chairman and director, Capgemini Netherlands.
As the corporate world faces a talent shortage as many employees change roles, coupled with the urgent need for companies to be more competitive, it is more important than ever for business leaders to evaluate their approach to hybrid work and adapt to to meet employees where they are . Improving our approach to leadership and business makes all the difference when it comes to employee engagement, retention and satisfaction, fostering a stronger and more competitive organization.
The transition to hybrid and remote working has created a divide between leaders and employees. While 69% of leaders believe the transition to hybrid work was well managed by their organization, less than half (49%) of employees would say the same. Our recent report, Relearning Leadership, found that less than 50% of employees in non-supervisory roles feel heard and involved within their organization.
To bridge this gap, I recommend that leaders take a people-centered approach — one that is rooted in emotional intelligence, empathetic, and actively addressing the fundamental issues experienced by everyone. For the employee experience, it is about actively creating opportunities for professional development, preserving the company culture and building trust.
Focus on employee well-being.
The past two years have pushed more employees to advocate for and prioritize a work environment that supports their overall well-being and prevents burnout—and with good reason. A survey showed that 64% of people have experienced burnout in their career, and another found that 70% would leave their job for someone else who would provide better tools to reduce burnout. And yet, our survey found that most organizations have not established adequate practices to address this issue, with only 34% of employees feeling that their organization is actively working to reduce burnout. Leadership must look holistically at employee well-being, which includes not only reactive measures, but also preventive measures such as flexible working hours, workload management and mental health support. Investing in these key areas with the support of human resources specialists can foster a culture of trust.
Create new opportunities for learning and development.
When it comes to professional development, leadership teams must make a conscious effort to: create opportunities for employees in their daily practice and through regular training workshops that are both engaging and accessible in a hybrid world. Part of creating a work environment that challenges employees is making sure they stay on top of what’s new and innovative. This is especially important for those who have strong digital skills, and it is important that leaders create an environment where people have interesting and dynamic projects to work on. Additionally, rewarding employees for their productivity and growth, along with preparing them for career advancement, can improve company morale and lead to better working relationships between employees and senior leaders.
Consciously build a company culture.
In my opinion 100% remote working doesn’t work in the long run. We as people need to connect with each other to feel like we’re part of something bigger – this is especially true as employees continue to work in the hybrid model. Actively building a corporate culture outside of the office by coordinating mentorship opportunities, book clubs, or corporate milestone recognition initiatives with hybrid-friendly programming are some ways companies can maintain corporate culture even when employees are far from one another.
Finally, none of these efforts mean anything without the trust of your employees, and many organizations have work to do to build it. In fact, our survey found that less than 40% of employees believe their organization has created an environment of trust. So how does an organization build trust with its employees? I think Frances Frei and Anne Morriss said it best when they described trust as the… perfect triangle of empathy, logic and authenticity. When employees can believe in you, know you care, and feel like they’re connecting with the real you, you can create a more motivated and engaged workforce. It’s also important for leaders to actively listen to their employees to effectively understand their needs, rather than presume what they want.
The shift to hybrid work provides leaders with a professional development opportunity to create strategies that enable successful outcomes in both hybrid and personal work environments. Companies that encourage leaders to change their leadership approach to meet the needs of today’s hybrid workforce are likely to be able to attract and retain top talent and see the benefits now and in the future.