Future of Work Pivoted Around Organizational Culture
Organizations across the world shifted gears to safeguard employees and move to a new way of working beyond the realm of any business continuity plan. As HR practitioners are grappling with reimagining the future, the role of offices is shifting in a bold way. Newer contexts are coming alive that will have long-term implications for how work gets done in the future.
What started as a brief solution to overcome the challenges of the pandemic, is likely to swing the narrative permanently. Remote working has got a resounding thumbs-up from the employees as it offers them flexibility and more options for balancing work and their personal lives. Organizations on their part are witnessing immense value from the WFH model, far beyond the benefits of cost-saving.
“As per the survey conducted by the Conference Board in September 2020, more than 330 HR executives at large US companies expressed that 40% or more of their employees will continue to work virtually while 36% felt that they are now willing to hire workers who are 100% remote.”
But are we ready for that? Organizations that are choosing to move to a hybrid model as they ‘return to normalcy’ will need to navigate this phase very sensitively balancing culture with business expectations. Remote working or a hybrid model should be considered as a strategic move rather than just a tactical initiative. In my observation, organizations that have a strong culture deeply rooted in time-tested values will harness the transition more effectively.
A strong organizational mission, people’s alignment with the organizational priorities, clarity about their individual roles in achieving the organizational goals are some of the notable ways in which a strong culture manifests itself. A healthy work culture becomes a strong catalyst for high performance. Leadership will play a crucial role in building collaboration among the remote workforce. Frequent, two-way, and consistent communication will help nurture trust and confidence. Teams that thrive on collaboration and feel cared for, tend to be more adaptable and have a better collective resolve to overcome challenges.
What is Terumo’s Game Plan?
At Terumo, respect and care are fundamental principles embedded in our value system so strongly, that all the measures we have taken during the pandemic, have been only a natural extension of this belief system. We just needed to carefully pay attention to the ethos upon which our Japanese parent company had built its 100-year legacy. As we are preparing our return-to-work plans, we are going to experiment with the hybrid model as the way forward. We are once again relying on our core beliefs to help us draw up the details of this model.
While there are enough tools and technologies available to help people work remotely, it must be remembered that people still need in-person touchpoints to develop deeper connections to make it meaningful and enduring. Drawing from this insight we are experimenting with a hybrid model.
Associate Experience and Culture is at the helm of our rebound strategy. Under our theme of Exploring the Power WE, we have launched several initiatives to preserve the energy of the organization and our familial culture. At the same time, we have laid laser-sharp focus on building capabilities by leveraging our Virtual Academies and launching several learning interventions to advance behavioural & hard skills. Several training modules such as ‘7 habits of highly effective people, digital sales enablement, managing virtual teams, etc. have been conducted over the last 12 months preparing our associates for various capabilities.
The efforts we are making to shift to a hybrid model hinges on three critical components:
Enabling an Ecosystem for Business Performance
We understand that the elements to determine productivity will differ across functions and individuals, therefore, one size fits all approach may not work. Our hybrid work model, therefore, takes into consideration the following criteria:
- The office space is best leveraged as a hub for collaborative work and team-building initiatives.
- There is a need to allocate undisturbed time to boost productivity
- We want to enable synchronized time consciously to be the basis of co-ordination
Renewed Expectations on Performance and Outcomes Management
The parameters of evaluating employee performance will need to be altered in the context of the new dynamics. We are defining the ‘how of performance process’ through quality, creativity, speed of response, and collaboration as the key parameters. This will need to be reviewed periodically through agile conversations on performance and development.
Preserving the Social capital
We have Digital Bonfires, focused discussion groups, pulse surveys, virtual contests that involve families of our associates, wellness programs, extended leave basket, etc to ensure our associates stay connected, engaged, and productive. A host of initiatives such as ‘flexi-timings, slack hours, zero meeting zone, rest days, etc have been unrolled with this objective in mind.
The verdict is still out on the success of a WFH/ hybrid model, we all know that it is companies that can be adaptive and perceptive about individual flexibility, who will ultimately win.