How to Measure the Success of Your Hybrid Work Model (Video & Podcast)

9 min read
Your Hybrid Work Model

The top leadership should establish clear success metrics for an organization’s hybrid work model, which need to be measured quarterly to ensure the model is effective and meets the organization’s needs. That’s the key take-away message of this episode of the Wise Decision Maker Show, which describes how to measure the success of your hybrid work model.

Video: “How to Measure the Success of Your Hybrid Work Model”

Podcast: “How to Measure the Success of Your Hybrid Work Model”

Links Mentioned in Videocast and Podcast


Hello, everyone, and welcome to another episode of the wise decision making a show where we help you make the wisest and most profitable decisions. And today we’ll talk about how you can measure the success of your hybrid work model. That’s what we’ll focus on. Now, there is a reason why it’s really important to measure hybrid work success. We know that about three quarters of US companies are transitioning to some version of the hybrid work model for at least some of their employees. And these models are going to vary, vary a lot, by company culture, by working style, some people will have a hybrid work model that involves their employees coming in one day, a week, or two days a week, or once a month, or three days a week. Or maybe one day, or maybe one week, a month, full time, and then the rest are coming in. So you really want to measure and of course, you have a variety of companies that have variety of roles coming in at different times. So you really want to measure the success of your hybrid work model. Because it can be so varied and so diverse, you need to figure out what really works for you. How are you going to optimize it for your company’s needs? And how will you know it needs to be changed to fit your needs. So the first step is to establish good metrics. Clear success metrics are what you really need to think about to evaluate hybrid work success. And unfortunately, many companies fail to measure effectiveness of their hybrid work models, for example, there was a report put out by India, which found that 54% of organizations say that they improve their productivity through hybrid work, but only 22% of organizations established metrics to quantify productivity. Now, that’s not great. I mean, they’re saying they improved productivity. But how do you know they improve productivity, and you can improve your productivity by 1%, on by 10%, those are big differences. And if you establish metrics, you can figure out how much you improved your productivity. And then you can change something, have intervention and see how much that improved further your productivity or worse in your productivity, and then you can go back to whatever change you make. So the point is, if you establish metrics, you can make interventions, you can evaluate things, and then you can make them better. Now, when you’re thinking about metrics, you really need to select meaningful ones. You might have heard the phrase that what gets measured gets managed, that’s a wise phrase, but you do need to be cautious. You don’t want to select metrics that can be gamed, you don’t want to select metrics that will be not so relevant for the outcomes you want. So you want meaningful, measurable criteria, that are going to be pretty difficult to gain meaning for people to play to the metrics, rather than what you’re actually trying to measure if you’re trying to measure performance, productivity. And let’s say you’re measuring by keystrokes, how much someone is typing, that is not a really great measure. Because when they’re typing, are they really getting you what you want in terms of productivity, which might be sales, maybe programs written, or maybe our marketing design or something like that. It might be much more effective for them to spend less time typing, and to have more concise messages, and then get better outcomes as a result, or they might be better off spending some time thinking as opposed to typing. So I really want to make sure that you’re measuring things in a meaningful way. So ideally, you want these metrics to be quantitative and objective. But some things are going to be hard to quantify objectively. So those things you’ll want to do are qualitative and more subjective. Now, whatever metrics you select, you really want to make sure the C suite is heavily involved in doing so you want the C suite to determine the metrics and then the board to approve them. You don’t want to simply delegate them to HR because it is a high level strategic decision in developing your hybrid strategy more broadly, that’s a strategic high level decision. So that’s why it requires care and attention at the highest levels of an organization. So you want to coordinate and get by in agreement on what it means to succeed in hybrid work? Otherwise, you’ll have a lot of problems like Ron and disagreements and whether it’s successful, how successful it is, what you can change, what you should change to be more successful. And that strategic decision making should happen at an off site where the leadership team gets together and decides what will work best for their company. So this C suite gets together to determine the metrics, and a more broad strategy for the company going forward. And as part of determining the hybrid work strategy, determine the metrics used to evaluate it. So you want some distance from those day to day activities to make long term strategic choices, which is why I always have my clients quite help transition to hybrid, the flexible hybrid models have an off site where they can make these decisions without the day to day interfering, or whatever’s going on in their work lives. So prior to offsite, you want to evaluate the initial metrics of what you have to get a baseline of quantitative and objective measures by and so you’ll get those quantitative and objective measures. And these are not going to be the final metrics you use, you’ll just get the initial ones, the ones that are reasonably easily available, quantitative and objective measures to get a baseline. And then you want to conduct some surveys and focus groups to get a baseline of subjective and qualitative measures. Now, what might these success metrics look like? There’s a variety, each may be more or less important. It will depend on the industry that you’re in the company size, your culture, and you want to measure each metric before establishing the hybrid work policy going forward kind of the long term, but potentially permanent hybrid work policy, because you want to have a baseline and you want to see how changes are result, the result of your hybrid work policy and any interventions you introduce. And then you want the value that every quarter, quarter with surveys and focus groups for qualitative and subjective ones. And other tools for more quantity than an objective wants to assess the impact of policy refinements. Now, let’s talk about some actual metrics, retention and recruitment. Retention, of course, is pretty clear to measure. It’s obvious it’s quantitative, it’s more objective. Recruitment is a softer metric. It’s somewhat harder to measure. It’s more qualitative, but you can measure it, of course, statistics No, some external benchmarks I want to share on retention and recruitment. We clearly see from external benchmarks that offering more remote work facilitates retention and recruitment. There was a survey of 1000 HR leaders on hybrid work, which showed that 95% believe it’s important for recruitment. And I’ve definitely seen that my clients and 60% believe it boosts retention. I think that 60% is reflective of some of those who didn’t adopt thorough hybrid work, because a very much seen, in all cases for hybrid work has boosted retention. So one thing you can do with measuring recruitment to make it a little bit less soft and a little bit more hard, is to evaluate job applicant enthusiasm. There was a report by our labs that found that 52% of workers who were surveyed were willing to take a pay cut for hybrid work options. So what I strongly advise you to do is that if you do choose a flexible policy, you want to display it on the Join Us page of some sort. For example, one of my clients is the USC Information Sciences Institute, USC is the University of Southern California, and they adopted this policy. They evaluated and tested it, and it worked out well. So then they put it on the Join Us page. And believe me, it has been helpful for them in getting applicants to join them. So HR will see an uptick in job applicants in inquiries, enthusiasm and interviews. And of course, you’ll put this on your job applications as well as the Join Us page. And that enthusiasm can be used as a metric for success. So enthusiastic, meaning the number of applicants you get