How Northern California HR managers are tackling remote vs. in-office workers, mental health support, recruiting in a tight job market
To be in the “people business” these days is to have nimble, insightful and empathic.
Hiring patterns are in disarray, with job seekers carrying more power than before. Even current employees consider career changes while employers ponder how much of the workforce needs to be in the office full time, or is hybrid the best way to go.
It’s a good time, then, to ask area human resources leaders a few questions. North Bay Business Journal Research Michelle Fox prepared the following survey.
Are you allowing staff to work partly from home, partly in the office? If so, what guardrails have you put in place to manage this hybrid arrangement?
Ashley Baker: Yes, roles that do not have responsibilities requiring them to be in person are permitted to work from home parttime; we have a telecommute policy that provides guardrails.
Kristina Derkos: Several years before the pandemic, RCU began a purposeful strategic initiative to create an environment with greater flexibility that offers our team the same amazing RCU employee experience regardless of where they physically perform their work. The pandemic brought greater focus to our visionand kicked our strategy into hyper speed, leveraging the challenges to create an even better employee experience that will help the organization successfully navigate the new normal.
Monica Flores: We continue to evolve our work approach and currently allow our staff to work partially from home, up to three days per week.
That said, we are sensitive to the differing needs of our staff and have been flexible with many on our requested time of two days per week in the office. We are utilizing regular communication to keep staff up to date, evaluate project needs, and ensure support and mentoring for newer QKA staff. Brenda Gilchrist
Many of the HR Matrix clients discovered that many of their positions can now be done remotely or partly remote. Interestingly, throughout this remote working experiment over the last two years, our clients realized they didn't need very many guardrails. In fact, many employees have demonstrated increased performance and overall describe an increased level of job satisfaction associated with less drive time, more flexibility, more autonomy and less distractions.
Lynn Ichinaga: As a retail operation, the majority of our team members work in-person in customer-facing roles and we have structured our corporate sphere to emulate this environment.
Over the last two years, team members in our corporate headquarters have transitioned from remote to hybrid work models, returning in-person to our office in Petaluma at least two days per week. Once this shift began, we found that many wanted to come into the office for more days than required. Alongside health measures like sanitization, masking when required and coordinated scheduling for cohorts, support for hybrid work has included regular Microsoft Teams check-ins from managing staff, the use of a central digital communication platform, shared goals and agreed upon guidelines, and an emphasis on accurate timekeeping.
By the end of 2022 we will have outlined our policy for hybrid work capabilities, including goals and expectations.