How To Optimize The Digital Workplace for Hybrid Work


How To Optimize The Digital Workplace for Hybrid Work

The COVID-19 pandemic has compelled companies to reimagine the future of work.
Digital workplace

Employee Experience Pulse Check

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To excel in a post-pandemic era, organizations are moving to hybrid work—a blended model that combines remote work and office collaboration. 


According to The Accenture Future of Work Study 2021, 63% of high-growth companies worldwide have already adopted a “productivity anywhere” workforce model. More businesses are expected to follow suit, especially since today’s modern employees are seeking a workplace culture that lets them decide where they will do their best work.  


In its landmark LiveTiles Digital Workplace Trends 2021 report, the research emphasized how flexibility is now a currency more highly valued than salary. To attract and retain top talent, employers must offer some level of choice, increase flexibility, and help employees maintain the necessary balance between their personal lives and their jobs.


“A good salary is simply not enough… Employees want to feel they are making a difference beyond driving shareholder value, but also want opportunities for contributing to meaningful outcomes, personal growth, flexible working, and more,” the report said.


Digital Workplace: Employee Experience Is King


To build a digital workplace that supports a hybrid workforce, leaders must transform every aspect of the employee experience. They must prioritize new strategies to create a true work-from-anywhere capability that supports performance, culture, and connection. This includes personalized, digital workplace experiences that simplify employees’ workdays and help them become more productive and engaged.


“The Convenient. Enjoyable. Meaningful. These are the principles needed to guide all employees in a hybrid workplace design….This new way of working means whether you’re on the road, in the office, or at home, the level of experience needs to be consistent for all those collaborating,” said Tariq Moanah, Digital Product Lead responsible for Digital Workplace Experience with global financial services organization, Legal & General.

Digital Workplace Solutions That Empower The Hybrid Workforce


Here are some digital workplace best practices that leaders can build on to unleash the full potential of a hybrid workforce.

Leverage The Power Of Technology


Leaders must harness the right technology solutions to maintain connection and performance regardless of location. Bring everyone on board with the digital transformation. Gain a deeper understanding of the technology and processes that employees value most and work on collaboration tools that are needed to achieve a seamless digital experience.

Cultivate A Human-Centric, Empathetic Work Culture


Empathy, creativity, team building, and resilience — these are the essential human skills that will help leaders and their employees navigate the new hybrid world of work. Leaders must develop more empathetic, informal communication styles — those that encourage dialogue, listening, and feedback — to help employees cope with the uncertainties and constant changes.

Upskill Employees


Leaders must bring learning and innovation right into the heart of the digital workplace. They must scale investments in upskilling employees and provide them with the right training on new software and tools. Prioritizing one-on-one or small group training is crucial to ensuring a smooth and efficient transition.


To build a great digital workplace where hybrid workforces grow and thrive, the strategy needs to be employee-driven. A positive digital workplace leads to better employee experiences. These, in turn, will drive strategic business objectives like increased employee engagement, customer satisfaction and high levels of efficiency and collaboration. 

In today’s work environment, rapid change is a constant reality.
In today’s work environment, rapid change is a constant reality.

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In 2018, Alex Edmans, Professor of Finance at London Business School, estimated that talents today would only want to work for purpose-driven firms.
The employee communication app is the new employee newsletter, on steroids. Gone are the days when employees have to check their email inbox to learn about the new developments in the company. These days, employees expect an app to deliver relevant news and do much more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has compelled companies to reimagine the future of work.

Tailoring your employee onboarding experience for your hybrid or remote workplace


Tailoring your employee onboarding experience for your hybrid or remote workplace

Hybrid and Remote workplaces are here to stay. 2020 saw tens of millions of employees in the US forced into full-time remote work, and for others, in-office work was severely restricted for health and safety.
Hybrid onboarding

Employee Experience Pulse Check

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While there is variation across industries and occupations, the trend for remote work is expected to continue especially for professional and office workers. In fact, a survey by the Conference Board uncovered that a third of companies expected 40% or more of their employees to work primarily remotely moving forward. 

Now, we’re more ore than a year into the pandemic and with vaccines becoming more readily available – WFH  still not taken away the anxiety many workers have around returned to the in-person working. In fact,  a recent study by the American Psychological Association shows almost half (49%) of employees feel uneasy about returning to in-person interactions. 

However, as many workforce surveys show, there is still desire from many to have the option to come to a physical workplace/office and reap the benefits it has for team collaboration, morale, and mental health. This kind of hybrid working arrangement offers many benefits to employers and employees. 

As workplaces continue to evolve with the changing conditions, the need to effectively onboard new hires has not gone away. This blog explores the impact of effective employee onboarding, strategies, and processes for onboarding remote and hybrid employees, along with how digital workplace technologies can contribute to a smooth onboarding experience. 

Importance of an effective onboarding program 

We all know that first impressions count, and this is especially true when it comes to those first few weeks of a new job. Getting it right can lead to highly engaged and high producing employees. However, the other side of the coin is true as well. If onboarding is not taken seriously and thoughtfully organized to support your employee, this process can quickly lead to a disengaged team member.  

While the below is not an exhaustive list, the most notable benefits of a good onboarding program are: 


  1. Lowering employee turnover – Employees who have a great onboarding experience are 69 percent more likely to stay with a company for three years.
  2. Increasing employee performance – an onboarding program that clearly communicates company and role expectations can lead to as much as 11% improvement in performance.
  3. Cost and time savings – Organizations who establish effective onboarding processes, don’t need to be constantly recruiting to backfill roles. Rather it can free up HR teams and managers for higher-value tasks, like training, career development, and mentoring programs which support employee satisfaction. 

