We recognize the value of flexibility when it comes to attracting and retaining talent and allowing our talented resources to choose where and when they do their best work. –Briljent Work from Anywhere (WFA) policy
Not What is Possible; What is Needed to Make it Possible
“Are all-remote or majority-remote organizations the future of knowledge work? Toward the close of a tumultuous 2020, organizations across the country were faced with a difficult question: Is work from anywhere (WFA) here to stay? A timely article in the Harvard Business Review anticipated what lay ahead with its article, “Our Work-from-Anywhere Future” that encouraged us to reframe our thought process: “The question is not whether work from anywhere is possible but what is needed to make it possible.”
Our People are Our Strongest Asset
At Briljent, our people are our strongest asset, and in support of the health and safety of our workforce, our leaders moved to pivot quickly to a remote work model. Briljent co-founder and CEO, Kathy Carrier, and Briljent President, Matt Odum, were in regular dialogue with employees during the worst of the public health emergency—checking in about work accommodations; asking Briljent parents or guardians about what help is needed to navigate childcare, schools, and daycare facilities; and the HR team offered support and recognition to families with healthcare professionals, essential workers, teachers, and new graduates. Accommodations, time off, and employee assistance were hallmarks of these communications and follow-up actions.
“Words cannot describe how valuable it was to see and hear Matt regularly during the early weeks of COVID—always updating us, always reaching out, always supporting,” wrote one of our change management professionals.
The nature of this employee support from our senior leadership that focused on issues of work accommodation, childcare, and support of healthcare and essential workers is a natural extension of their leadership, and there’s good reason to think that this style of leadership is the support that is missing, when employees participate in the Great Resignation. The Guardian wrote in January 2022, “The top reasons [for employee resignation] cited by experts continue to be lack of adequate childcare and health concerns about Covid, now exacerbated by Omicron.”
Like many organizations, we began to discuss whether there would be a need to return to our pre-COVID office culture. Our Non-Negotiable Items, or NNIs, seem tailor-fit to WFA culture. In fact, in October 2020, SVP of HR, Tammy Brodzeller, tied our remote work strategy to the NNI Impeccable Integrity.
A Problem and a Solution: WELLjent
Some challenges remain, of course, and we are mindful of those. In our organization, a large segment of our workforce is embedded with our clients in their workplaces, and here, the WFA option may not be possible for all employees.
Even with, or exacerbated by, an asynchronous workforce, isolation and disconnection from our colleagues present mental health concerns and worries about maintaining culture. Water cooler chats and impromptu “walking meetings” (a favorite of our leadership team) can be difficult to recreate. That is why we instituted an internal wellness program, WELLjent, that incentivizes our employees to connect with each other while engaging in self-care practices.
“The WELLjent program has been a great opportunity for me to get to meet colleagues I haven’t had the opportunity to meet in person yet. It’s a wonderfully supportive environment full of fresh ideas to maintain work-life balance and well-being. I’ve implemented a number of new practices in my daily routine and continue to test out new suggestions from my colleagues, find creative ways to maintain that balance, and share my lessons learned back with the group.”
We have seen WFA empower our employees, expand our reach to talent, decrease costs, reduce our environmental footprint, and improve employee retention. For these reasons, we have decided to extend our WFA option beyond the public health emergency that sparked it and make WFA a permanent feature of Briljent culture. We recognize the value of flexibility when it comes to attracting and retaining top talent and trusting our skilled resources to choose where and when they do their best work.
“As the nature of our workforce changes and the proximity of our homes broadens, we will have to be even more intentional about our culture and cultivating an environment of collaboration, mentorship, belonging, and equality. We are combining the strength of our values and our people to reimagine the way we work for the better.” – Matt Odum, President, Briljent
Employee Retention and Performance
We already see the competitive advantage of our commitment to culture as a basis for expanding our WFA policy. Consider this November 2021 article from Fast Company that reports, “we discovered that resignations were occurring at alarming rates for tenured, long-term employees, not just those early career builders.” Happily, for Briljent, our employee retention paints a different picture: Our tenure rate among our corporate team is more than 5 years, and when we look across our services that provide staff support to our clients the average tenure approaches 4 years. Positioning our culture expectations and values, those “NNIs” we mentioned, as a foundation for WFA, is paying off through employee retention.
Lauding the benefits of employee retention is a feature of our client support. By providing Learning and Development services as one of our core competencies, we’ve seen how preparing workforces for the present moment through a comprehensive Learning strategy improves employee retention and performance. We’re happy to see that we practice what we preach! If you have recently transitioned to a WFA environment and are struggling to train (and retain) your remote or hybrid workforce, we can help! Our more than 23 years delivering adult learning solutions positions Briljent as the ideal partner to assess your current Learning Strategy.
Or maybe you are looking for the next step in your career with hybrid or WFA options and a company that sees people as its strongest asset, we hope you’ll find our current opportunities on our Careers page!
Wherever you are reading this blog post, we wish you health, safety, wellbeing, and balance!