Regardless of whether it’s within product, design, HR, or marketing teams, the way people work together is a hot topic these days, especially as companies continue to embrace hybrid and remote-first models. While this new way of working has shown the promise of more flexibility and work-life balance, it has also come with unique challenges. Needless to say, companies are exploring new ways to collaborate intelligently no matter where they are located.
In conjunction with InVision’s 2022 Trend Report, we recently convened a panel of industry leaders from Blackbaud, Etsy, Teladoc, and Uber to discuss the challenges and opportunities for meaningful impact that have arisen from this unprecedented time. Eli Woolery, Senior Director of Design Education and Co-host of InVision’s Design Better Podcast, took the opportunity to discuss the trends dominating 2022 and their tips on how to navigate the changes ahead.
Below, we share highlights from InVision’s discussion with the panelists below (and you can watch the entire event here).
“There is no one size fits all” to collaboration
Rather than employees adapting to their employers’ will, 2022 paves the way for companies to “glad-apt,” or implement changes to make their employees happier, not simply in location or hours, but also salaries and work-life balance. With all this in mind, panelists agreed we can expect to see more companies innovate adaptable workplaces that balance the needs of employees and employers.
Panelists from Blackbaud, Etsy, Teledoc, and Uber discuss remote collaboration with Eli Woolery.
Nelly Wollenberg, the Senior Director Ops Program Manager for Uber, noted that the company is addressing this trend by implementing more flexible policies for employees working remotely.
“We try to put certain policies into place to relieve remote fatigue, like no meeting days. Generally, we are trying to figure out how we can better connect people by re-evaluating what the schedule looks like and what being offsite looks like. There is no one size fits all,” she says.
“Counterbalance the great resignation” to drive employee retention
Employees will continue to pressure their employers to change culture, policies, and processes after bearing the burdens of integrating work and life in 2021 — and if they don’t, employees will leave for greener pastures, according to InVision’s 2022 report, which surveyed professionals across hundreds of job titles and functions.
Christina Goldschmidt, Head of Product Design at Etsy, said she’s looked to address this challenge in multiple ways, including initiating an employee resource group focusing on mental health, which has helped with retention during the Great Resignation.
“I have really been advocating to help people stop the stigma of even talking about mental health and make it something we can discuss regularly — helping people see how it affects all of our senior leadership and understand the causes of burnout. It’s been impactful as a counterbalance to the great resignation, and we have even had some boomerang employees return to Etsy. I have had two come back and am working on a third person to return to our team,” she says.
Underscoring her points are a blunt reality: in August 2021, 4.3 million Americans quit their jobs across industries. Those who stayed have borne the brunt of the burden. Fortunately for organizations, most employees find their work gratifying; they just want to do it on their own terms. According to 58 percent of InVision survey respondents, participants feel their work in 2021 will require a new aspect of resilience and adaptability in the face of uncertainty which they lacked in previous years.
“One remote, all remote” to level the collaborative playing field
Even before the pandemic, businesses needed better ways to communicate within and across teams. Although some may have a single source of truth, most are still struggling to create one, causing siloed information repositories among collaborators.
Marie Shiflet, Director of Human Resources at Blackbaud, noticed a considerable discrepancy in the way people at the office and those working offsite participate and collaborate in meetings. She shared how implementing aspects of design thinking ensures everyone has a voice.
“We put design thinking methods into place as we determine how to choose the way we want to interact — and one of those principles is ‘one remote, all remote.’ Even if folks are in the same conference room, we may not be leveraging the big conference call speaker. Rather, we ask folks to pop their headsets on and open their laptops so we can get a good view of everyone. This is helping us ensure people are on equal footing,” says Marie.
“It’s not good enough to just dot the i’s and cross the t’s” when it comes to equity and inclusion
In recent years, employees have reconsidered how their work could contribute to larger movements. Today’s workforce does not want to work for a business that creates a buzz and does not deliver on its promises. Instead, they seek employers who have a track record of addressing critical issues such as equity and inclusion.
Dave Malouf, Director Design Ops at Teledoc Healthcare, said he’s observed many organizations doing what he candidly refers to as “deck chair movement” — the act of responding to diversity with an action they feel they have to do, rather than looking at outcomes. While consulting for a company to improve recruitment processes, Dave noticed they only looked at very surface-level data. Without diving deeper, “it’s all just hand-waving,” he says.
“It’s not good enough to just dot the i’s and cross the t’s; we actually have to make a difference,” he said.
Stephanie Darling is the Editorial Content Manager at InVision. She has a background working with arts and culture organizations, and she loves all things food, dogs, and podcasts.