Sara Thompson: How can you engage employees who are returning to the workplace?

It’s clear that some form of hybrid working will continue for many organisations, even when restrictions are completely lifted and offices are able to open to all colleagues again. Having a flexible and agile business that supports all our colleagues has always been important to us. They are our most important asset.

As we plan to return to our offices, we are listening to our colleagues and will be testing, learning and adapting to find out what works best for our business, our customers and our communities over the coming months.

Engagement has been at the core of our project and how we structured it. As well as setting up a working group with members from across our organisation, we have also ensured that each department had a lead to collate feedback on the future way of working from their colleagues. This continues to provide us with really good insight.

To build further engagement and support with our colleagues we are focusing on providing clear and timely updates about what is shaping our future way of working. We have already outlined our initial thinking with colleagues, confirming that our flexible ways of working will be based on a framework that balances an individual’s role and responsibilities, with the activity they’re working on and their personal preference.

Ensuring we continue to support our customers, clients and each other are all considerations within this. We are using our intranet and other channels such as online town halls to keep colleagues up to date as things progress, and engage our people in the conversation. We will be creating support materials and resources along the way.

As we start to adopt our new ways of working we will be developing a campaign of information and support to help make sure that we can offer as much flexibility as possible. We will also be developing hybrid events, with a mix of in-person and digital elements, and introducing safe socials at our offices in order to welcome people back in.

Sara Thompson is group HR director at Phoenix Group