for each position without changing anything else. So if you have, let’s say, a job site to which you put up applications, you can put up one that says what that includes flexible hybrid work policy, and one that omits any mention of flexible hybrid work policy for the same position, and you can compare the number of candidates that you get, I’ll guarantee you that you will get more candidates for the one that talks about a flexible hybrid work schedule. Let’s move on to another metric performance. Performance can be harder or easier to measure. Like I said, keystrokes are not a good measure of it. There are some standardized objective measures of productivity like writing code, writing accepted code that’s accepted by the quality control. That’s a good objective measure. And there was a study published in the National Bureau of Economic Research of a company called, which is a major travel agency as you can guess from the name that launched an experiment, it assigned half of its staff to work full time in the office and another half to work on a hybrid schedule about half time. And that found that the staff who were working on a hybrid schedule were overall quite a bit more productive. Specifically, they can evaluate the programmers, novice programmers, marketers, HR staff, all of those sorts of folks. Programmers wrote 8% more code over six months, or 8% more lines of accepted code. So this is a very clear, hard measure of the effectiveness of hybrid work and productivity. Oh, and by the way, the people who are working on a hybrid schedule were 35%, 35%, better retention. So talking about the previous metric, which is a huge boost in retention. So not only was there better retention, but they were also more productive. Let’s talk about more subjective measures of productivity. One effective one is regular weekly assessments from supervisors on how people are doing, not the tracking lines of code, but not tracking lines, not tracking keyboard strokes. That was a bad one. So software tracking programs, I don’t recommend it. But again, you’re not going to get what you’re actually measuring. And also, an owl labs report found that they cause stress unhappiness in 45% of employees, that is a huge number of employees to stress out. So you really don’t want to do that. Moving on metrics in collaboration and innovation. These are critical collaboration, innovation to effective team performance, but it can be hard to measure them. So you want qualitative assessments from team leaders, team members. And so using qualitative assessments like surveys will be quite helpful for you. You can improve those metrics by training people in hybrid innovation and collaboration techniques. So those will be helpful. Let’s move on to measuring culture and Talent Management. metrics here will include morale engagement, well being happiness burnout intended to leave quiet quitting. Why quit quitting? Well, our labs report found that 46% of employees would quit if forced back to Office full time, not simply resign, and leave for another position but quit meaning disengaged from their work, they would just be putting in the minimal amount needed to not get fired to get by. But they really wouldn’t put in 110%, which is really what you want good employees to do, who are active, engaged, look for a problem to solve, that’s great. But you don’t want them to quite quit. So you hear you want to qualitatively measure these culture and talent metrics. So you want to customize surveys to measure them, you want to use focus groups, as a way of digging deeper into the survey question. So you’re also a customized survey, and then you have an opt-in as part of that for focus groups, which you use to dig deeper into the survey. What about well, being in burnout, there are some hard metrics like employees taking sick days, and thought is quite useful, hard metric. And you can compare people who are working more remote time and less remote time. And I’ll tell you that my experience, people who work more remotely take less sick days, qualitative metrics through surveys, you can measure changes over time, look at their well being and burnout earlier, as a sort of, and then as a baseline, and then as a result of an intervention, you can see how that changes people’s sense of well being and their burden up over time. And then you’ll use that to evaluate the impact of your policies on employee mental and physical health. Let’s talk about the diversity equity inclusion metrics. It’s an often overlooked but quite important metric to measure. So you have to actually evaluate this, look at the retention of underrepresented staff and leaders, and use surveys. So you can use retention, that’s going to be certainly a hard metric, surveys is going to be a softer metric. And here you want to allow staff to self-identify as part of a survey. What we see is that underrepresented groups, quite clearly, on average, prefer to do more remote work than mainstream groups. Moving on to professional and leadership development, we see that companies do struggle to implement effective professional and leadership development in hybrid settings. There was a conference board survey that showed that 58% of employees would leave without adequate development. So it’s definitely a retention issue, not in not to mention the productivity issue of whether there are going to be professionally improved leadership development in terms of continuity for your company, as we get leaders going up the ranks. So measure professional development through surveys and focus groups. And then that will tell you how people are feeling about their professional development. And you can assess improvement in areas of development by comparing in person versus remote learning modalities, see how that works out for you. Let’s talk about leadership development and team integration. As I mentioned, it’s crucial to the long term continuity of your company to have effective leadership development, it’s you’ll have more quantitative and objective measures. This is something that can be done through assessing newly promoted leaders through performance evaluations, 360 degree reviews, so this can be more quantitative and objective. And you can assess the onboarding integration of staff through performance evaluation by supervisors, which is going to be somewhat quantitative and objective, rather than self reports through surveys, and measurements of productivity to the extent that you can make them quantitative and objective, that would be great. So let’s talk about the action plan for hybrid work and measuring it, gathering diverse metrics, different metrics, whatever it is determined are the most important ones. So determine what is going to be most critical for your organization, choose the top three to five metrics, and weigh their relative importance. So let’s say on a scale of one to 10, how much is each of these metrics of importance to you, you can have one that’s 10, another, that’s eight, another, that’s seven. And another, that six or another that’s free sale, have those three to five top metrics, use the chosen metrics to decide on a course of action for hybrid work, and then develop a plan of action and appropriate metrics to measure your success. And then you can continuously revise and reassess your policy as needed based on the metrics and how you see things are going. How do you revise your policy in relation to the metrics, where you want to revise your policy if you don’t achieve the metrics that you desired? That’s why you should really run experiments, compare it to alternative versions of hybrid policy, to the extent that you can have that, let’s say, in different offices, or different business units of different teams, look at various options and see what works best for various teams. And then see if you can adapt that to other teams and see if it works better for those teams. You want to reassess and revise your approach once a month for the first three months and then once a quarter after that, and then you want to adopt that approach based on these experiments for a much more long term, maybe even permanent hybrid work model. All right, everyone. I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode of the wise decision maker show. My name is Dr. Gleb Tsipursky, I’m the CEO of disaster avoidance experts, the future work consultancy that sponsors the wise decision maker show. Please send me any questions and comments you have on this show at Google at my email is Gleb GL EB at disaster avoidance Please make sure to subscribe to the show wherever you check us out and leave a review. It helps other folks discover the show and it helps us improve the show. Alright everyone, I look forward to seeing you next episode of the wise decision maker show. In the meantime, the wisest and most profitable decisions to you, my friends.

