The key to retaining hybrid workers? Resolving Workplace Friction

As more organizations return to the workplace and adopt a hybrid working model, HR leaders must tackle workplace friction to attract and retain talent.

Organizations continue to face a unique situation labor market – a mass turnover coupled with an increase in job vacancies – as the global economy recovers from the ripple effects of the pandemic. And many employees recognize their new Powerful. According to Gartner analysisannual voluntary U.S. employee turnover is expected to jump nearly 20% this year, from a pre-pandemic annual average of 31.9 million employees leaving their jobs to 37.4 million in 2022.

Naturally, employers are worried. A recent Gartner survey of 100 business leaders in October 2021 found that more than half of respondents are very concerned about employee turnover.

Workplace Friction Creates Retention Risks

As HR leaders figure out how to meet the mitigation challenge employee attrition, it is essential for them to look into the root causes of employee departures. There are many reasons why employees leave their jobs, including organizational changes, personal life, external environment, or work experiences.

Yet, organizational changes related to employees’ work experiences firmly remain a major influential factor in an employee’s decision to leave an organization.

Specifically, research from Gartner shows that when employees experience a high level of job friction – that is, when the work is unnecessarily difficult – they are much more likely to leave their organization. In fact, when employees report more than nine workplace frictions in their day-to-day work, it can lead to a drop of up to 35% in their intention to stay. Examples of common workplace frictions include delays in work while waiting for a co-worker to intervene, lengthy approval processes for new ideas or approaches, and difficult-to-access critical work-related information.

Many of these challenges are not unique to specific talent segments, however, hybrid workers experience the most friction at work.

A recent Gartner survey of more than 3,000 employees worldwide found that those who work in a hybrid or remote environment working environment are 40% more likely to report a high level of workplace friction than on-site workers. They are 14% more likely to report a dramatic increase in the volume of tasks they complete and 67% more likely to be forced to create new processes in their work because none already exist.

In a world where employees have so many opportunities, frustrations with their work experiences will cause them to finally respond to that recruiter or open their recommended job emails from LinkedIn.

Today, as more employers begin to reopen their offices and adopt a hybrid work model, Gartner recommends that HR leaders pursue two strategies to prevent attrition.

Reset Hybrid Collaboration Habits

As teams become increasingly geographically dispersed, coordinating work arrangements remains a major challenge that many teams are still learning to manage.

Teams must create new collaboration standards. The HR team at a leading organization recognized the importance of actively supporting teams and reviewed their collaboration habits to ensure they continued to be effective, rather than leaving them to fend for themselves and manage alone.

Some of the changes they implemented included:

  • Set collaboration times where everyone in a particular region agrees to be available for synchronous collaboration. This time is not for back-to-back meetings, but rather for employees to work together, discuss, or even work on documents.
  • Blocking time for targeted work. This approach allows employees to schedule time for asynchronous solo collaboration. This time is for collaborating via email or commenting on documents at a time that meets employee needs and preferences.

Ruthlessly prioritize work based on impact

Gartner research shows that only half of employees who work hybrid or fully remotely agree they can maintain a work-life balance. This imbalance puts individuals at risk of burnout. Without the cues of a home-to-work commute or office work experience, employees who work from home can struggle to identify the boundaries between their personal and professional lives.

For hybrid and remote teams to succeed, it is essential that they effectively prioritize their work. This ensures that employees are not only working on the most important task, but also limit burnout.

For example, a leading organization’s organizational effectiveness team helps teams clarify where they should focus their efforts. They help teams define the activities that will have the greatest impact on business deliverables, categorize those tasks into four activity categories, and assign different levels of effort and time to those categories based on their business impact per relative to the effort required. By making this activity a habit, team leaders can prevent their hybrid workers from becoming overwhelmed.

Hybrid work models have fundamentally changed the way work happens and most organizations are still grappling with the realities of these disturbances. These realities have created new workplace frictions faced by employees at the same time organizations face the great resignation.

To stem this risk, HR leaders must work with business leaders and managers to reset hybrid work collaboration habits and ruthlessly prioritize work based on impact. Doing both will protect the employee experience and ensure that organizations remain attractive to employees. talent segments.

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