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Welcome to 
Connect Magazine

“Learning to live with” neatly sums up the challenges that employers face as the UK (hopefully) moves beyond this pandemic-riddled page of the history books.  

 

Businesses looking to recover and grow must accommodate a workforce that looks increasingly tired and strung out. This summer many employees missed out on a vital opportunity to recharge their batteries with plans to jet off to sunny climes scuppered and staycations dampened by dismal weather.

 

Alongside fatigue and burn-out which comes from the treadmill of the last year or so, many have to accommodate financial worries on top of health concerns. HR rose to the challenge of supporting staff through the lockdown now it faces an arguably bigger challenge to keep staff engaged and productive. And for many organisations this means finding new ways to do this when staff are no longer working together in the same building as a team.

 

But I think businesses also have the opportunity to learn to live with the positive changes brought on by the pandemic. Employees love the greater flexibility that working from home some or all of the time gives them to better balance life with work. Learning how to thrive with a hybrid workforce also presents HR with career-stretching opportunities to rethink and refresh practices to ensure the business runs effectively wherever its workers do their work.

 

HR is living in exciting times. There’s no blueprint for hybrid working. As a community we have embarked on a massive experiment. What’s right for one organisation won’t work  for others. We are entering a rich learning phase and there will be much we can learn from one another. In this spirit, we wanted to share the wisdom and insight of peers in this issue of Connect.  What they are doing to pivot people and business practices to hybrid working.

 

HRD, Sue Evans, shares how her organisation fixed business critical issues alongside developing a culture in which staff can deliver services in a permanently hybrid workforce.

 

More employers are implementing digital engagement tools to support a hybrid workforce, but these will only be effective if used. On this theme, one article looks at how HR teams can use effective communication to encourage staff to consistently engage with this support. Another looks at the impact hybrid is having on customer experience and what employers can do to help customer support staff maintain high standards of service.

 

At a time of immense organisational change HR must play its part to ensure the organisation continues to support its  environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals.  We’ve included an article that looks at how HR can influence and support ESG. And Ben Beswick shares the core principles of the Toyota’s Flexible Benefits scheme that set the company up to successfully support colleagues through the lockdowns and into new ways of hybrid working.

 

Creating a culture in which a hybrid workforce can thrive is complex and will take time. We shouldn’t see this next phase as a race to “get hybrid done”, rather as an opportunity to experiment, reflect and learn. Adjust what doesn’t work and share what does. I hope these articles contribute to our collective learning.

 

Happy reading!

Andy Philpott 
Sales and Marketing Director, Edenred UK