What makes hybrid work models successful? Collaboration, enabled by digital technology solutions, ensures successful workplace transformation.
According to McKinsey, businesses that have successfully integrated hybrid work models in their business models experience three times the return on investment. Digital technology is critical to the investment.
During Covid-19, companies were able to drive an innovation agenda when they emphasized bottom-up innovation, harnessed ideas from the front lines, and encouraged creativity and entrepreneurship in getting work done. According to McKinsey Partner Brooke Weddle, “We saw healthy companies emphasizing the free flow of information—knowledge sharing, performance transparency—as well as practices like role clarity and operational discipline. Successful companies were innovating and shaping new solutions and translating them back into systems and processes.”
How do you create collaboration and successful hybrid work models?
- Set expectations. By its definition, hybrid work means leaders will have less visibility with employees and cannot observe them directly by casually walking around the office. As a result, leaders need to clearly set expectations on goals, key milestones, due dates, and what excellence looks like. It is critical to establish team norms for when to be in the office together, full participation in meetings, showing respect, building upon each other’s ideas, and decision-making. Finally, it is essential to set expectations on how quickly to respond to another team member’s question.
- Train managers on the skill set necessary for hybrid working. Many managers were trained in leadership methods that emphasized getting work completed by a deadline. In a hybrid work model, managers need to be more flexible with their leadership behaviors.
- Here are some tips which center around empathy:
- Understand each employee’s situation, whether they are working from home or in the office, and work with each individual to find solutions that fit their schedule and work environment and meet the company’s goals.
- Everyone is going through new situations, and just when employees may feel settled, the world changes again! Managers need to recognize this constantly changing dynamic and lead with empathy. Be an active listener first to understand employees’ concerns, help them problem solve and overcome obstacles when possible.
- Here are some tips which center around empathy:
- Provide the right collaboration tools. Collaboration apps (such as Slack and Microsoft Teams) have significantly improved the ability of remote and hybrid workers to collaborate. Video conferencing platforms (such as ZOOM and WebEx) have allowed teams of remote workers to see each other’s facial expressions and whiteboard online together as they work through issues. Chatbots, such as MeBeBot, are accessed in Slack and Teams, where employees collaborate with their colleagues, improve performance by answering employee questions anytime from anywhere. In addition, employees save significant time when using chatbots that provide answers to their questions instantly. According to Interact Source, 19.8 % of business time – the equivalent of one day per working week – is wasted by employees searching for information to do their job effectively.
Despite the initial concern about the viability of collaboration tools, Pew Research has shown that workers and managers quickly adapted to collaboration tools throughout the Covid-19 endemic.
The advantage of chatbots is that they reduce the time employees search for answers. This is a huge advantage when employees can no longer walk to HR or IT down the hall to get an answer to a question. Employees also seldom search company internet sites to find the policy that will give them the answer. Millennials and Gen Z employees expect companies to have chatbots to answer their questions instantly, like Siri answers their questions on popular culture or consumer items.
The use of chatbots is growing. In 2109, Gartner predicted that 25 percent of digital workers would use a virtual employee assistant by 2021. HR leaders are following the lead of marketing and IT teams, realizing that they need anywhere operations, enabling employees to use digital technology to interact with HR systems from anywhere in the globe, at any time. While anywhere operations empower remote workers, it also supports organizations in a hybrid work model where employees can move through various locations seamlessly from office to supplier to customer site and home. Hackett Group research shows that Gartner’s prediction is coming true, and the use of chatbots is growing significantly.
MeBeBot’s AI-powered Intelligent Assistant is a solution that enables collaboration between employees and builds trust with consistent answers to their HR, IT, and Operations questions. It is also valuable for easing the onboarding process and making it easier for newly acquired employees to quickly transition into the new company during mergers.
MeBeBot’s curated database of questions are easy to update and edit, allowing companies to be up and running with an AI Chatbot in two to four weeks (not months), providing a rapid time-to-value and exceptional return on investment.
In addition to saving employees time by answering their questions instantly, MeBeBot clients report a 75 percent drop of questions coming into HR and IT and an answer accuracy rate above 90 percent, saving time for the overworked staffs of HR and IT. Cloud hosted and managed (with supervised human and machine learning), MeBeBot’s AI continually “learns” and refines answers, tracks data, and can even alert HR and IT to any issues and opportunities to grow and scale the solution.
Beyond supporting employees to be more productive, MeBeBot’s Push Messaging feature (in Slack or Teams) facilitates employee communications and engagement. With push-messaging technology, MeBeBot allows HR, IT and Ops leaders to send out reminders to employees to complete onboarding tasks, deadlines for open enrollment, or updates on return to the workplace questions (such as mask and vaccine mandate issues).
Lastly, to gain immediate feedback and data on employee satisfaction and engagement (to drive retention), MeBeBot’s Pulse Survey feature sends out a quick question or Yes/No statement so that our customers can gather quick insights into their employees’ opinions. Studies have shown that if you solicit feedback from your employees (and build strategies to act on their needs), companies can prevent attrition and improve overall job satisfaction. And, since the pulse survey is sent to MeBeBot via Teams or Slack, employees can respond in these collaboration tools in the flow of work.