“Consider how you make those moments when they’re back in the office more meaningful and impactful.”
“Consider how you make those moments when they’re back in the office more meaningful and impactful,” Nalwa said. “If employees are in the office two days a week, plan for collaboration and teamwork opportunities, so they’re not just sitting in their offices with the doors closed.”
For instance, if a team is putting together a client proposal, using office time to meet can spark creativity that might be harder to harness online. Similarly, if a manager is coaching and developing employees, periodically meeting in person can help with trust, development and team building.
“There’s a way to continue the culture of the company and build strong relationships in a hybrid model, if you make it intentional and personal when you do meet in person,” Nalwa said.
Specifically, professional services firms need to:
- develop strategies for continued employee engagement and in-person opportunities
- define processes that allow for employee self-service and technology-based learning
- establish clear timing and defined populations included in remote work policies
- establish policies for safety and health (such as vaccinations, contact tracing, temperature checks, masks), adhering to federal, state and local regulations and guidelines that clearly define employment terms and expectations
- complete and execute a communication and change management plan
Recruitment and training
As firms plan for the future, a hybrid workplace offers them the chance to cast a wider net for talent. “Organizations should embrace the hybrid strategy as a way of opening up the talent pool across the country – and opening up their ability to hire more diverse candidates,” Nalwa said.
Technology plays an important role in recruitment, helping firms comb online resumes, social media and career websites to find candidates with the ideal skills and experience for an open position. Technology can also help deliver an onboarding experience and subsequent training that demonstrate the culture of the organization.
New professional services employees traditionally received their training by working with others in the office. “In professional services, junior associates often learn on the job, while sitting with senior leaders. They learn by doing and watching,” Nalwa said. Managers and veteran employees can still build relationships with new workers, but firms must be reimagine relationships when the hybrid model doesn’t have team members sitting side by side.