Why hybrid works for us
We introduced a new version of hybrid work model in April 2022. Now, four months in, we decided to take a look at how our hybrid set-up influenced our talents’ experience at work. To do so, we reviewed some key metrics that define our talents’ engagement, considered campus attendance numbers, and analyzed our hybrid survey, which revealed several benefits related to the way we work. We can confidently say that our hybrid work model is a success!
The post-pandemic time undoubtedly played a key role in making organizations rethink their working models and introduce a more inclusive set-up that would promote work-life balance and empower all talents. After two long years of remote work and limited social contact with our peers, we were also missing a sense of belonging to our unique trivago culture and its people.
We introduced our hybrid work model 2.0 in April this year with the purpose of bringing our talents back to campus while offering a high level of flexibility. We decided to move from a more centralized and structured approach to a team-by-team approach which means that individual teams decide when it’s best for them to meet in person in the office, collaborate together and, more importantly, socialize and build meaningful relationships with peers.
It’s been four months since the implementation of our hybrid set-up, and we have carefully monitored and evaluated its effects on our talents’ experience by analyzing a number of data points. First of all, we’ve seen a significant increase in our talents’ engagement metrics through our internal employee feedback tool, Officevibe. We also spotted an increased interest in coming to work to collaborate in person on campus. Lastly, our ad-hoc feedback survey about our new work model has shown that our hybrid set-up has improved our talents’ overall experience.
Before we deep dive into our engagement metrics, let’s define what employee engagement means to us and why it’s so crucial in a hybrid set-up consisting of distributed teams. To us, employee engagement measures how involved and enthusiastic our talents are about working at trivago. We do so by collecting frequent feedback from our talents and cluster it into the following themes:
Relationship with peers
Our reason for implementing hybrid and some mandatory campus days was to create a place where talents can also collaborate in person and are able to build meaningful relationships with each other. We believe that this meaningful collaboration and opportunity to get to know each other on a personal level can positively influence productivity and performance.
Additionally, these tight-knit relationships with peers improve talent retention and general team morale. During the first three months of our hybrid model, we saw an increase in relationship with peers to 83%, supporting our theory that in-person collaboration and social contact play an important role in fostering trust and a more efficient communication.
Relationship with managers
Our talents experienced an improved relationship with their managers during the hybrid set-up in comparison to the remote set-up. Since the purpose of our hybrid set-up is to create employee equivalence and further promote employee inclusion, we encouraged all teams to have a minimum of two team days per month on campus dedicated to the team meetings, team lunches and collaborative work. It also creates opportunities for leads to build better relationships with their team members, for example, by having 1:1 meetings in person. This strategy has positively impacted the quality of feedback talents receive from their managers and the way this feedback is delivered to talents. This is the highest metric we encountered leading to 85%.
We define employee happiness as the combination between happiness at work and work-life balance – something we highly value at trivago. During the pandemic it became increasingly difficult for some talents to completely switch off and disconnect from work. With the hybrid approach, offering a balance between campus days and home office, our talents are able to divide their work according to their preference and based on the nature of their tasks. We saw an increase in happiness and work-life balance to 77%. Needless to say, there are also some external factors affecting this metric, but we believe this is likely impacted by the flexibility that a hybrid work model offers.
Ambassadorship and Employee Advocacy
We believe that a proud workforce has a greater sense of belonging to the organization. A strong connection to the organization is key to successful collaboration, healthy working relationships, and knowledge sharing. At trivago, we are all-inclusive, meaning we strive to foster an inclusive workplace where everyone feels connected and respected. We believe that an increase in ambassadorship metric to 77% is achieved thanks to the return of our regular events, but also our in-person D&I initiatives this year played a vital role in bringing our team together. Lastly, a combination of in-person and remote collaboration helped our team to exchange on important topics by having a stronger impact on our projects across the company.
Consistent attendance on Campus
We’ve seen a consistently high presence of talents on campus since our hybrid model was introduced. On average, 47% of our talents come to campus on a daily basis which indicates an increase in motivation and willingness to commute to campus and meet with teams in person. Our average daily attendance rate shows a much higher frequency in employees’ presence on campus than the minimum of four days.
Takeaways from our hybrid feedback survey
Not long ago, we sent out a company-wide survey to collect feedback on our recently implemented hybrid set-up. Many talents highlighted that in-person interactions allowed them to build trustful relationships with peers, but also collaborate more efficiently. A common issue that many teams face in a fully remote set-up is that collaboration and communication isn’t as efficient as in person. When we’re all on campus with our teams, it’s quicker to find answers to our questions by asking someone directly. Brainstorming is also less exhausting and more energizing when you’re in the same room instead of staring at a screen. Finally, a significant number of talents felt improved work-life balance due to a flexible working set-up.
Learning and adjusting is part of our culture, and our working model is no exception to that. We’re thrilled to see that our current hybrid model has had a positive impact on our way of working based on the engagement metrics, campus attendance and qualitative feedback from the majority of our team so far. That said, we remain flexible and will continue evaluating the way we work based on what we see works best for our talents and for us as a team in the future.
Thanks to Danish Hussain from Strategy & Operations team for writing this article!