How to effectively onboard a new employee in remote or hybrid organizations

The components of an effective onboarding program for an in-person office environment are still applicable for remote and hybrid working. But the tools and mechanisms of delivery need to be revised and often supported by technology.  

The below is a list of how onboarding processes can be evolved to better support remote workers:

  1. Handbooks – Employee Handbooks remain an effective tool to clearly communicate company goals, policies, employee benefits, etc. but thankfully in 2021 these no longer need to be printed and bound. Technology like employee portals, intranets, employee mobile apps, even email can provide these essential employee communications digitally and even in an interactive way via video or a learning platform. Technology can also ensure that essential policies (i.e. Workplace Safety, Employee Handbooks remain an effective tool to clearly communicate Anti -Discrimination and Sexual Harassment) are agreed to and compliance requirements are met.
  2. Payroll and Benefit Onboarding– Getting set up for payroll and benefits is a key part of onboarding. This process often requires executing forms – like tax forms, bank details, health enrolment, and even HR onboarding-focused pieces like providing emergency contacts. Whether a company has invested in an HRIS system or not, solutions such as employee portals, workflow tools, and e-signature solutions can make this part of onboarding a breeze (and maintain that they are securely stored in your document storage).
  3. Checklists – The good ‘ol onboarding checklist still serves as an important reference to ensure that tasks are completed on time and deliver the best onboarding experience. There are many hands/departments who contribute to that first experience (i.e. IT provides system access and hardware). Digital workplace tools like workflows, document sharing, and employee portals can streamline this process and meet the needs of remote/hybrid workplaces.
  4. Onboarding program – A more structured onboarding program can optimize a positive experience for your new hire. Thus serving as the baseline for both short and long-term success in their role. Key elements of a successful onboarding program are operational (materials, manuals), social (business relationships, sense of belonging), and strategic (company goals, mission). Your digital workplace can also support such an onboarding program and ensure that the key goals and checkpoints are not missed.
  5. New Hire orientation – Getting to know those in your immediate team is a huge help to be able to understand who you can turn to for help, their area or areas of specialty, and where in the world they are located. Just because a welcome lunch or coffee is challenging right now, does not mean it cannot happen. With the advancement of video technology tools, like Microsoft Teams,   large groups can now come together virtually. 

“This new way of working means whether you’re on the road, in the office or at home the level of experience needs to be consistent for all those collaborating.”  – Tariq Moanah Digital Product Lead responsible for Digital Workplace Experience Legal & General Digital 

The role of your Digital
Workplace in effective employee onboarding

So where does technology fit in to support a successful onboarding program? As outlined in the above list, your digital workplace can play a key role in ensuring your remote and hybrid new hires are supported, the same goes for employees changing roles. Investing in technical solutions that provide structure, consistency, and automation of the first days on the job or transition into a new role; can deliver a superior experience in some ways compared to older manual processes, but it can also ensure that the essential human and team-building elements are not overlooked. 

Here are the key digital workplace solutions you can employ for your onboarding program: 

  • Portals and Intranets – These solutions provide a central place where policies, documents, forms, FAQs, handbooks, and more can live. New hires don’t need to navigate to multiple systems. An important consideration for digital workplace owners is to keep in mind is making these solutions mobile-friendly, for the deskless workers and the agile nature of work.  SharePoint continues to be the leader in the intranet market, with a strong network of partners like LiveTiles who extend on the platform.
  • Document Storage– Supporting your portal/intranet should be a well-structured document and file repository like OneDrive. Features like document versioning, co-authoring, security permissions, support the effective creation of onboarding materials, as well as getting them in the right hands and enforcing the privacy of personal information that is shared in the onboarding process.
  • Video Call & Chat – While overuse of video can be a burden on employees, (aka Zoom Doom) when used effectively it can support the team connection, especially for new staff. For millions of companies, Microsoft Teams has played that glue to keep the team effective and connected, while also providing ease of access to documents, emails and other M365 tools.
  • Process Automation – There are many time-sensitive processes during new employee onboarding, investing in process automation tools can ensure that these are not missed, and new staff does not get overlooked when it comes to system access, company meetings, or even payroll and benefits. For organizations using the Microsoft stack, the Power Platform lets you build end-to-end business solutions. 
  • Personalization & Targeting – As part of your onboarding plan, you should consider the balance of too little information vs too much and overwhelming new employees. Your digital workplace can help you achieve that balance by surfacing only the relevant communications at the right time. Knowing your people, their role, department, location, language preferences, supports the effective delivery of business communications especially those working remotely.
  • Employee/Skill Search – The social element of employee onboarding is essential for new employees to feel part of the team and want to stay long term. While co-workers and managers can help connect new hires to experts, department heads, and more – this can be done more effectively through employee search and skill search solutions. We go into this in more length in our blog 5 ways employee profiles help with onboarding remote employees 


Ultimately, investing in your digital workplace for onboarding new employees will provide value immediately and for the long term; even as organizations consider and plan for getting back into the office. Want to hear more and gain valuable insight into how you can put these tips into practice as you plan for hybrid work? 


We also explore the Hybrid Workplace and the importance of employee experience in more detail in the Digital Workplace Trends 2021 Report – grab your free copy 

In today’s work environment, rapid change is a constant reality.
In today’s work environment, rapid change is a constant reality.

Read more

The COVID-19 pandemic brought about drastic changes in the workplace, redefining the employee experience. Most employers and employees were forced to quickly adapt with remote working technologies and maintain a dynamic culture. This meant more time at home with family but boundaries between home and work life are crossed, causing employee burnout.
In the 2010s, a digital employee experience was nice-to-have. By the time the new decade came in, it became a must-have. This has become more apparent as we end 2021, after nearly two years of an accelerated shift into the digital workplace.
In October 2021, the World Economic Forum declared: “empathy has risen to the top of the board’s agenda”.