Data suggests HR leaders and CEOs must align in order to create a strong hybrid work culture.
LINDON, Utah, Dec. 9, 2021 — BambooHR, the industry’s leading cloud-hosted software provider dedicated to powering the strategic evolution of human resources, released a new study of 1,000 HR leaders and office workers showing that remote and hybrid realities have changed work culture.
The research found significant disconnects between frontline employees and leaders on various aspects of culture and many employees are considering quitting because of culture concerns. HR professionals are also feeling the strain of these adjustments with nearly a quarter of HR managers (22%) reporting that remote work has caused them to spend most of the workday on tasks they dislike or hate.
“Throughout the pandemic we’ve seen many adjustments but as companies settle on remote, hybrid or in-office workforces, changes to company culture will be a significant factor in how employees view that transition,” said Cassie Whitlock, Head of HR at BambooHR. “This data makes it clear that the role of HR is changing and it’s time for leadership at the highest ranks to take notice.”
The State of Office Culture
Going remote changed things for employees and 73% of respondents now agree that culture is not defined by a physical space. Respondents said throughout the last year companies have adjusted to strengthen culture but, 77% of employees wish their company would have done something different to help promote a positive remote or hybrid working environment. These perception gaps abound with 94% of Vice Presidents and above saying culture is strong while only 65% of individual contributors say the same.
Key findings about what employees want and the disconnect between leadership and employees include the following:
- The top ways companies have adjusted to strengthen culture in the last year are increasing communication from leadership (50%), supporting mental health (46%) and focusing on DEI (45%)
- However, according to employees, the top places culture needs to be stronger is in pay and benefits (43%), communication from leadership (41%) and better work-life balance (40%)
- In the last 18 months, 28% of office workers have been job searching
- Nearly 1 in 5 (19%) of employees say they began job searching due to declining company culture and 16% say they’re searching for another job out of fear of what new culture might develop as offices reopen
- 71% of office workers say that their company has expectations for new employees and junior staff that don’t exist for senior employees and leadership
- Office workers say the top expectations that exist for new employees and junior staff that don’t exist of senior employees and leadership are: needing to work fixed, specific hours (39%), an expectation to always be online and respond immediately (34%) and that they should always be in an office if there is an office available (26%)
The Struggle of HR Professionals
While these cultural adjustments play out, HR leaders have carried a heavy burden as nearly half (47%) say that in the last year HR tasks and responsibilities have become more difficult due to remote work. The report outlines the following about the current struggle HR leaders have with their new realities:
- One in four (26%) of respondents said that inappropriate behavior by employees has increased over the last year
- While HR leaders say they prefer to spend their time connecting with employees (67%), recruiting (49%) and onboarding (32%), nearly a quarter (22%) of them say that remote work has caused them to spend most of the workday on tasks they dislike or hate
- HR pros least favorite tasks include firing/laying off employees (55%), disciplinary action (34%), confronting employees about sexual harassment/discrimination/policy violation,/etc.(30%), employees tattling (e.g. reporting annoying behavior, office politics, etc.) (30%) and addressing bad hygiene (29%)
HR and CEO Alignment
Respondents explained that CEOs have the biggest responsibility to communicate culture and make changes but HR managers think they are the ones that hold the keys in this area. The study highlights a disconnect between leadership and HR with findings such as the following:
- 52% of office workers say that their CEO is viewed as the ultimate decision maker regarding company culture at their company
- 27% of HR managers say they trust HR management’s word most in regards to company culture and policy, compared to just 14% of individual contributors who say the same
- A third (33%) of office workers say they regularly experience HR saying one thing, with direct managers and leadership contradicting it with something else
“With top talent leaving because of culture concerns, it’s more important than ever for HR and CEOs to come together with a unified position on culture,” Whitlock said. “Culture and employee experience are a boardroom-level issue and there is an opportunity here for HR to take its place at the table in the turbulent labor market we find ourselves in.”
To read the full report, visit: https://www.bamboohr.com/resources/ebooks/how-remote-work-affect-the-culture-conversation/