Transcribed by

Dr. Gleb Tsipursky was lauded as “Office Whisperer” and “Hybrid Expert” by The New York Times for helping leaders use hybrid work to improve retention and productivity while cutting costs. He serves as the CEO of the boutique future-of-work consultancy Disaster Avoidance Experts. Dr. Gleb wrote the first book on returning to the office and leading hybrid teams after the pandemic, his best-seller Returning to the Office and Leading Hybrid and Remote Teams: A Manual on Benchmarking to Best Practices for Competitive Advantage (Intentional Insights, 2021). He authored seven books in total, and is best know for his global bestseller, Never Go With Your Gut: How Pioneering Leaders Make the Best Decisions and Avoid Business Disasters (Career Press, 2019). His cutting-edge thought leadership was featured in over 650 articles and 550 interviews in Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, USA Today, CBS News, Fox News, Time, Business Insider, Fortune, and elsewhere. His writing was translated into Chinese, Korean, German, Russian, Polish, Spanish, French, and other languages. His expertise comes from over 20 years of consulting, coaching, and speaking and training for Fortune 500 companies from Aflac to Xerox. It also comes from over 15 years in academia as a behavioral scientist, with 8 years as a lecturer at UNC-Chapel Hill and 7 years as a professor at Ohio State. A proud Ukrainian American, Dr. Gleb lives in Columbus, Ohio. In his free time, he makes sure to spend abundant quality time with his wife to avoid his personal life turning into a disaster. Contact him at Gleb[at]DisasterAvoidanceExperts[dot]com, follow him on LinkedIn @dr-gleb-tsipursky, Twitter @gleb_tsipursky, Instagram @dr_gleb_tsipursky, Facebook @DrGlebTsipursky, Medium @dr_gleb_tsipursky, YouTube, and RSS, and get a free copy of the Assessment on Dangerous Judgment Errors in the Workplace by signing up for the free Wise Decision Maker Course at