By | Serena H. Huang, Ph.D. | Global Head of People Analytics | Employee Experience | Keynote Speaker | Woman-in-Tech | Ex-Deloitte | Career Coach
How are you determining which roles and teams will return to the office? Will you need to re-configure the office before the return? How will you define flexibility in the post-covid world? How will you ensure remote employees collaborate effectively with those in working in the office in a hybrid setting? These are some questions keeping many leaders up at night as the world starts to reopen.
The HR tech market has seen tremendous growth since the pandemic and at the same time the demand for people analytics has never been higher. Below are ways technology and people analytics can help you make a data-informed decision about the return.
- Employee Listening. There have been heated debates on whether or not to survey employees on their preference for the post-Covid work arrangement. Organizations are concerned they may not be able to meet employees’ needs. It is certainly better to know than being in the dark, however, be aware there may be a gap between survey results and actual behaviors. This is the difference between stated and revealed preference. Additionally, the pandemic situation has been and may continue to be very fluid. An employee’s situation can change due to many reasons so it is important to keep monitoring rather than assuming the survey response from 4 months ago was still valid for everyone. In addition to capturing employees’ preference and concerns, listening technology also enables you to gather feedback once the return-to-office starts. As companies consider hybrid and alternating schedules, it will be helpful to target different employee populations based on the workplace arrangement so they receive relevant survey questions. While it is possible to distribute different questions manually, it is much easier to have a listening platform that can do it in a more automated way.
- Workplace Safety and Vaccine Management. As employees return to the office, safety will continue to be the number one concern. Earlier in the pandemic, many employees expressed concerns around returning because of safety and health risks both during their commute and while in the office. Several vendors such as ServiceNow and Salesforce now offer apps that can help organizations with contact tracing, vaccine management, employee health screening and other critical tasks. It is important to consult your legal and privacy counsel as there may be countries where you cannot roll out exactly the same solution legally.