Numly Releases its 2021 HR Survey Report on Latest Trends for Remote/WFH/Hybrid Work Teams

By Shalini Ramakrishnan, Director of Product Marketing

The future of work centers around people and how they can connect with each other in meaningful ways. While collaborative technology solutions address many of the issues of this new world of work, organizations have to now identify ways to enable employees to increase productivity and stay engaged. 

As the pandemic eases, most organizations are looking at a hybrid work model, one that combines remote work and on-site work. This new world of work needs that organizations retool to address the needs of their employees and drive better organizational outcomes. However, in the absence of physical proximity, it is essential to empower employees to help them develop the critical skills needed to thrive in this new and hybrid workplace. 

Hybrid workplace – new place, new rules

Evolution is now becoming a constant in the enterprise narrative. As such, employee development has become a priority to ensure that organizations can remain on the path of competitive profitability. However, with limited physical interaction being the hallmark of this hybrid workplace, organizations can no longer rely on old methods that worked previously. 

The Learning and Development (L&D) department has to help organizations manage this workplace evolution and help them develop the skills needed to thrive and contribute to organizational outcomes. 

But is it possible to drive learning and development in the traditional, directive manner now? The answer is, no.

The mind-shift 

Survival was top of the mind when we went into the pandemic. As the dust settled, organizations realized that the world of work had indelibly changed. It was time to identify new ways of doing things – tools to drive collaboration, productivity, time management, processes, etc. all became a part of this journey. 

What also became evident that the playing field had changed. 

For leaders, this meant identifying new leadership strategies and shift from being remote bosses to virtual leaders

For managers, this shift signified learning new ways to connect with the team and help them succeed

For employees, it meant identifying ways to improve productivity and output and work on building collective team effort. Then there was the concern of work from home burnout that had everyone on their toes. 

But we have graduated from this space. Now organizations are looking at ways to accelerate innovation, productivity, and organizational outcomes while assessing ways to drive enablement at work and facilitate employee growth through learning and development initiatives that plug the gaps and drive growth. They are also focused on helping employees become more resilient to prevent WFH burnout

The responsibility to identify the needs of the workforce primarily lay with the L&D in the traditional workplace. But with the forces of change accelerating continuously, addressing learning and development needs and personal development needs have to become more proactive than remain reactive. 

Organizations need to address the development needs of employees proactively as it remains one of the major influencers of employee engagement. The millennial and generation Z value learning and growth opportunities as critical ‘perks’. As they are becoming the dominant demographic in the workplace, the focus on learning, development, and growth opportunities become direct contributors of retention and engagement. 

Organizations have to be able to quickly recognize and address the learning and development needs of their managers and leaders as well and make sure that they are in a position to get the knowledge needed to drive the shifts in behaviors that influence the new workspace. 

Being proactive in everything is the only way ahead to build resilience and success into the organizational DNA. As such, the work environment that exists now demands establishing the right processes and structures that help the employee take the drivers’ seat when it comes to their development needs.

How to deliver empowerment in a location-agnostic manner?

The Learning and development department’s role in the hybrid work environment veers more towards delivering empowerment and enablement at work, where work happens, irrespective of where their employees are. 

The way ahead is to help employees build the right connections and identify the right resources that will help them progress ahead in their career path. But before that, they need to clearly identify what their learning needs are. 

With no water cooler conversations to ignite minds, limited physical interactions with others in the organization, employees are holding the short end of the stick when it comes to recognizing what, where, and how they need to progress. Skills, especially, soft skills can be tricky to identify more so because human nature is biased. 

Relying on guesswork or gut feel is hardly an effective solution. Instead, organizations should empower employees by helping them identify their development needs using data. Behavioral analysis tests, 16 Personality factor assessment provide clear data on where development efforts should focus.

This approach needs to be supplemented with a healthy and buzzing peer coaching network within the organization.  With peer coaching, organizations can help employees maneuver their way in the hybrid workplace, close performance gaps, and achieve their professional goals. Additionally, peer coaching is the road ahead to drive thriving diversity and inclusion initiatives and ensure that these are not flaky and superficial. 

Peer coaching outcomes though, have to be measurable. Thus, having a peer coaching platform that allows personalization, supports confidentiality, enables assessment-based learning, and provides feedback become crucial contributors to success. 

Given the needs of the hybrid workplace, an AI-powered coaching platform can make employees more proactive in distinguishing learning and development opportunities by providing AI-powered timely nudges. Such a platform can also provide deep analytics to help organizations assess the efficacy of their peer coaching programs. Insights on skill and attrition dashboards and performance management analytics help organizations determine the success and areas of improvement of the program and coaching and take concrete steps to remediate any gaps. 

By creating a peer coaching network, personal development in the hybrid workplace becomes more than an amorphous concept. It helps employees and leaders to transition into their roles more seamlessly and helps people work better, irrespective of where they are located. It becomes the bridge that connects the organization with the employee in more meaningful ways and fosters interactions that generate action and outcomes. 

Connect with us to see how our AI-powered peer coaching platform can help your employees thrive in the hybrid workplace.

