“My advice for senior leaders who are moving to a hybrid model: Don’t do it in a vacuum. These are decisions that can’t be unilaterally decided in an executive boardroom. Once you’ve made your decisions, don’t underestimate the level of change management required. You need to build your coalitions and communicate ad nauseam. It’s one of the toughest changes I’ve ever led.”
Michelle Perry, Chief Human Resources Officer, Walter P Moore
Looking for a stellar example of hybrid done right? Look no further than Walter P Moore, a global consulting engineering firm based in Houston, where Chief Human Resources Officer Michelle Perry has led their Hybrid Remote Firm (HRF) Core Team on what’s one of the most thoughtful and (so far) successful moves to a hybrid remote model I’ve seen.
With 800 employees in 29 office locations around the world, Walter P Moore officially became a hybrid remote firm in April 2022, a decision not taken lightly, coming after more than 18 months of planning. Michelle, along with other core team members including the CEO, CFO, CIO and the Facilities Manager, created a hybrid/remote model that balances the needs of employees, managers, clients and the business overall.
What’s made the company’s HRF implementation strategies so successful? A great deal of open dialogue across the firm, collaborative design activities, and a real commitment to learning and getting better at this giant “future of work” experiment. It’s no surprise that a firm renowned for the reliability of its spectacularly innovative designs would approach the transition to a new work model with such thoughtful deliberation and curiosity.
The proof, as they say, is in the pudding: According to the company’s October 2022 employee pulse survey results, 80% of employees gave an “overall favorable” score on their engagement-related questions, a 4% increase from February 2022. Close to 90% reported being able to work productively and produce quality outputs in HRF, and 69% said they feel engaged and well connected with their teammates, a 7% jump from just eight months ago.
Here are excerpts from my recent interview with Michelle, who shares insightful tips that all organizations can learn from.
Note: This is one of a series of articles where I’ll be sharing tips from senior leaders who are navigating their organizations to a new hybrid model