Six reasons why hybrid working will improve recruitment and retention

Six reasons why hybrid working will improve recruitment and retention

Hybrid working has advantages for employees, employers and the environment alike. Among them are improvements in staff recruitment and retention. 

While Covid-19 restrictions are easing in countries around the world, many businesses are recognising that the pandemic has had a permanent effect on how people want to work.

Long periods of lockdown have brought home the advantages of remote working, with companies as diverse as Amazon, Ford and Facebook now willing to give employees more control over where they’re based.

According to a study by PwC, 83% of employers say the shift to remote working has been successful for their company, while CIPD research shows that it can improve productivity. 

With its promise of reduced real estate costs and environmental benefits, it’s little wonder that the hybrid model – an approach that allows employees to split their time between home, the corporate office and a local flexible workspace – has found favour with global enterprises such as NTT and Standard Chartered bank. Both have signed deals with IWG in 2021, giving their combined workforce of 400,000 access to its worldwide network of flexspaces. 

However, hybrid working offers benefits in terms of recruitment and retention, too – all of which can help to boost productivity, support a healthy company culture and bolster the bottom line.

It’s considered a key benefit

First and foremost, it’s crucial to recognise that hybrid working is now a benefit that people will actively seek in a job role. Research from IWG shows the pandemic has had such an effect on employees’ priorities that they would forgo a 10% pay rise in favour of retaining the option to work remotely. 

According to the survey, 72% of office workers would prefer a hybrid way of working to a full-time return to the office – even if reverting to the old Monday-Friday routine meant earning more money. 

What’s more, 83% of workers would now be more likely to apply for a position if it offered a flexible way of working. It’s clear that in the new world of work, firms looking to hire top talent will need to consider offering potential employees more autonomy than ever before. Sion Jones of JVP Group says: “Employers need to review what they are offering when it comes to both salary and package.” 

It avoids ‘push/pull’ politics

On the other hand, a rigid policy of pulling people back to the office full time is likely to push them one way: out of the door. 

Anthony Klotz, Professor of Management at Texas A&M University, has coined the term ‘The Great Resignation’. It describes the phenomenon of mass movement in the labour market – what Klotz sees as one of the main repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Microsoft’s Work Trend Index survey of more than 31,000 workers around the world confirms that businesses are right to be concerned about this. Some 41% – almost half the global workforce – are considering quitting their jobs in 2021, according to the study. 

Dr LaNail R Plummer, CEO of Onyx Therapy Group, told Forbes magazine: “Forcing people to go back to the office communicates to employees that their company doesn’t value what the best work environment may be for [them].” 

She argues that pushing employees to work in ways that aren’t good for their wellbeing – and which are difficult to justify in terms of productivity – is likely to lead to resignations. 

It makes people happier

Meanwhile, hybrid working helps to make people happier. Fewer visits to the office means less time spent commuting – a process that IWG Founder and CEO Mark Dixon describes as “the key enemy”. 

Reclaiming hours that were formerly spent on trains or in cars enables people to spend more time with family and friends, take regular exercise and cook healthier food. 

The physical, mental and emotional benefits of this for individuals can be significant, while employers benefit from more relaxed, resilient and motivated staff. 

It broadens the talent pool

In addition, the hybrid approach opens up a host of new options for firms when they want to hire new staff. 

No longer bound by limiting their search to specific locations, firms can look beyond their usual talent pools to find best-fit candidates for posts, and not just those who happen to live within commutable distances.

What’s more, a hybrid hiring process helps to improve inclusivity. “The ability to work [remotely] allows enterprises to attract top-quality candidates whose family and other commitments would have previously precluded them from working at your location,” according to executive search consultancy Horton International

It changes how promotions happen

When it comes to retention, ensuring your best people have leadership roles to aim for is vital. Interestingly, Iowa’s Drake University has provided some insight on the question of whether, in a hybrid world, different types of people might find themselves better suited to leadership roles. 

Its study tracked 220 US-based teams, assessing which people emerged as leaders across in-person, virtual and hybrid groups. The face-to-face teams chose leaders who were generally considered to be extroverted, attractive and charismatic, whereas the remote teams chose leaders who were considered doers: those who excelled at planning, helping their teammates and simply getting things done.

“In face-to-face interactions, most of us are very easily swayed by the power of personality,” says lead author Radostina Purvanova, a Professor of Management and Leadership at Drake University. In short, a talented but shy member of staff might find promotion easier, and quicker, to achieve in the new world of work – and you may therefore keep them longer. 

It offers cost savings 

Finally, it’s worth remembering that happier employees are more loyal employees – and this has cost implications, as well as an effect on productivity. Research from the Society for Human Resource Management suggests that every time a business replaces a salaried employee, it costs six to nine months’ pay.

Ultimately, it’s evident that the hybrid model can deliver “spectacular benefits for employees and employers alike,” argues Dixon. “The future of work is already with us. And it’s only going to improve.” 

With thousands of smart flexible workspaces all around the world, IWG can offer the services your company needs to navigate the new normal.