modivcare’s leadership created a set of branded eCard designs that represent each of its core values. Whenever an employee upholds one of these values, their manager or peers can send them a corresponding recognition eCard and personalize it with a message.
Other popular options for recognizing your hybrid employees include:
Some of your employees may prefer public acknowledgment of their accomplishments while others would rather receive awards privately. Keep their individual preferences in mind to maximize the impact of your appreciation efforts.
6. Collect feedback from hybrid employees.
Continually seek improvements to your hybrid employee retention plan by collecting feedback from your employees. Send out regular surveys to gauge how effective your work model and engagement efforts are.
Some common questions you can include in these surveys are:
- What is your ideal balance between in-office and remote work?
- Do you have the virtual and physical tools to carry out your work effectively?
- How connected do you feel with your fellow team members?
- How would you describe your level of productivity in the office versus working remotely?
- Are there any improvements you would like to see in our hybrid working arrangements?
In addition to implementing feedback from your hybrid employees, keep track of metrics such as your hybrid employee retention rate and office space utilization. If you’re just starting with a new work model, review these numbers once a month to evaluate your efforts and make adjustments for better results moving forward.
Mastering Hybrid Employee Retention at Your Company
Companies looking to adopt a hybrid work model can maximize results while reducing concerns about productivity and retention by building an excellent, fulfilling work experience for their employees.
Set your hybrid employees up for success by providing them with the structure and tools to be productive at work, then help them establish a healthy work-life balance that enables them to return to work every day refreshed and eager to drive results.
To learn more tips and tricks on how your company can retain its top talent, explore these additional resources:
- 10 Ways to Conquer Employee Recognition and Why It Matters. Revamp your recognition strategy with these 10 impactful strategies for employee appreciation.
- 18 Best Corporate Gifting Companies To Impress Constituents. Corporate gifting companies can facilitate recognition at your company. Explore the best options to consider.
- Workplace Culture: A Guide To Better Corporate Atmosphere. Discover how your company can create a workplace culture that cultivates passionate, loyal employees.