Employee wellbeing and business success in a hybrid world

employee wellbeing hybrid

Olga Klimentieva, Head of People and Culture at DiviPay, shares her human-centric formula for a successful hybrid transition.

If you haven’t already, it’s time to say goodbye to working in the office full-time. The hybrid working model — some days in the office, some days working remotely  — has come to take its place. Many of Australia’s largest employers are creating their own ‘new normal’ for days in the offices: Afterpay, two days per week in the office; ASX, 60% of the working week. For businesses large and small, the working routine has changed, and there’s little suggestion we’re ever going back.

While productivity is up with remote work, returning to the office in some capacity is still the goal. “For meetings that are more strategic, team-wide brainstorming, those are the types of collaborations we feel are important to have face-to-face. One of the main issues that we see is that people working remotely, can lose their voice,” says Olga Klimentieva, Head of People and Culture at DiviPay

For growing businesses like DiviPay, the challenges presented by hybrid work are very much human-centric. Providing holistic employee support within the model — whether through technology or changes to people management — is increasingly important to a successful transition.

Mental health and the challenge for business leaders

“There’s been a spike in anxiety issues for workers returning to the workplace en masse,” says Klimentieva. “People leaders and managers need to be acutely aware of that, and we really need to coach and train them to understand that different people are reacting differently to the world coming back online again.” 

Leaders need to put time into expanding their emotional skill set, says Klimentieva, in order to better understand, identify and address psychological wellbeing at work. This includes leaders being more adept with concepts of EQ (emotional quotient), empathy and mindfulness.

Klimentieva specifically recommends that businesses put time into people leadership training with a focus on hybrid and remote work. DiviPay is partnering with Employee Assistance Program (EAP) Uprise, while leaders will be specifically trained in understanding employee mental health. 

“There is certified mental health training for workers in teams such as People and Culture, with more situational training for people leaders,” says Klimentieva. “It really teaches leaders how to pick up on certain words and cues in a conversation and be able to ask open ended questions, to explore the issues on a deeper level.” Klimentieva recommends courses such as that provided by Mental Health First Aid Australia as a good place to start.

Effective technologies

DiviPay’s product offering — digital, corporate cards — has been well-placed to weather the storm of off-site working. Using DiviPay, employees have access to payment methods wherever they are working, enabling them to be productive in a hybrid world. While many businesses have adjusted their models to accommodate hybrid working, Klimentieva says it’s worth looking at technologies that facilitate employee satisfaction in a hybrid world. Communications platforms like Slack are great for keeping workers connected across the physical divide, but Klimentieva suggests that adding a human resources information system (HRIS) can be incredibly valuable, too. DiviPay is using HiBob, a platform Klimentieva finds effective.

“HiBob has a very robust survey capability,” Klimentieva says. The successful adjustment to a hybrid working model means leaders need to regularly ask how employees are feeling, where they need additional training, and what can be improved. “I think getting that data and building that into your people strategy is critical,” says Klimentieva.

Hiring for hybrid

While tech will continue to play a vital role in managing the hybrid transition, Klimentieva recommends that businesses look very closely at their People and Culture team. The change in the working model needs to be accompanied by a renewed focus on internal structures which actively help employees through the challenges. As how we work shifts, so too must our working roles.

“The new trend or the new title is ‘employee experience’,” says Klimentieva. Employee experience (EX) is likely to become a much more common phrase in the hybrid world. A recent McKinsey report states: “Organisations that design an EX model that is both personalised and supported by digital experiences that augment flexibility create an enduring opportunity to attract, inspire, and keep the best talent.” 

When considering the structure of a People and Culture team, Klimentieva recommends that businesses prioritise hiring EX specialists. “For organisations, almost of any size, one of the first hires that they make outside of someone in a more administrative capacity is someone to craft and look at the processes from an employee experience point of view.” This will continue to be important going forward, particularly considering that employees can have very different experiences depending on where and how they work.

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DiviPay is an all-in-one virtual business card and expense management platform that enables finance teams to better manage, control and streamline spending across their organisation. Founded by Daniel Kniaz and Russell Martin, DiviPay’s easy-to-use web and mobile app comes with instant virtual expense cards, bill pay, card controls and budgeting, a real-time transaction feed, automated expense reports, powerful accounting integrations, subscription spending management and exclusive rewards.

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