Getting Hybrid Work Right 2/3

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. On this week's call, i4cp CEO and Co-Founder Kevin Oakes and Senior Research Analyst Tom Stone facilitated a discussion on two topics: the ongoing issue of vaccine / testing requirements at organizations and the question of leadership roles and planning committees for the new world of hybrid, flexible, and remote work. Below are some highlights from the call.


The shifting vaccination requirement environment

  • Organizations are taking different approaches to vaccine requirements after the Supreme Court ruling on the OSHA ETS. Some are continuing with requiring vaccines for either all employees or all on-site employees, whereas others are pairing back their plans and no longer requiring vaccines. Some are already committing to requiring a booster, while others are waiting for the CDC to change their definition of fully vaccinated before doing so.
  • Some organizations also face conflicting requirements for their various employee populations in different cities and states, and indeed in different countries around the world. Differences include not only requiring the vaccine or not, but at times whether you can ask an employee for their vaccination status or whether natural immunity from prior infection can be recognized as an exception.
  • We asked a poll question on the call: Has there been any change to your organization’s COVID-19 vaccination requirements since the SCOTUS ruling on the OSHA ETS?
    • 17% - No change, other Federal mandates apply to us (Medicare/Medicaid mandate, Federal contractor mandate, Federal employee mandate, etc.)
    • 15% - No change, we are continuing to require full vaccination for all employees regardless of work site
    • 32% - No change, we are continuing to require full vaccination for all on-site employees
    • 27% - Yes, we were going to align with the OSHA ETS but now are backing off and will only recommend vaccination, not require it
    • 8% - Yes, and are not going to require full vaccination
  • One call participant noted the challenges they've had navigating the two very passionate groups of employees: the vaccinated and the unvaccinated. As a result, for the one office involved, they have thus far kept it closed with all employees continuing to work remotely.
  • Another call participant noted that in his organization, the vast majority of employees were already vaccinated prior to their implementing a vaccine requirement for employment. When they did, only 12 out of around 700 resigned / were let go. Many other organizations have had similar results in that they do lose some employees, but less than they had feared.
  • Another call participant, from a large aerospace industry organization, noted that they have suspended their vaccine mandate policy.
  • Another call participant, from Lyft, noted that for their corporate employees (not drivers), they are focused on perceived safety and have been requiring vaccination for all such employees (and plan to add the booster soon). They are being flexible, however, with work location by allowing many employee roles to remain remote if they wish for all of 2022. They are offering other aspects of flexibility and benefits to the roles that cannot function remotely.


Hybrid and Flexible Work

  • A recent article in Forbes titled The Next In-Demand Job Title: Head of the Future of Work reported data from a LinkedIn study that found a 60% increase in job titles related to the future of work and a 304% spike in titles that reference “hybrid work” since the pandemic began. Some example titles:
    • Hybrid workplace flexibility lead
    • Director of hybrid working
    • Flexible workspace operations manager
    • Vice president, employee engagement & flexible work
  • Darren Murph, head of remote at GitLab was quoted in the article as saying "The only shot that hybrid has of working is if people invest in dedicated leadership to do it."
  • A call participant said they don't have a single leader focused on it yet, but have recently put out a job posting for such a new leadership role. It will be titled "Employee Engagement Manager," but much of their early responsibility will be focused on the new flexible/hybrid work scenario. They would lead both strategy and execution of the new model, and also a change in culture to document far more processes to further support the new ways of working.
  • We asked a poll question on the call: Does your organization have plans to establish a leadership role specifically for hybrid / flexible work?
    • 16% - We’ve already created such a role
    • 3% - Yes
    • 49% - No
    • 8% - We are considering it
    • 24% - Don’t know
  • A call participant from Zillow described their progressive remote work policy. Pretty early during the pandemic Zillow realized that remote work was working well for them, so they have shifted to a remote-centric model, even dubbing the company as being "Headquartered in the Cloud." They have re-thought and renovated their offices, their in-person gatherings, and more.
  • At Twitter, they continue to believe in the value of office workplaces, but also believe in the power of employee freedom and flexibility.
  • Some recent i4cp survey data was shared, where we had asked "Which of the following elements of your organization's employee value proposition (i.e., the various benefits provided) have proven to be effective at attracting talent?" The top response was "Flexibility in work arrangements (where, when, and how they work)" at 55%, followed by "Ongoing development opportunities" at 45%, "Healthcare benefits" at 43%, and "Career advancement opportunities" at 41%.