Do Employers Risk Losing Employees By Not Figuring Out Hybrid Work?

Nearly 60 percent of employers believe they'll lose new and existing employees if they don't develop hybrid work processes and plans, finds new research from Poly.

Employers need to address their hybrid work processes and plans, or their recruitment and retention rates will be at risk, according to a new study that examines how organizations are responding to employees’ demand for ideal spaces to work from. The new Poly study, Recruit, Retain and Grow, analyzes work policies, culture, and wellness through the lens of over 2,500 global business decision makers.

hybrid return to work plans
(Photo: Adobe Stock)

“At Poly, we believe that being able to enable a hybrid working environment is not the endgame, but a starting point for the competitive organizations today. Our latest research validates Poly’s point of view,” said John Goodwin, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs at Poly. “We found that employees are supportive of companies that take a holistic approach to defining their culture, offer flexibility in where and how they work, and are provided with the right tools to succeed.”

Poly’s research found:

  • hybrid return to work plansRecruitment and retention are at risk: Over half (56%) of all organizations believe that if they don’t address their hybrid work processes and plans, they’ll start to lose staff and will be unable to attract new talent. This was particularly pronounced in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region (60%), compared to 55% in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) and 53% in the Americas. Globally, organizations have already felt the effects of this, with 58% seeing a greater turnover in staff since the start of the pandemic.
    • Exiting employees disclosed that the top reasons for leaving are tied to their employer’s approach to hybrid work:
      hybrid return to work plans
      (Source: “Recruit, Retain and Grow,” Poly)
      • Employees discovered better suited jobs (19%)
      • Employees did not get the desired flexibility of hybrid working (16%)
      • Employees were unhappy about the way employers handled COVID (9%)
  • Strategy and equality are misaligned: Less than half (48%) of all organizations are fully prepared for hybrid working, while 37% are only prepared in the short-term. A further 52% think that hybrid work is a blip. Meanwhile, 24% each of the Americas and APAC employers, and 17% of EMEA employers are demanding that their employees return to the office full-time.
    • Employers also said employees:
      • Should be given right to request flexible working from day one (80%)
      • Are being given rules on the number of days they are required to be in the office (84%)
      • Are in offices sporadically, so downsizing spaces is the next step (22%)
  • Culture and workforce wellness shortfall is causing productivity lags: 72% of surveyed companies saw an increase in productivity as a result of the shift to hybrid work, with a global average increase of 27%. However, 62%, 61% and 56% of organizations in APAC, EMEA and Americas believe that if employees aren’t in the office, they won’t build the relationships they need to progress their career.
    • Employers also:
      • Worry there is an unhealthy culture of overworking (49%)
      • Aren’t taking steps to prevent people feeling like they need to be always-on (49%)
      • Are concerned that remote working has made fostering and retaining work culture harder than ever (74%)

Hybrid Work Plans Spur Office Redesigns

The study also found that technology and experiences are viewed by majority of companies as the face of the company, and not office space alone (64%). Expanding the quotient of spaces available—rather than the definition as to whether the space is virtual, offsite, remote or hybrid—will help employers develop a robust hybrid work strategy.

  • Equalize virtual experiences through meeting equality for your workforce: Forward-looking companies are investing in software and devices equally with cloud applications and collaboration software at 92% each, and headsets, cameras, and speakerphones at 89%, 86% and 83%, respectively.
  • Equalize office experiences through redesign: 77% of companies are redesigning their office with more open plan areas, collaboration spaces, quiet zones, and areas to socialize. Ultimately, employees are employers’ business, and employees will be the ones mainly utilizing these spaces.
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