The Getting Hybrid Work Right call series has become a well-attended and wide-ranging discussion for HR leaders on all aspects of hybrid work. This week's call began with a review of the latest news on vaccine mandates and the latest survey results from i4cp. Then i4cp CEO Kevin Oakes facilitated a conversation with special guest Lizanne Vaughan, Chief People Officer of Getty Images, who shared her organization's successful approach to the pandemic and flexible work.
Highlights from the discussion of vaccine and testing mandates:
- You can read the entire text of President Biden's COVID-19 Action Plan
- i4cp recently published a article on the effects of President Biden’s vaccine mandate and revealed the data from i4cp’s Getting Employees Vaccinated survey.
- Participant Poll: Do you think the vaccination mandate will ultimately be good or bad for your organization?
- 51% Good
- 13% Bad
- 36% Too Soon to Tell
- Some on the call noted that part of the "good" is that because it comes from the government, it makes it easier for companies to implement policies. Another perceived "good" is that as a mandate, any organization policy that follows it can make employees feel safer.
- Recent i4cp survey results included:
- 32% of organizations are asking for an official vaccination card to be uploaded to an employee portal.
- 44% of organizations have not made a decision yet as to whether they would cover the costs of weekly testing for those that are onsite and unvaccinated. (Specific states, such as CA, will ensure that the cost is born by the organization.)
Highlights from the conversation with Lizanne Vaughan, Chief People Officer of Getty Images:
- Early pandemic decision making. Vaughan noted one of the things they did very early during the pandemic was get aligned on a framework for decision making that was underpinned by their leadership principles. Using those as a foundation, they came up with a three-pronged framework: (1) protect the health and safety of employees, (2) do their part to stem the virus, and (3) ensure the viability and sustainability of the organization's future. With the exception of the news of the pandemic itself, everything else was cancelled (i.e., business fell off a cliff). Nonetheless, by the end of week two, they had determined that they were not going to lay off any of their workforce, because they wanted to remain agile and ready for when the world reopened.
- Transparency. Leadership initially held weekly calls that provided an equal platform for employees to ask anything, and no topics was off limits. This built immeasurable trust with employees, and Getty Images has decided to continue these internal calls on a monthly basis.
- Communications. They also created a Covid-19 communication site. Here they've included things like tips for working remotely, and links to tools and resources such as building resilience and other timely topics.
- Return to the office. They decided that return to the office depends on: (1) availability of a vaccine and efficacy of a vaccine against all of the variants, (2) access to vaccines, and (3) transmission rates. Was the risk to return to the office no greater than pre-pandemic risks for something like the flu? They had great performance from a revenue perspective over the course of the year. Many of the impacts didn’t come to pass in the way they had prepared for. So key questions around returning to the office have included: What are the physical and operational requirements? What are the cultural impacts? How do we do this in a consistent way and with integrity, to eliminate bias and disparate treatment?
- Flexible work. They created a second website related to flexible work. Employees can work from home at least 50% of the time; beyond that they need managerial approval. So long as Covid-19 is a health concern, no one will be required to return to the office. Managers are expected to be flexible. In particular, Vaughan noted that when you treat people like the grown-ups they are, they rise to the occasion and often exceed expectations. Oakes noted that this approach aligns with a key recommendation of i4cp's From Cube to Cloud study: "Let managers manage."
- Grounding in data. They addressed issues related to health and well-being through an employee engagement listening strategy (full and pulse surveys), but also leveraged their employee resource groups (ERGs) to gain employee input. They also did topic-specific surveys, such as return-to-work, hybrid work, etc. Based on the data, there were inflection points that enabled them to pivot when necessary. Information was given to employees through a broader range of modes, voices, etc.
- Acknowledge mistakes and change. Vaughan noted that keys for good leaders are authenticity and transparency around mistakes, and when changes need to be made. Be empathetic, and leave space for grace.
Join us every other Tuesday, as we explore hybrid work. The next call will be on October 12 at 11am PT / 2pm ET.