Encouraging a return to office or a shift to hybrid work after the pandemic is not only a matter of logistics, but of confidence. Before any new policy or shift in work can be effective, you first need to get everyone on board with the change. And to make the process easier, you need a strong set of internal employee champions to lead the way.
Why Rely on Employee Champions?
Word-of-mouth is one of the strongest tools in any marketing toolkit, but the power of recommendation doesn’t only apply to products and services. People look to others they trust to guide decision-making in all facets of office life — everything from team lunch options to budget planning. This is why strong internal champions are the key to enhancing employee and workplace experience and driving adoption.
In the hybrid setting, it also gives staff a guideline for modeling their behavior and understanding the new workplace norms in the office and beyond. For this reason, a highly visible employee champion (ideally including champions at the executive level) practicing change adoption can have the most impact on your success.
What Initiatives can Employee Champions Support?
Showcasing the return to office — People come into the office for many reasons; when you can work from anywhere, there needs to be a greater motivating factor than mere necessity. When champions actively participate in office life, it can serve as a subtle reassurance to others that the office is safe, welcoming, and active. It can give people the nudge they need to rejoin the space and partake in the benefits of the in-person workplace experience.
Employee experience feedback — The fact is, staff aren’t always forthcoming on workplace experience surveys. However, the information contained within them is vital to successful change management. Here an employee champion can bridge the divide, engaging in conversations and understanding the employee experience in an informal setting that might get them to open up more (especially if their review of experience isn’t glowing). From there, improvements can be made early on in the process, which may lend a hand in a later, more formal survey.
Hybrid workplace adoption — When traditional work has been the norm pre-pandemic, instilling confidence in the hybrid work model can take some time. They may have reservations about how much they can take advantage of this new flexibility, or how to interact, navigate, and collaborate successfully for their return to office. Seeing high-visibility champions actively participate in the benefits of a hybrid work model can give everyone some social cues to work from.
Ready to learn more? Download the Robin Return to Office Playbook to get started.