To lure workers back to the office, many employers are providing benefits and luxe amenities for people who show up in person. When this strategy succeeds, the next challenge is motivating employees to make the office commute their long-term routine.
Workhuman, which aims to make working more human for everyone, helps companies measure productivity and collect feedback on how to improve the office environment. Their software, employers hope, will become a powerful tool for retaining office workers.
As author Priya Parker said: “When you gather well, one of the outcomes is you create a sense of belonging. When you create a sense of belonging, you increase your retention rates. You decrease burnout.”
Office culture isn’t dead. It’s just going through a transformation. Workhuman is focused on creating new strategies for the new era of work to battle the Great Resignation. It centers on how companies can optimize workplace culture in response to employees.
According to Microsoft’s 2021 Work Trend Index, there have been five times the amount of remote job postings on LinkedIn since before the pandemic, and online meetings have doubled since February 2020. Roughly 46% of the global workforce have considered leaving their current employers within the next year.
Workhuman recently released their latest Human Workplace Index, a monthly survey that offers insights into timely topics creating buzz in the business world. They claim 66% of employees are waiting to review their company’s new benefits before deciding whether to stay or go.
“As much as people like to talk about flexibility and working from home, we will see what happens in two years when we haven’t had any emotional connections with anybody at work,” said Chris French, Executive Vice President of Customer Strategy at Workhuman. “People are not going to stay at companies where that’s the reality.”
How exactly Workhuman is bringing back workers to the office is much more than just open format workspace and wellness perks, but productivity metrics and feedback systems, too.
The company has been around since 1999, helping five million people in 180 countries. Their programs include the Workhuman iQ, which provides HR departments with insights that save time collecting employee data. The insights help company leaders better understand their workforce with trends in employee performance and culture within their organization.
They also boast a program that recognizes excellent performance in leadership roles. And with their Workhuman Cloud technology, they’ve helped businesses and human resources departments across the world stay proactive in the office by transforming and leading a more connected, human-centered workplace that accelerates engagement and productivity.
Recently the firm teamed up with LinkedIn to launch a peer-to-peer recognition and rewards program called Bravo, which helps encourage employee performance. Based on their research, 54% of employees improved their performance when receiving at least three awards.
“We wanted a program that could drive stability and emphasize our culture and values,” said Christina Hall, former Chief People Officer at LinkedIn.
It wasn’t just awards, but it was important that the program be peer-based, rather than hierarchical or top-down recognition.
“New hires are a place where we’re making a significant investment; anything we can do that helps tip them toward staying is wonderful,” Hall said.
“Everyone from the most junior person to the most senior person can give and receive awards. It’s great because it takes it out of the standard construct. We don’t give Bravo awards because of an annual review. We believe recognition should flow freely throughout the year.”
Workhuman has a product called Moodtracker that allows employees to offer feedback through an app that offers a quick survey. It’s what Jesse Harriott, Head of Analytics at Workhuman’s research team, calls a scientific approach.
“The survey questionnaires and recommendations were created based on the analysis of more than 50 million moments of employee connection in the Workhuman Cloud,” Harriott said.
It helps improve workplace culture, employee engagement and retention.
“It’s based on decades of knowledge helping some of the world’s largest organizations realize quantifiable business impact,” Harriott added. “HR and business leaders can have confidence that when Moodtracker recommends a solution to address workplace issues, it will work.”
“The good news is that organizations can give employees the technology tools they need for success,” said Sharlyn Lauby, the President at ITM Group, Inc., a human resources consulting firm.
“Today’s technology can be used to establish goals and priorities, reward and recognize performance, and solicit feedback; these technologies let the employee know that the organization is invested in their success and is empowering them to get things done rather than bogging them down with rules and policies.”
Workhuman is gearing up for their next live conference, Workhuman Live 2022, which runs from May 16 to 19 in Atlanta, Georgia, and is likely going to be the HR event of the year. A number of keynote speakers will come together to speak on the art of leadership and the future of work, including author Malcolm Gladwell and Workhuman CEO Eric Mosley.
From the Great Resignation to hybrid workforces and diversity in the office, it aims to tackle the most important issues in the workplace today.
Until then, there’s the question of what will keep employees happy and ensure a thriving business amidst today’s workforce challenges. It all comes down to being empathetic and responsive to workforce teams.
As part of Workhuman’s research, they found that 71% of workers said the pandemic has had an impact on their mental health. Many report that they are feeling isolated, overwhelmed and less motivated. What improves their mental state is positive encouragement, motivation and appreciation from their colleagues.
According to a recent study from the ADP Research Institute, 44% of employers now have official flexible working policies in place, which is up from only 24% pre-COVID. The study also revealed that 65% are upbeat about the flexibility of work opportunities that they’ll have in the future.
The remote work trend is convenient for commuters and parents for young children. On the other hand, it has made it harder for workers to create a space for themselves, as well as their overall wellness. Many miss the human connection at the office and are overwhelmed from WFH multitasking that bleeds into their personal life.
Sometimes all it comes down to is crystal clear communication and a supportive work environment for the return to office.
According to Lynette Silva, a principal consultant on Workhuman’s strategy and consulting team, one way to ensure workers stay on top of their mind and productivity is through well-being check ins.
“Make wellbeing check-ins a regular part of interactions and meetings; at Workhuman, we often start meetings with a ‘happy check,’ where people simply share how they’re doing on a scale of one to 10,” Silva said.
“Knowing someone’s happy check level at the start of the meeting helps ground discussions and understanding of perspectives shared. These kinds of intentional activities create an environment of psychological safety and trust for more openness and, ultimately, progress.”
Perhaps this human approach is what will encourage more humans to return to the office.