Hybrid Work Culture: Why skyrocketed employee attrition, and how to fix it

Hybrid Work Culture-Why skyrocketed employee attrition, and how to fix it
Hybrid will work best for you if you co-create it with your employees. It is absolutely important to listen to the voice and noise of your employees.

According to a TeamLease Services Employment Outlook Report, the attrition rate has skyrocketed by 8% in 2021. Analysts anticipate a 23% attrition rate in 2021.

If this is the background then why are we not talking about attrition? Why are we talking about culture? When someone gets a heart attack, doctors do not discuss heart attack, they talk about habits. Habits of eating, drinking, sleeping, exercising, and taking stress. We are doing the same.

How Pandemic Affected Organizations?

The pandemic has affected organizations in the same invisible manner in which it has affected humans. These invisible effects are called 4Bs

  1. Burn Outs- According to Microsoft’s latest Work trend index, over 41% of people experienced extreme burnout due to separation between work and personal life. The cases of anxiety and depression increased drastically creating stress in the lives of people.
  2. Belongingness- Psychological research shows that people want to belong. Those who belong, perform better and experience higher levels of engagement and wellbeing. Those who do not, they underperform and experience burnout. Burnouts show that belongingness got compromised.
  3. Boringness- During the pandemic, some organizations struggled to bring the work on track. That caused belongingness issues. Some organizations became outcome-oriented. In some such cases, the outcome-oriented work became run of the mill, boring.
  4. Bridges among employees and teams- During the pandemic, the social capital suffered within the teams and it had a major impact on the bridges across the teams.

Why is the attrition happening?

Everyone was settled. Organizations realized that 4Bs were weakening them and called employees back. Employees wanted some more time. Hybrid was an agreeable solution. However, it triggered attrition. The 4As that caused attrition are

  1. Ambiguity- As per Adecco, 70% of junior and middle management employees had migrated to their hometowns. Almost 60% of them want to extend their stay at their home town temporarily. The return to office news triggered waves of ambiguity and uncertainty. This was the primary reason for looking out.
  2. Add on cost- Work from home was saving money for employees as well as employers. Employees realised that returning to the office has an additional cost. The cost of travel, food, masks, and rent. This fueled their urge for looking out.
  3. Alignment- Since employees were working from home, things like chitchats, connection, and communication imbalanced their alignment with the company. All those posters on the wall that appealed to the subconscious silently, all those informal conversations which strengthened the belief in the organization got compromised. The stickiness with the company got diluted.
  4. Ample opportunities- Since the economy started picking up, companies wanted to hire. Everyone wanted to hire the best, the market shrank big time. Peer pressure further spoiled the situation. The market which should have been a recruiter market became a candidate market.

What to do?

The situation looks bad, however, it can be converted into an opportunity. You just have to take care of 4As and 4Bs. There are multiple ways to approach this. The most effective way is to work on some aspects of the organization culture. Here are the five interventions you may consider for strengthening your culture for the hybrid world.

  1. New Rules– Hybrid will work best for you if you co-create it with your employees. It is absolutely important to listen to the voice and noise of your employees. In the hybrid water coolers, talks might help but you cannot depend on them completely. You need to learn to conduct regular dipsticks and drive with data. You might need to relook at your policies and redraft them for the hybrid work. While defining policies, you must be fair to employees and fair to business. Define flexibility by listening to employees. Define core days like you decided core hours for flexi working by listening to business. The important term while redrafting your policies is “balance”.
  2. New Rituals- If you are thinking that the hybrid world will bring back pre-pandemic days then you have not moved on yet. You will have to define new rituals to engage people. It is even more complex than the virtual world. You may have to define how you are going to do your morning meetings, your reviews, your communication meetings in such a way that the remote employees do not get a FOMO syndrome.
  3. New internal opportunities- It would be a good idea to fast-track the internal opportunities. It is better to hire internally than to hire externally. You still get a better deal. Reconsider the artificial restrictions that are put around for applying for a job. Do not forget to invest in training so that internal employees succeed in their new jobs.
  4. New Choices- The world changed when pizza companies started giving choices to people to select their own topping. Now people are used to choices. Whatever engagement you are creating, make sure you offer toppings of the choice of employees. It is not too late to consider the 20% rule of Google, where employees can use 20% of their time to work on projects of their choice.


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