Since the start of the pandemic, the Asia-Pacific region has quickly pivoted to remote work amidst lockdowns, fully expecting such arrangements to be temporary. Fast forward almost three years to the present day; hybrid work is now the norm.
Many fintech companies were a few steps ahead of the curve when it came to remote working pre-pandemic. Being digitally native, they are free of established practices, such as presenteeism or devices being tied to certain locations, that are still a feature of work at some traditional corporations.
However, as flexible work arrangements become more prevalent, businesses need to understand what makes hybrid workplaces effective.
Attracting the best talent
Many employees are demanding workplace flexibility in the aftermath of the pandemic, making hybrid working an imperative. Companies hoping to attract and retain the best talent should embrace this quickly, and confidently.
This is because attracting the best talent – wherever they are based – is now possible with next-gen technologies. Virtual hiring should be an option when candidates cannot be physically present because it lets you get online and be in touch within seconds. It doesn’t matter if someone lives in a different city, country, or time zone, as physical barriers are inconsequential when employees contribute as effectively as ever to problem-solving and product development.
Hybrid work can be transformative for businesses looking to move into new territory – making it easier to bring in new hires who live and breathe that market – and, over time, for a company to become more global in the way it thinks and operates.
This is good news for companies with the ambition to keep rolling out new products and services, providing quality headcount to meet growing expectations.
Making hybrid work, work
As wonderful as a hybrid workplace can be, it is no guarantee of success. Employers must still strategise the right systems and processes to make it work.
All strategies start with engagement.
Perhaps one of the first things to consider is proximity. Although proximity does not necessarily equate to engagement, when teams do not work in physical proximity, they risk slipping into silos. Maybe schedules get missed out, valuable information gets lost in the noise, and sometimes, workers miss the watercooler chats which contribute to social bonding or a cracking new business idea.
There is a risk that remote work can heighten the chances of isolation and disengagement. Therefore, from a mental health perspective, it is vital to create cross-department links to encourage teams to work and socialise outside their usual circle. This also has the benefit of promoting better diversity and learning from different roles, backgrounds, and ideas. Collaboration tools and company-wide social events can help drive professional relationships further, even when the workforce is dispersed.
As a remote-first company, Currencycloud has put in place initiatives to drive employee engagement through professional relationship building such as annual Christmas parties and networking events, as well as Slack channels dedicated to specific interests such as skating, running, or even sharing photos of pets, so that employees have a chance to socialise and meet like-minded individuals that have similar passions and goals. Besides that, employees who want to advance their careers or grow in the company have access to tools like LinkedIn Learning so they can pick up new skills for career advancement.
Building a culture of over-communication
Giving employees the flexibility and choice of working at their preferred locations and hours, while still providing them with the right tools and infrastructure, can help replicate the best aspects of in-office work, like collaboration and interaction.
Regular check-ins and scheduled sessions using virtual tools are some ways to bridge the gap. Empathetic and clear communication is key. Being intentional with tone and using the right communication formats for the right messages are also important. A performance review might still be best delivered in person while meeting updates might be quickly delivered via email. Communication methods must foster inclusivity and employee equity at the team and company-wide levels.
Evolving towards a post-pandemic workplace
In the Future of Work, fintech and the wider tech sector both exhibit poster child potential. A fintech company can set an example among peers by becoming an employer of choice for the best talent. On the other hand, the tech sector can set the precedence for other verticals looking to adapt to post-COVID transformation.
Attracting and retaining the best talent wherever they are is becoming the modern hiring mandate. Some employers may still struggle with hybrid working and consider it inconvenient, but any discomfort is truly a small price to pay for the benefits of employee satisfaction and growth, especially when promoting their organisation’s culture and health to sharpen their competitive edge.