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HR Meet Up: Hybrid Work and Employee Experience Through The Lenses of HR Managers

by Dreamplex News 04 Aug 2022

Hybrid work is, undoubtedly, the center of attention in this “new normal” era. What challenges HR people the most when shifting to the Hybrid model is delivering employee experiences and connections to all the diversity of their members. HR Meet-Up was held with this in mind, with the presence of HR Managers from leading companies: Heineken Vietnam, Pizza Hut Digital Ventures, Amanotes, Dreamplex, and over 80 participants joining the exciting discussion of the Hybrid era.

Hybrid Era Comes With Great Benefits and Challenges

According to research from McKinsey, 90% of companies globally are switching to hybrid work for the long-term. (1) Hybrid work is expanding remarkably with the participation of leading international firms such as Google, Microsoft, Figma,… or Heineken, Pizza Hut Digital Venture, and Amanotes in Vietnam.

Hybrid benefits include reduced real estate and operating costs, an increased ability to attract top talent, not only working parents and older employees (2), but also GenZ talents, as shown in Dreamplex & Decision Lab report, only 9% of Vietnamese Gen Z wants to work in an office full-time (3). Lastly, it is proven in Stanford research to significantly improve employee retention. (4)

Besides the outstanding advantages, there are challenges that HR people must overcome:

  • Set up the Hybrid policy: Ensure employees adhere to the hybrid guidelines, to measure compliance, and improve policies over time. 
  • Manage workplace: The transition from a traditional office to a hybrid office will require good management.
  • Employee experience: Avoid employees being less engaged and less connected to the company, the work, and each other.

A Multi-perspective Panel Discussion 

We are honored to greet our distinguished guest speakers in the Panel Discussion: Thu Nguyen – Talent Management Manager at Heineken Vietnam, Thao Tran – Head of People & Culture at Pizza Hut Digital Ventures, and Ha Pham – People Operation Manager at Amanotes.

Together with the participation of over 80 HR leaders from various industries, contribute to an insightful and multiperspective panel discussion about Hybrid. We all gathered with a shared interest in the Hybrid trend, as agreed that flexible work is essential in talent acquisition and retention nowadays.

Hybrid Setting at Heineken Vietnam, Pizza Hut Digital Ventures and Amanotes

Pizza Hut Digital Venture – productivity as the key concern:

Thao Tran – Head of People & Culture at Pizza Hut Digital Ventures shared that candidates pay a lot of attention to the Hybrid working policy before applying to the company. This encourages HR people to quickly adapt Hybrid models to current working policy. 

On the other hand, employee performance under this new policy might be questionable to the management team. Specifically, the management team wants to know:

  • Does productivity decrease when employees are working from home and how to control this?
  • How to keep employees engaged with the company and with the team when they are not present together?

Therefore, one of the challenges is to demonstrate a clear improvement in employee performance with reliable statistics. Internal survey results can be a helpful tool to justify this new policy. Thao Tran also emphasized the importance of helping employees understand the purpose, method, and benefits of doing surveys, thus, encouraging more survey participation.

Heineken Vietnam –  diversify employee experiences:

During the COVID-19, many companies have successfully practiced Hybrid working in order to survive. As we return to the “new normal”, Heineken Vietnam is one of the leading corporations that decided to keep establishing Hybrid work, according to employees’ wishes. The Hybrid policy has been applied since 9/2021, in which, instead of 5 fixed working days, employees will have 2 flexible days “work from everywhere” – Thu Nguyen proudly shared with us. 

However, it is recognized that Hybrid policy shouldn’t be applied uniformly and simultaneously to all departments in such large and diverse enterprises as Heineken Vietnam. Thu Nguyen emphasized that there are differences in the requirements and characteristics of different jobs, hence, she pointed out that the Hybrid model also needs to be customized for each department. At Heineken, the HR department takes into account all wishes of employees before making any changes, to come up with a fair policy that respects a variety of job characteristics.

Thanks to these rational considerations, the Hybrid model has brought positive effects to Heineken. According to the most recent survey, 90% of Heineken employees are satisfied with the current Hybrid model. Besides, the performance metrics also show a positive tendency with 50% of employees saying that the performance has improved, and only 30% reporting productivity decreases.

