Executives are confident they can maintain their culture in a long-term hybrid work environment, but at the same time, remain concerned about the negative impacts the pandemic has had on employee experience, says a new study released by global professional services firm Genpact.
While nearly all respondents (97%) believe their company has a shared culture it can maintain in a hybrid working environment, the report, 'Tech for Progress 360: Engage employees, strengthen company culture' highlights fundamental areas businesses need to address, which if left untouched, could jeopardise their ability to maintain a community of shared values and positive employee experience.
Almost everyone (91%) agrees that since the pandemic’s onset, employee interactions have shifted toward problem-solving and away from socialising. While there are some positive benefits to this problem-solving focus, casual exchanges with colleagues enable people to build their networks and integrate with the culture.
Having opportunities for employees to connect and form relationships are critical to the onboarding experience and instilling shared values from the start.
Almost half (48%) of executives surveyed say increased remote working has negatively impacted their organisation’s ability to integrate new hires into their culture.
Cross-level relationship building
The bonds between colleagues across different levels of the organization are not being nurtured, potentially hindering development of future leaders. In fact, 42% of respondents say remote working has negatively impacted the connection between senior and junior leaders.
In the hybrid world, people working in the office and remotely must be able to collaborate quickly and seamlessly.
Asked which technology holds the greatest potential for enhancing teamwork, 59% of executives surveyed say virtual meeting technologies, but only 11% recognise the potential that improving onsite meeting room technologies has on effective collaboration, suggesting that aligning remote and office experiences may need more experimenting.
The study, which reflects input from 500 senior executives from large global enterprises, underscores technology’s critical role in employee engagement and organisational culture.
Indeed, among the respondents whose organisations were the biggest adopters of new technologies during the pandemic, 76% strongly agree that their company can maintain its culture in a hybrid working environment, versus 35% of others.
Similarly, executives who say their companies’ business performance improved significantly over the past two years are more likely to see the potential of groundbreaking technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and advanced analytics to empower people to learn and grow.
“The rapid shift to remote work has been one of the most important management innovations of the past 20 years. It’s proven work can be done remotely at scale. But in a post-pandemic world, leading companies will be defined not just by their ability to get work done, but in their ability to create agile, adaptable, hybrid work environments that allow culture and creativity to thrive,” said Tiger Tyagarajan, Chief Executive Officer, Genpact.
“To lead through this seismic shift, businesses must combine digital technologies and smart data to drive actionable insights that integrate employees into company culture, enable collaboration, and maintain learning and wellbeing — whether people work remotely, in the office, or blend both.”
Collectively, the study’s findings challenge businesses’ ability to nurture a shared culture if they do not take heed of lessons from the pandemic while continuing to innovate for the future."As people adjust to a hybrid world, companies must remember that work requires collaboration and deep human connection — wherever it is performed. Technology can play an important role in supporting a hybrid environment that works for both employees and customers, while delivering long-term business and individual success,” Tyagarajan stressed.