How Autodesk’s Hybrid Work Policy is Transforming the People Experience

The Next Practices Weekly call series has become a well-attended and wide-ranging discussion for HR leaders each Thursday at 11am ET / 8am PT. On this week's call, i4cp CEO and Co-Founder Kevin Oakes, and Senior Research Analyst Tom Stone, facilitated a conversation with special guest Mike Asbery, Vice President of People Experience at Autodesk. Here are some highlights from the call:

  • Autodesk is a software company founded in 1982 and headquartered in San Francisco. They have 14,000+ employees and 96 offices worldwide with around $5 billion in annual revenue. They are a global leader in software for architecture, engineering, and manufacturing.
  • HR at Autodesk is divided into centers of expertise, experience delivery, and people business partners. People experience at Autodesk encompasses five areas: People Insights, EX Design, People Services, People Consulting, and Thrive (employee relations).
  • Autodesk has a strong culture, with an ethos of sustainability, innovation, and diversity. This culture has been recognized in Fast Company's Best Workplaces for Innovators (2022), Glassdoor's Best Places to Work (2023), and the Corporate Knights' Index of Most Sustainable Company (2023).
  • The work model at Autodesk is "hybrid by design, not by default." Asbery detailed their Flex Forward program which is Autodesk's new flexible work policy, first launched in May 2021. There are many components of their approach, starting with an intentional redesign of many of their office workspaces. This has included new collaborative and conference area spaces with strong technology elements, varying seating arrangements, and good catering options. In particular, Asbery discussed the newly implemented Autodesk Conference experience, a service that enables teams to have on-site offsites in hub locations with a similar experience to hotel conference centers. The service has been successful in locations like San Francisco, Portland, Denver, Barcelona, Munich, Singapore, and Dublin.
  • Asbery emphasized the importance of employees coming into the office when they feel it's productive, or when requested by their manager, to facilitate valuable in-person connections. He outlined their avoidance of a fixed hybrid work approach and focused on the importance of individual flexibility.
  • Three digital experiences, which enable greater productivity, connection, and belonging, that Asbery described were:
    • Lumi: AI-powered virtual assistant on slack
    • Improved Online Experience: streamlined content, better search and personalized news
    • Office space scheduling app (Robin): employees can book their space and see who is coming into the office in their network
  • Asbery then described several other key features of their Flex Forward approach, including:
    • Gathering Guidelines to help design their time together to be meaningful, inclusive and outcome focused
    • Programs to support development of employees, managers, and senior leaders in a hybrid environment
    • New reimbursement options that enable employees to do their best work remotely
  • What has been the impact of the program so far? Asbery noted that their flexible or remote roles get much more diverse talent, and a higher volume of applicants overall. They are seeing 1.6x more applicants for hybrid/remote roles vs. baseline; 1.8x more female candidates; and 1.5x more under-represented people of color candidates. They have also witnessed a lower attrition rate for their remote workers as well.
  • Participant poll during the session: What is your organization’s current work model policy?
    • 13% Fully remote: employees may work remotely all the time
    • 42% Flexible hybrid: employees choose their location and working hours based on their priorities for the day
    • 39% Fixed hybrid: employees are mandated to be in the office/onsite specific days of the week and/or certain hours
    • 0% Onsite fulltime: all employees are mandated to be in the office/onsite during working hours
    • 6% We do not have a defined work model policy

Links to resources shared on the call:

This event is approved for certification credits.