Finally, the audiences are all impressed with Thu Nguyen’s claim that the Hybrid model makes employees feel empowered as they are able to decide on their own where and when they work, that best-matched their preferences and personal life.

Amanotes – the divergent:

Deciding to go against the trend, Amanotes chose to give employees great incentives as they returned to their offline office work. Following this unique policy, they aim to create a vibrant and energized office space that embraces employees better than anywhere else.

Ha Pham – People Operation Manager at Amanotes shared that working at a technology company means that most Amanotes employees are used to a flexible working style, as they cooperate with members living in countries and cities around the world. This Hybrid workstyle is maintained throughout the pandemic, requiring members to always be productive regardless of where they work.

However, after a certain Hybrid period, Amanotes found that with the current team’s culture and preferences, returning to the office improves connectivity and productivity. Therefore, Amanotes now encourages employees to work in the office with various engaging activities and benefits, while offering Hybrid options when needed.

The Journey of Employee Experience Design

Manage the managers:

Thao Tran highlighted that cooperation with the management team is key to successful implementation. The management team is an important communication bridge that assesses the power to reach each individual in the company and helps deliver Hybrid messages thoroughly to them.

Maximize “True Togetherness”

Heineken optimizes their employee’s experience with a specific Hybrid strategy: one “We day – Company day” to bond with the company and one “Functional Day” to collaborate within the department. Thus, the Hybrid model ensures smooth coordination within the internal team while maintaining the company’s spirit effectively.

Target people that are “out of place” 

So many men, so many minds, no matter how excellent the hybrid policy is, there are always people who feel disconnected, unadaptable, and unbelonging. Thu Nguyen believes that businesses should attend to “outliers” people as well, and it is crucial to figure out how to connect them emotionally and bring about meaningful work experiences.

Emotions are contagious. Satisfaction at work, or the sense of belonging can be transferred from one to another, from each team to the entire organization. Besides company-wide engagement activities, HR people should also focus on connecting members with their internal team. This initial affection can be growing and spreading wider later on.

Connecting members that are “out of place” is never an easy task. Ha Pham shared that at Amanotes, the HR department often spends time participating in meetings and internal activities of other departments. As the observer, HR people gain helpful insights to consult the team and help to bring greater cohesion for everyone. 

Practice Community Listening

Thu Nguyen introduced to everyone “Your feedback – Our culture” as a special practice in Heineken Vietnam. Following this, HR people always endeavor to listen to and collect all possible feedback or opinions from their employees and try to create organic, informal discussions that allow employees to fully express themselves instead of relying completely on survey forms. 

These insights will then assist them in significantly improving current Hybrid policy and enhancing employee experiences.

Create vibrant workspace that people love going to

A lively and inspiring office makes going to work enjoyable. It is recommended that HR people innovate the workspace with new decorations, layout changing, or fun socializing events and bonding activities that boost employee experiences at work.

Amanotes organizes engagement programs frequently. Ha Pham shared that these programs motivate employees to spend quality time together, and as a united team, they work towards a common goal, whether it is to win a valuable award, or to share joyous moments.

Sources

  1. McKinsey, “What executives are saying about the future of hybrid work,” May 2021
  2. Mercer, “Preparing for a more flexible future,” May 2021
  3. Dreamplex and Decision Lab, “Gen Z and the Workplace in Vietnam,” November 2021 
  4. Nick Bloom (Stanford) et. al., “How Hybrid Work From Home Works Out,” April 2022

About Dreamplex

Dreamplex creates “A Better Day at Work” that perfectly meets the needs of fast-growing companies that understand that their young employees expect more from their workplace. Well-designed private, branded offices, 5-star hospitality-level care and an engaging program of social activities, training & development, and wellbeing initiatives help those companies attract, engage, and retain Millennial and Gen Z talent in Vietnam. Dreamplex has 5 locations across Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. In 2021 and 2022, Dreamplex will be adding three new locations including The UnOffice projects in District 2 and The Campus in District 4.

Contact

To learn more about how Dreamplex can help innovative companies of any size offer their teams a Workplace Experience of the future, please contact Daan van Rossum, Chief Executive Officer: daan@dreamplex.co or +84 901489369

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