HCM for the Hybrid Workforce

For many organizations, hybrid work — in which employees work partly in a central office and partly at home — continues to be appealing even as pandemic restrictions ease up. This flexible model offers workers a way to enjoy better work-life balance and the opportunity for face-time with their colleagues and managers.

Workers themselves are driving this trend: 87% of American workers who have been working remotely during the pandemic said they would want to continue working remotely at least one day a week post-pandemic, according to Prudential’s 2021 Pulse of the American Worker Survey. Among all U.S. workers surveyed, 68% said a hybrid workplace model is ideal.

Long-term hybrid work models are promising, but they also present their own challenges when it comes to supporting core HR functions and delivering a consistent employee experience. During the pandemic, we saw how legacy human capital management (HCM) systems struggled to adapt to these new complexities. As we move out of crisis mode into long-term hybrid workplaces, your talent will expect platforms that meet them where they are — no matter where they are. You shouldn’t have to compromise functionality whether you’re off-site or onsite, and neither should your employees.

This guide walks you through how to adapt the features of your HCM system to maximize the benefits of hybrid work.

Simplify Complex Core HR Processes

Your HCM should free you from time-consuming tasks while maintaining compliance. From recruiting and hiring to payroll and performance management, a comprehensive HCM system simplifies and streamlines your core HR processes for a hybrid environment.

With greater flexibility comes a greater variety in work arrangements, including different types of employment (contractor versus employee) and tax implications based on where employees are based. 

State-mandated benefit offerings may vary by state as well — many states have implemented their own paid family and medical leave policies, for example — prompting you to rethink benefits and policies across the board. 

Maintaining core HR processes in a hybrid workplace demands a powerful cloud solution. In an increasingly data-driven workplace, you need your organization’s people data available at your fingertips — whether you’re working from home or from the office. And since many businesses are downsizing their physical locations, you need secure, digital databases (with continuous backup) to maintain your workforce data.

Of course, your HCM system isn’t the only software in your HR tech stack, but it can be your central and most powerful one. 

Integrate your entire HR tech stack under your HCM software’s umbrella, pulling together all of your core processes — and the data they generate — into one comprehensive system.

Adopt single sign-on access for your complete HR database so no information gets lost in the shuffle between systems.

An HCM system with a unified dashboard allows you to visually configure your data for each core HR process to make better, more informed decisions. 

“Being a non- profit organization, our bottom-line was the price — we had to find something within an approved budget that would satisfy our needs. Criterion HCM was the best option for us. We also liked the reporting capability that they offered.” - Becky Hannah, Executive Assistant, ReadyStart

Empower Your People

In a hybrid environment, you can’t always be available for employees to pop into your office with their questions or needs. But with an effective HCM system equipped with a self-service portal, you don’t have to be. 

Empower employees to take their needs into their own hands by tracking their time, requesting PTO and managing their own pay and benefits from the comfort of their home offices.

Beyond these basics, your self-service portal serves as a common point of connection between employees, their colleagues, their managers and HR. In-person, those connections often happen organically. When the workforce is no longer physically together, virtual connection keeps employees tethered to their colleagues and workplace culture.

It’s up to you to build that vital sense of connection that’s so often lacking in hybrid work arrangements. 

Adopt a self-service portal that allows employees to see what their team members are working on, or to leave words of praise or encouragement for each other. Incorporate collaboration tools to help employees work together and connect with their managers.

By integrating your self-service portal with your performance management software, for example, you can grant employees access to self-review tools, where they can assess and record their own perspectives on their work. This can be collaborative, with managers and employees working together to track and evaluate performance. 

Use your HCM platform to connect employees with the next steps in their professional development, too. 

Now, when everything about work is changing, learning and development have never been more important. But with less face-time between managers and employees comes less accountability for ongoing learning. Incorporate courses and learning modules into each employee’s daily task list, so they know what to focus on and where to find that information.

When employees spend half their time working from home, they’re less exposed to the different roles and functions across your workforce. Make that information visible to employees. Having access to the org chart through self-service allows employees to see their options for mobility, so they can bring targeted professional development questions to their one-on-one meetings with supervisors.

Design Better Experiences for Remote and Hybrid Teams

Designing consistent experiences across the hybrid workforce can be a real challenge, but is extremely important for maintaining equity between in-person and remote employees.

A comprehensive, integrated app empowers you to deliver a consistent experience to each and every employee, whether they’re logging in from the office or from their homes. Grant universal employee access to the mobile app for time tracking, profile management and more. 

Employees who are fully remote or working in hybrid teams — as well as deskless employees — may not always have access to their laptops or desktop computers. Those employees need an avenue for staying connected and accessing the information they need to manage their time and self-service portals.

A comprehensive mobile app allows employees to access and respond to employee surveys or clock in and out to track their time.

Mobile access drives a greater sense of connection, too. Since hybrid employees get less face-time with their peers, access to a mobile feed for team interactions is important for maintaining employee interactions with their colleagues. When self-service is accessible from their mobile device, employees can always read and interact with their feed, keeping them informed of what’s going on while they’re away. 

Push notifications can alert employees when a manager assigns them a new task. But with the ability to toggle notifications on and off, employees can protect their personal time when they aren’t on the clock.

Give employees the information they need when they need it, without any hurdles to accessing it. In a hybrid work environment, that type of lightning-fast communication drives employee engagement and connection.

With a powerful, customizable HCM platform, each of these elements can be configured and customized to meet your business’s specific needs. 

“Criterion fit our price point, but did not limit us in technology. ... It was about finding a software that allowed us to have control and input as to how we would like our system to look, feel, and operate without always having to put in a special request or ticket for “an upgrade”. - Shameka Porter, Benefits Operations Manager, Elevanta

Conclusion

As you adapt to long-term hybrid work arrangements, don’t lose sight of the employee experience. 

Shifting from triage mode to long-term hybrid work can put a strain on your HR processes, which can impact employee experience. But as more and more employees demand flexibility to work when, where and how they produce the best outcomes, a configurable, integrated HCM software can make that transition possible.

Continuously audit and improve the work from home experience through software improvements. Facilitate connections between employees and provide opportunities for continuing education and professional development. Think about how employees will experience HR-related changes, such as shifts in communication habits or changes in workplace norms and culture.

When you think about hybrid work through the lens of the employee experience, you can be more deliberate about creating an employee management system that works for your workforce. And with a powerful HCM platform in your corner, you can customize your HR processes and employee experience to reflect your company values and priorities.