Workplace flexibility has undoubtedly become a hot topic in the business world over the past two years. As COVID-19 threw all of us for a loop, on both a professional and personal level, I’m reminded of how MJ has adapted as a workplace and learned several lessons along the way.
A few years ago, our team noticed the rapidly evolving changes in the workforce as more companies were offering remote positions, which were becoming highly desired by candidates. As we observed these trends, we realized the desire for workplace flexibility would only continue to grow.
To better understand the wants and needs of our own talent, we turned to our associates to hear what they had to say. In 2018, we conducted several employee feedback surveys. The results made it clear that adopting a workplace flexibility strategy was essential to remain competitive in our industry. If our aim was to attract and retain top talent, we had to be proactive and adapt – and that’s exactly what we did.
In the fall of 2018, MJ launched our first ever hybrid work model. We implemented a policy of working remotely up to two days a week. Interestingly enough, at the time less than half of our associates ever used this flexible environment. Little did we know this adjustment would equip MJ for the events to come only a year and half later.
As you can imagine, the onset of COVID-19 in 2020 had a significant impact on our transitioning work environment. In March of 2020, MJ quickly shifted to a fully remote environment. Luckily, we already had the tools and resources needed for remote work. Although the process involved multiple hybrid testing models and lots of trial and error, we witnessed the MJ team adapt in amazing ways. Our leaders embraced the challenge with a “figure it out” mentality, and their confidence grew. Our associates began to believe that it was not only possible to work remotely, but they can work well and efficiently in a remote environment.
How did we do it, you ask? Trust. Trust was earned by simply asking questions and listening to our people. And by taking action, confidence was built. We intentionally welcomed feedback and let their voices be heard throughout the process. Had we not started transitioning to a flexible environment back in 2018, we would not have been able to quickly adapt to the challenges of working during a pandemic.
As I reflect on this year, I am grateful for the ways we’ve adapted and how far we’ve come. In 2021 alone, we’ve hired and onboarded 35 full-time and 17 seasonal associates. MJ continues to gain helpful feedback from our associates with a 90-100% associate survey response rate. Today, we are officially “back to work” and running a 90-day test of a hybrid pilot model. In a very real sense, we are testing our own adaptability as we lead our people, serve our clients and fulfill our purpose.
As we consider all the ways we’ve adapted this year, may we continue to learn together. May the new year bring even more positive change and growth for us all.