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Performance Over Presence

How new flexible working arrangements will impact performance.

Across the globe, numerous business leaders have been presented with a unique opportunity, or challenge, to redefine the post-pandemic workplace; to think holistically and pave the way for organizational change. 

More companies continue to transition to a hybrid business model to ensure cultural consistency and preserve a purpose-driven workforce. Perhaps, by adopting a hybrid-remote structure, organizations can be seen to align with the needs and desires of the candidate market. By placing the values of the workforce at the forefront; many companies are likely to orchestrate social cohesion and unified culture, which in turn, may help to proactively retain talent. This begs the question, how effective is the hybrid model to best fit the demands of organizations and create an alignment with employee expectations?

Hybrid-remote: prioritize performance

The hybrid workplace accelerates freedom and flexibility around where to work, but also when to complete work. Let’s delve deeper to uncover any potential drawbacks or benefits that the hybrid structure may be likely to present. 

The financial services industry may be gearing toward a future hybrid working paradigm, but does this business model spell trouble for firms? Accounting professionals and financial advisors may find it sustainable to work from home, whereas traders and commercial bankers, who traditionally need to be office-available, may find remote working to be a struggle. James Findlay, Head of Client Services and Business Development at Selby Jennings, reports, “traditionally recruitment in financial services has relied, and thrived, on an apprenticeship business model in that more junior staff learn and improve from hearing and seeing their more experienced colleagues working. This was one of the more pertinent benefits of the sales floor environment and one which has been completely negated by working from home.”

The working from home experiment may have muddled the waters, specifically when measuring individual employee and collective performance of an organization. Zach Stamp, Executive Director at Phaidon International, comments, “performance has in most cases either been maintained or improved - the biggest justification for ‘presence’ now is more the social aspects of team bonding rather than the historical performance argument.” If the evolving hybrid workplace is to be set in motion, perhaps performance may be determined through cohesion between employers and employees. Culture and mindset are a precursor to performance. While performance resides with the individual, albeit present at home or in-office, providing an enabling culture is a responsibility for leaders. Adjusting the focus to redefine performance of the distributed labor force, but also performance in regard to organizational purpose, is a challenge, but one that may lead to a unified and brighter future for the workplace.

Leading a hybrid workforce

For some leaders, concerns about hybrid teams may arise when trying to develop a compatible culture or inclusive interactions. Practices may need to be put in place to mitigate any feeling of disconnect and ensure that employees present in-office are in sync with the remote workforce. 

The dynamically changing landscape calls for innovation, but can the engineering and infrastructure industry, which has traditionally required in-person collaborations and workers to be present on-site, evolve to a hybrid working structure? Some software, computer, and chemical engineering professionals have been able to shift seamlessly to working remotely. However, companies in the energy, power, building services, and civil engineering sector require on-site inspections and highly skilled operations making remote work difficult to sustain.

That being said, many institutions are seeking nuanced solutions, new tools, or innovative operating models to enhance remote ways of working. Tom Marks, Associate Director at LVI Associates, states that “where remote working has certainly made an impact is for internal communication. People no longer need to be in the same room to discuss, and flesh out ideas, which has led to decisions being made faster and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.” 

Despite hybrid work yielding, in some instances ‘the best of both worlds’, planning and implementing this business model is no easy feat and may prove logistically complex for enterprise leaders. How can managers foster and nurture culture with geographically dispersed employees? Developing a deeper sense of company culture is the glue that holds teams together. An aligned culture facilitates clarity, increases decision-making, and leads to an engaged and motivated workforce. 

Hybrid-remote: nuances and strategies

Hybrid working arrangements provide workers with flexibility to manage the various aspect of life and autonomy to control their schedules. Post-pandemic, many have become accustomed and perhaps attached to the flexibility and work-life fulfillment that remote working offers. With this new-found clarity of talent, expectations have evidently changed. By harnessing the hybrid trajectory, many businesses can demonstrate a willingness to prioritize talent, placing the values of the workforce at the heart of organizations. 

To put it simply, if employee perceptions are not reflected in a company, this misalignment may well result in the feeling of being undervalued which could act as a vehicle for talent exiting the workplace. So says Emily Prendergast, Director at DSJ Global, “as many Fortune 500 companies adopt either fully remote or partially remote working models, it has pushed the small and mid-sized firms to follow suit in order to remain competitive in attracting talent in the market.” 

By implementing the hybrid model, managers can demonstrate trust and flexibility, allowing employees to choose their own working patterns and environments. A willingness to offer high levels of autonomy may also lead to greater employee experiences and more diverse talent pools. Alec Taylor, Vice President at EPM Scientific, further reports, “a company can see increased performance by switching to the hybrid model because it allows you to reach an additional pool of qualified candidates that would otherwise not be able to make the commute work on a daily basis.” 

A hybrid future 

The future of the workforce can be seen to place an emphasis on organization, flexibility, and leveraging transformative technologies. In the wake of the global pandemic, digital transformation accelerated due to the disruption of work and business ecosystems. Digitally enabled organizations and businesses that interweave technology into their strategy are the apparent ones to stay ahead of the curve. By establishing and investing in a digitally nimble infrastructure, enterprises can tap into data and respond with more pronounced agility to the needs of employees. 

The question arises around how productivity and performance can be assessed with the ‘flexi-work’ model. Performance metrics today are not quantified simply by physical presence, which once prevailed in the office-centric structure. In many ways, with the lack of visibility in presence, business leaders may have to shift the attention to engagement, efficiency, and quality of work in order to assess individual performance. 

Forward-thinking data market and technology companies continue to be at the forefront when it comes to flexible working. This experienced-based business model is seen to drive lasting change, maintain distinctive company cultures, and create a holistically unified workforce. Perhaps companies may need to adjust to a hybrid structure to be able to position themselves as the company of choice; helping leverage their competition, enhance talent acquisition, and retain top talent.

Whether you’re looking to make a career move or searching for business-critical talent, we have got you covered. Contact ustoday for a confidential discussion with one of our talent specialists.

About Us

Phaidon International is the parent company of six specialist talent brands. Together, the Phaidon International group exists to solve one of the top challenges faced by companies globally – securing business-critical talent. From 12 global office hubs, the Phaidon International group provides bespoke permanent and contract talent services around the world:

·Selby Jennings: Banking and financial services

·DSJ Global: End-to-end supply chain

·EPM Scientific: Life sciences

·LVI Associates: Engineering and infrastructure

·Glocomms: Technology

·Larson Maddox: Regulatory and legal