Shift To Hybrid Work Model Creates Challenges And Opportunities For HR Professionals

U.S. employees enjoy working remotely, a survey from Glassdoor found.

Nearly nine in 10 said they prefer to continue working from home at least part of the time after offices reopen; 23% would consider quitting if they were required to return to the office before all employees have been vaccinated; and 17% would consider quitting if they were required to return to the office five days a week, regardless of vaccinations.

Businesses are scrambling to adapt to this changing landscape.

“The worldwide shift to hybrid working models happening now is something most organizations have never had to deal with before,” said Ben Reuveni, CEO and cofounder of talent marketplace software provider Gloat. “We’re seeing a number of new roles emerge within our talent marketplace that are designed to address this, with titles like head of hybrid work, head of dynamic work and workplace environment architect These roles tend to focus on managing the tools and technologies that keep hybrid offices connected and addressing the complex HR, leadership and cultural needs of distributed teams.”

Adopting people-centered roles and focusing on IT are critical for organizations to pull off hybrid work successfully, according to Sam Babic, SVP and chief innovation officer of content services provider Hyland.

“Roles that focus on the overall employee culture and employee experience are vital to ensuring a smooth transition — and an equitable experience for all employees, whether in-office or working remotely,” he said. “To best support those roles, a strong IT team is critical to keeping communication and technology seamless between in-office and remote workers.”

Gustavo Gomez, CEO of automation software provider Bizagi, shared what he believes will be three pivotal roles in these new hybrid-work programs:

Chief people officer/head of HR. Whether it’s a new role dedicated to people and the employee experience or a traditional HR leadership role, there’s no doubt that human resources and people operations are key to success in a hybrid workplace environment.

Chief operating officer/head of operations. These leaders are being called upon to identify new inefficiencies and design solutions to the business challenges that they create.

Chief information officer/head of IT. IT leaders will be called upon as one of the most important enablers of the hybrid workplace to support the operational and cultural changes that are needed for the organization to succeed and not just survive.

Lesley Pyle, founder of job-postings site, doesn’t believe there is one role or solution to making a hybrid work model work. However, she shared several questions that will help determine which roles may work best for businesses moving toward hybrid work arrangements:

  • * Are some teams or departments more productive when they meet face-to-face, or can they accomplish the same goals virtually?
  • * Are there any meetings that must be held in person?
  • * Is it possible to make certain day(s) of the week fully remote working days?
  • * Do newer employees need to work on-site for any period of time to get fully acclimated to business culture, training, etc.?
  • * Do employees have the equipment and technology to work from home efficiently and effectively every day? If not, will the company provide the needed tools?
  • * Do some employees prefer to work from the office instead of from home?
  • * Will fully remote employees have opportunities to participate and engage with others at certain times of the year for meetings or socially?
  • * Are employees clear on expectations and responsibilities?
  • * Will there be an “open-door policy” to discuss issues or recommendations for newly structured remote positions?

“Embracing new mindsets and processes around career development, skills and talent management ultimately will position businesses to succeed in a hybrid world,” Reuveni said, “and that should be your top priority as a business in 2021, regardless of what we call the leaders paving the way.”


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