Watch the webinar
- Matthew Fell (Chief Policy Director, CBI)
- Kate Price (Group HR Director, Wilko)
- Mark Catchlove (Director, Global Insight Group, MillerKnoll)
- Liz Moseley, Editor and Partner, Tortoise Media (Chair)
In this session:
- CBI’s campaign for growth ahead of the Budget is landing well with political target audience. Government is in the market for bold ideas for growth and received positively. CBI is asking members to share examples of how policy changes would enable them to grow.
- Covid-19: expecting announcement on ‘living with the virus’ shortly. Two things to watch out for. First the future of free mass testing, which CBI is advocating for to maintain confidence. Secondly the future of self-isolation, where CBI is seeking clarity as soon as possible.
On hybrid working and labour shortages:
- Employers are facing higher vacancies across range of roles and sectors.
- Catledge the benefits of office-based activity, including culture building and collaboration.
- Hybrid working opens a wider geography of available talent and broader demographics, for example older workers who may not wish to travel as regularly.
- Clear difference between hybrid and flexible working. Flexible working is far broader, including part-time work.
- Highlighted three factors for employers to consider:
1) Trial different approaches to hybrid working and be flexible to adapt these, as we are all still learning.
2) Note the difference between informal hybrid working arrangements and formal requests for flexible working.
3) Will need to balance needs of organisation against individual preferences. Broad spectrum of options and balance between the two will be different between firms.
- Full remote is easier than hybrid mix. Investing in training is vital i.e. how to run effective meetings and monitoring performance/appraisals.
- Employers may wish to focus on the purpose and tasks associated with coming into the office, rather than a set number of days.
- On development opportunities of being in the office, emphasised the importance of training for managers to rethink how to carry out appraisals and performance management i.e. focussing on outcomes rather than inputs.
- Hybrid working is only one of several reasons to help broaden talent pool and mitigate labour shortages.
Mark Catchlove – MillerKnoll
- Miller Knoll are a largest office furniture manufacturer with 12,000 employees globally, including manufacturing in the UK.
- Facing biggest labour challenge for manufacturing roles. You can’t make a desk at home and so options for hybrid working are limited.
- Most sales also need to be face to face. People want to touch desk and sit on chairs. Human interaction is still highly valuable and difficult for technology to truly replicate.
- Leadership teams should clearly define what hybrid working means for their business, as there is no one definition. Need to be careful not to be so prescriptive with new hybrid working that in fact offer less flexibility than before. Should give employees options rather than tell them what to do. Risk hybrid working becomes a meaningless term.
- There will be natural tension between manufacturing and office workers, mitigating is down to wider organisational culture i.e. sharing the same canteen. Always going to be inequity between roles, clarifying purpose of different roles and how each adds value to business as a whole helps to address this.
- Autonomy is freedom within boundaries vs anarchy which is freedom without boundaries. Employers should starting with the individual perspective and understanding their personality. For example, some people don’t want freedom of choice associated with hybrid working, but others do.
- Current situation means employers have the best chance to become more inclusive. For example, MillerKnoll is increasing its focus on neuro-diversity.
- As an office furniture provider, they are being asked for advice by customers about hybrid working, even though not their role and having to direct people to consultants.
- On organisational culture, often a difference of perspective between executives and more junior workers. Culture is what the people say rather than what the leaders think
- Should focus on the purpose of the office. What it is for an individual, might be different for the others. For example, some go into the office to work alone as don’t have appropriate home working rather than collaboration.
- On benefits of the office, bonding and bridging between teams is key through casual collisions and conversations. Not just for deep collaboration of a specific project, but loose community socialisation.
Kate Price – Wilko
- Consultation of staff is key and have offered their staff flexibility within a framework. Would like most head office staff to be at a Wilko site two to three times a week, but flexibility where this is (i.e. doesn’t have to be head office).
- Have been able to recruit more staff by being flexible on location of where they go into an office/site.
- On shortages, facing severe shortages of warehouse workers. Agency workers now have the pick of more employers due to increased demand. Also facing shortage in head office skills sets including commercial, marketing and recruitment professionals.
- On retention, understanding real reason why workers are leaving is key to boosting retention in the long-run.
- Acknowledged Wilko had a degree of presenteeism in the office prior to the pandemic. Importance of leaders communicate regularly with both remote and hybrid working. Consistency and regular cadence of communications is key for effectiveness.
- On return to office, need to give people a reason and incentive rather than mandating. For example collaboration and creative sessions together, building relationships across teams.
- Categorising their workers into three buckets 1) in office, 2) hybrid (2 to 3 days in office/on-site) or 3) home worker.