Case Study: Creating a remote workforce through group collaboration

Earlier this year we completed a group-wide HR health check for a 120-employee, specialist contractor client, covering the complete employee lifecycle. The business had no HR function of its own so, based on our recommendations, we drew up a roadmap of initiatives that we would deliver in partnership with the client over the next 12 months. Then the pandemic hit. The focus immediately switched to implementing remote working.

Context

As with many businesses, remote working was not a model the client had previously adopted. To their surprise, the enforced ‘experiment’ worked well. And so, we were asked to undertake an employee engagement project to gauge the appetite for a permanent switch.

Approach

The client understood the benefits of employing an independent third party to enable employees to speak freely. Establishing trust and rapport with each person is crucial for this kind of work to be beneficial. After trialling a series of questions to ensure the required breadth of feedback, we set about interviewing over half the workforce. The questions were devised to create conversational rather than ‘interrogative’ sessions.

Outcome

We spoke with 61 employees in two weeks. Employees appreciated the anonymity of the process and the opportunity to speak freely. Those taking part felt valued and that they were being genuinely heard. Beyond the business intelligence – enabling financial decision making around investment in technology and process improvements v office space and leasing agreements – senior leaders were overwhelmed with the detail, level of honesty and breadth of the findings. The report helped them to realign some of their plans and thinking on priorities of what needed to be addressed and delivered over the coming months.

Next Steps

This one piece of work has generated some genuine company-wide momentum and sense of co-creation. As part of our ongoing partnership, we are now maintaining this momentum by supporting the company in addressing the recommendations highlighted in the report as well as implementing more strategic, longer-term people initiatives, including performance management and leadership development.

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