By Madhukar Govindaraju , Founder & CEO

The disruption introduced by the COVID-19 pandemic continues well into 2021. 

Organizations have to retool to navigate this new world of work and need to identify what makes their employees tick. While most staff are working remotely, some are working on-premises while following the government guidelines and mandates of social distancing and lower occupancy. The days of relying on water cooler conversation to drive ideas exchange, innovation, or even camaraderie seem to be behind us. 

The Hybrid Workplace Needs Peer Coaching

Given the tectonic shifts in the workplace, HR teams and organizational leadership have to adopt a more strategic and creative approach to ensure the holistic development of their people resources and help them remain relevant, efficient, and productive in the new era of work. 

This hybrid work environment has been a struggle for most organizations. The lack of conversations for early-career employees, the change in managerial strategies to manage remote teams, the networking challenges for new managers in this remote setup, and the leadership crisis are some battles that need winning. 

On the organizational side, 

  • There is the task to build and support diversity and inclusion initiatives
  • Help employees stay aligned with organizational purpose
  • Prevent burnout 
  • Provide a platform to help employees build professional relationships and skills critical for survival and advancement 
  • Then there is the resilience chasm to bridge by building trust bridges, closing the skills gaps, and delivering enablement at work.

All this and more can be achieved with Peer Coaching, a great management strategy that improves motivation and patience, closes the skills gap, and builds organizational resilience. 

However, not all peer coaching programs are created equal. Here are a few strategies to adopt to make sure that your peer coaching programs are effective as they are efficient and help in building a culture of continuous learning within the organization.

Confidentiality is crucial 

While peer coaching is an informal coaching approach, it needs to establish the same level of confidentiality as formal coaching. In peer coaching the coach and the learner work together to reflect upon existing practices and identify ways to expand, improve and build new skills. It involves sharing ideas and impressions, reflections, and attitudes and adopts a holistic attitude towards employee development. 

Peer coaching exposes employees to a bigger range of workplace skills and disseminates knowledge, skills, and competencies by dialogue and observation as well. However, the learner here needs to be assured that her queries and areas of improvement, thoughts, and beliefs, and communication remain confidential and free from judgment. 

By establishing a confidential process and defining the rules of engagement for both parties, the coach and the learner, peer coaching programs eliminate the fear of judgment, help in building trust bridges, and ensure that the initiative is effective and efficient. 

Personalization should be a priority 

In the age of personalization, why should peer coaching lag behind? Coaching outcomes can only be successful when they are contextual to the learner. Only by establishing context can organizations expect better coaching outcomes – it is only by understanding why change is needed that change is executed

Data-backed assessments help organizations identify the exact coaching needs of employees and help them connect with peer coaches who can help them plug these holes that impact performance and growth. 

Using tests such as 16-personality factor assessment or behavioral analysis tests, peer coaching can take a more data-driven approach and establish context with the learner. With data, it also becomes easier to personalize the learning plan and ensure the best learning outcomes. 

Assessment-based learning

While peer coaching is a great tool that allows employees to validate, activate, and accrue knowledge, it is essential to remember that we can only manage what we can measure. 

Just like organizations need data to drive contextual and personalized peer coaching programs, they need data to understand the effectiveness and improvement areas of these programs. As such peer coaching programs also need to have an assessment-based model. Making peer coaching assessment-based provides the data needed to evaluate the learning curve and understand the depth of knowledge gained versus the gaps.

Feedback-driven 

Processes to provide honest, clear, and timely feedback are also necessary to design effective and outcome-driven peer coaching programs. As such, while the program follows an informal and conversational format, feedback for the same cannot be so. 

Peer coaching programs are effective since they are known to drive behavioral change. Behavioral change only takes place when there is a constant reiteration and targeted and timely information. Providing real-time feedback and having established two-way feedback mechanisms hence becomes essential to drive the success of peer coaching programs. 

Driving Trackability 

Tying in with the mantra ‘you can only manage what you can measure’, is the need to make peer coaching trackable as other learning and development initiatives. Having the systems in place to gain deep and actionable insights from skill and attrition dashboards and performance management analytics provides the data to measure the success of these programs. 

These analytics can then be used to identify existing and emerging needs of the workforce, close existing gaps in the coaching, evaluate ways to make the coaching program more effective, and design steps to close the learning gaps. It also makes sure that this activity helps in cultivating trust and long-term relationships with employees, increases employee job satisfaction, improves employee engagement, and lowers employee attrition rates. 

Peer coaching gives employees a platform to address their challenges, stresses, fears, and hopes, and provides support to their vulnerability. In today’s context, this becomes essential as the conversation around work from home burnout increases as does the need to drive diversity and inclusion strategies. Peer coaching helps employees unlock their potential to maximize their own performance by helping them learn rather than by teaching them. 

The transition to this new world of work has been tough on many. To make it smooth, organizations are looking towards reorganizing their priorities, workforce strategies & re-mapping the skill requirements to match the demands of the hybrid future. Success in this new world of work demands that we work towards fundamentally improving how people work, wherever they are. And peer coaching is the silver bullet that makes this happen.

Connect with our team of experts to design peer coaching programs that drive organizational resilience and success.