CASE STUDY: Future Ways of Working
Updated: Sep 16, 2021
Workforce wellbeing check-in and feedback on how a hybrid work model might work
“I love my company, I love my job. But I think of quitting every day.”
Female, 46+, Parent
“Perhaps staff might agree to work 1 or 2 more hours during the day in return for a day off a week/fortnight - many actually do that already outside the confines of the traditional 9am - 5pm.”
I'd rather not say, 18-35, No children
A new Chief People Officer wanted to reach out to their people and check in on how they were faring six months into the COVID-19 crisis. Video-con check-ins between leaders and their teams was one thing, but how do you gather the whole workforce around you and talk about sensitive issues when you can’t meet?
How do you make decisions about new business models when the tools you’ve used forever don’t meet the demands of the new world order?
The immediate crisis of getting people working remotely was behind them. But the new challenge of workforce planning in a very ambiguous and uncertain future was looming now.
Survey data was showing pockets of stress, particularly among corporate office knowledge workers, with 34% reporting feeling burnt out. Some teams reported people disappearing off the radar entirely.
It was no time to start losing their people.
They needed not just to measure but to understand what their people were experiencing and how they felt about returning to an office in a very uncertain time.
They had no baseline, no data-based insight into which groups were most vulnerable and why, which groups were on the brink of leaving (or just giving up) when they were needed to perform better than ever.
The company’s leadership wanted to hear from their people on two themes:
How are you coping with working from home and how can the company support you to make it work well?
How should we keep what’s good about working from home? What should we do to mitigate what’s not so good? Now that the mind-shift has happened, what else can we do in a new paradigm?
Those at the helm of the company wanted to demonstrate inclusive leadership, supporting their people through difficult times, and saw the data-insight benefits of including them in the “last mile” of a critical COVID turn-around strategy.
Invitations to participate in a Plaetos forum were sent out to nearly 900 employees and contractors. The 7 day forum was anonymous to help employees feel psychologically safe in sharing their stories, meaning leadership could trust that what they heard was candid and not moderated by what bosses might like to hear. The forum was moderated independently by Plaetos moderation partners.
The customer effectively road tested their return to work planning, with the data enabling them to know which demographic groups held which views on flexibility. The Plaetos forum brought up many ideas for how to meld remote work, autonomy and accountability and provided safe social connection where it was needed and sought most. This ground-troops insight informed the company’s operational model, logistics and workforce planning strategy to ensure their eventual return to work would be as productive as possible, so they can hit the ground running post-lockdown. The powerful leadership gesture - we’re confident - will be reflected in retention of top talent in reporting seasons to come.
“Thanks for this opportunity and for creating this forum. Although it’s challenging working at home, getting to spend this much time with family is probably something I’ll never get to do again. So that's the silver lining.” —Plaetos Forum Participant