Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, employers have had to reimagine company culture, benefits plans, new safety protocols and strategies to attract and retain talent. With this major shift, many employees transitioned to working from home or in a hybrid environment. The question on many employers’ minds right now is: How do we best support the health and well-being of a remote and hybrid workforce? Here are some strategies to help you do just that.

Listen to Your Employees

The Integrated Benefits Institute analyzed a recent Pew Center survey and found that employees sought out jobs where they’re earning more money, have better advancement opportunities, a better work-life balance and more flexible hours. To ensure you’re retaining your top talent, directly ask employees what they want and need. Constantly interact with leadership, managers and supervisors who are tuned into the company’s culture and can help you gain insights into the inner workings of your organization’s talent.

Have a Cohesive Plan

Interacting with co-workers in person is good for our mental health, productivity and career development. To fully reap these benefits, ensure your return-to-office plan (if you haven’t already executed one) is cohesive and brings people together. In an effort to create more flexibility, many employers are letting employees decide the days they come into the office. Remaining flexible while encouraging a return to in-person work is important for morale and establishing a sense of community.

Train Your Managers

We were all thrown into this world of remote work unprepared, and we’ve learned important lessons on how to handle upheaval. But have managers, human resources (HR) partners and leadership been trained to handle the realities of the day? According to a Lattice survey, manager training and learning and development (L&D) rank second and third respectively as top priorities for the next year.

The people closest to the employees must be trained to recognize indicators of stress and burnout and how to point them to resources that may help. This may be more difficult to identify in a hybrid/remote environment, so it is especially important to provide specific training for leadership to watch and act to protect their teams from these struggles. Training could include focus on building resilience skills, mental health awareness, stress management and should facilitate a firm understanding of company sponsored resources.

Be Wary of Burnout

In today’s environment, teams may be short-staffed and our highest performers, our “rock stars” are at higher risk of burning out. The phenomenon of “quiet quitting” could worsen if workloads aren’t managed effectively. According to a Gallup poll, U.S. employee engagement took another step backward during the second quarter of 2022: “The ratio of engaged to actively disengaged employees is now 1.8 to 1, the lowest in almost a decade.”

Employers must recognize when employees are overwhelmed. Diversify work across teams so that it’s fair and equitable and play to employees’ strengths — don’t assign work that’s outside of someone’s wheelhouse. The most important priority is acknowledging to the employee that their workload is heavy and finding ways to support them.

Incentivize Loyalty

Since many employers started losing staff post-2020, more organizations began offering sign-on bonuses and higher pay for new employees. It’s necessary to give a new employee incentives, but it’s equally as important to recognize your current employees and retain talent. Flatten inequality over time and ensure current employees aren’t left behind. Encourage HR and executive stakeholders to explore new incentive strategies such as health care and insurance subsidies, food subsidies or spot bonuses.

Professional development is also key to attraction and retention. According to a 2021 Gallup survey, 48% of U.S. workers would switch to a new job if it offered skills training opportunities. In the survey, 66% of workers ages 18 to 24 ranked learning new skills as the third-most important perk when evaluating new job opportunities, behind only health insurance and disability benefits.

Remote and hybrid workforces pose unique challenges, and employers must ensure their health and well-being is being supported through the benefits products and training programs that are offered in order to have a team that is thriving. Set your business and your team up for success!