What worked today won’t necessarily work tomorrow - or so the saying goes. In all likeliness, nowhere is this lesson more applicable than in the business world. For the sake of this article, our focus will fall on HR departments.
HR departments have long dallied within the confines of the traditional, and unlike other departments in any given organisation, have rested their laurels on the tried and true.
Except, within many MENA companies, they stopped trying. Technology was advancing, and beyond basic acts like digitising aspects of the payroll, most HR departments didn’t embrace change.
Enter COVID-19, a disaster that shook the world to its core, and gave HR execs a wake-up call. All of a sudden, employees were quitting en-masse, demanding more pay and benefits, and asking for an HR taboo: remote working privileges.
Left with no choice, many companies have since come to terms with the mode of remote working, whether fully or in a hybrid capacity. Scepticism has begun to give way, and many managers are learning to become less controlling.
As an HR professional post-pandemic, you are now tasked with the goal of meeting the needs of a talent pool with ever-changing demands. How are you to align with the objectives and KPIs of your management while meeting the needs of a changing workforce — both existing staff and new hires?
Tetiana Mykhailiuk, SVP of Organisational Development & Culture at Hub71-based HR tech startup Bayzat, has shared data findings and insights with the Abu Dhabi SME Hub to inform your decision-making in a fast-changing professional environment.
Did you know that to this day, "70% of SMEs still use Excel and manual processes to manage their HR administration and benefits?” Check out our previous interview with Bayzat’s Co-Founder and Chief Customer Officer Brian Habibi.
Tetiana Mykhailiuk, SVP of Organisational Development & Culture, Bayzat
Remote working has long been a controversial topic for many companies. For traditional managers, having their employees leave their sights was too much of an ask. Fast-forward to 2022, and a country like the UAE government has a dedicated office to support remote workers, and hybrid working is transitioning from being a perk to an expected standard of employment. Based on your data, what can you tell us about the rise of remote working among your clients?
Our latest data shows a clear upward trend in the number of organisations that now offer hybrid or remote work options to their employees. Just three years ago, the larger portion (58%) of our customers only supported working from the office. Of course, plenty has changed since then and today, we see a noteworthy shift as it is now companies that support remote work that form the majority (52%).
Are there any common challenges your clients face when transitioning their workforce to a hybrid or fully remote configuration?
The most obvious requirement to support this shift is technology. And while there have been significant advancements in remote collaboration and communications tools, organisations that have failed to create cohesive environments in which solutions seamlessly integrate together still find themselves struggling with inefficiencies, technical debt and shadow IT (hardware or software within a company that is not supported by the firm’s IT department).
Then, of course, there’s the cultural element — managers questioning whether remote employees can be as productive as their in-office counterparts; and concerns creeping in around attendance for remote workers. Addressing these takes a two-pronged approach. First is a change in corporate culture and an acceptance of the fact that remote workers — when correctly enabled — can in fact match and even surpass the productivity levels of office-based employees. And second is having tools in place that help allay concerns. The new breed of digital HR management platforms effectively addresses any challenges that organisations have around maintaining employee performance or tracking attendance.
How can a company ease the transition of its workforce out of the office? Are they any tips you can share to make the transition smooth and for both management and staff to feel a sense of trust?
Key to building trust is to make sure that the same open-door policies that foster a healthy and productive workplace extend to the remote workforce as well. This means ensuring that all lines of communication remain open so employees can reach out to their managers at any time and vice versa. Having regular meetings or catch-ups is also integral — especially in the initial phases. This gives employees the sense that they aren’t alone and ensures their work is also getting done.
From a management standpoint, having digital performance management tools in place is key as they help ensure KPIs are met without the need for tedious micromanagement. When employees know what is expected of them, and there is still a clear career progression path, they are more likely to be highly engaged, happy and productive.
Tapping into employee suggestions also helps refine policies and set strategies that will be successful — even if it means working through an honest conversation. Employee engagement on these matters can also do wonders for the overall morale as it makes them feel valued. After all, employees can only form viewpoints through interactions with other people and comprehensive discussions. Regular surveys can help gauge where your workforce is at and how motivated your employees are with their current work environments.
How does Bayzat support companies that want to allow their employees to work remotely?
The Bayzat platform has been designed to simplify several functions for HR and management teams, while also enabling employees to effectively self-serve — both of which are crucial capabilities for companies that hope to have productivity and engaged hybrid workforces. Some of the features of our platform that are especially relevant to such organisations are:
Automated payroll and attendance: Our platform allows employees to check in and out via their mobile devices. The tracking system is integrated with our payroll module and can automatically calculate the number of hours employees have worked, the overtime they have put in, and take into account any expense claims that have been submitted via the Bayzat App.
Performance management: This enables managers to monitor, maintain, and improve employee performance by creating, tracking and reviewing employee goals with ease. Line managers can set easily trackable goals and track the progress of their employees to help with continuous professional improvement.
Schedule shift work: This feature lets companies create and schedule shifts for their employees, notify them when shifts are scheduled to avoid time conflicts, and easily track attendance either by connecting biometric devices to the Bayzat HR software solution or using the Bayzat app.
Employee benefits: These give SMEs of all sizes the opportunity to offer tier employees a world-class experience that typically only larger companies could. Through the Bayzat app, employees have access to online health care, pharmacy deliveries, mental and physical wellness programmes and discounts from retailers across the UAE. The ability to [offer[ your employees remote health and wellness support, coupled with perks, helps maintain your employees' satisfaction and wellbeing.
You can check out the Bayzat app here. Other useful resources that can support your remote working efforts include RemotePass (hiring needs) and Deel (recently partnered with the UAE government to support remote staff onboarding). Disclaimer: This article is not sponsored.