WorkplaceFundi Logo
right arrow
right arrow
right arrow
right arrow
Workplace Assessment
right arrow
Case Studies
right arrow
right arrow
right arrow
right arrow
By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Privacy Policy for more information.

The CHRO’s role has always been strategic and multifaceted, encompassing talent management, organisational development, performance management, diversity, compliance, compensation, and benefits. However, with millions of workers having now shifted to a hybrid working model, the CHRO has become increasingly responsible for the physical workplace, as well as the virtual one.

Why has the CHRO become increasingly responsible for the physical workplace?

CEO’s are becoming increasingly aware of the numerous benefits that a focus on the workplace can bring, and many have tasked the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO), to lead the organisation’s response to the workplace and ensuring the well-being, safety, and productivity of the workforce.

As a result, the role of the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) has evolved to be increasingly responsible for the physical workplace. The Workplace has become a symbol of the company's culture and values, and issues of employee engagement, employee experience, and wellness. The pandemic has highlighted the importance of employee engagement, experience, and wellness, and the CHRO is responsible for creating a positive employee experience, which includes designing a workplace that fosters engagement, productivity, and well-being. The CHRO must now ensure that the structure of the workplace is accommodating to employees' needs through increased flexibility.

But HR alone do not have the skills and experience to understand how to build a bridge between where you are now and where you need to be, and the workplace that is required to enable your team to get you there. This needs to be a collaborative effort led by HR but involving IT, CRES, FM, Finance, Procurement, Operations and Legal; who all have expertise in various aspects of the workplace. However, there seems to be an increasing fragmentation of workplace disciplines which runs counter to the trend of greater convergence in the way people work creating a growing gap in understanding among the subject matter experts.

What is required is strategic partnerships between these support functions and the empowering of a 'super-connector' between all these disparate functions. A catalyst that removes obstacles, fosters collaboration, and oversees an environment in which peer-to-peer information sharing, collaboration, and production can occur. One that empowers and engages employees in all phases of their journey through the physical and digital workplace and that ensures that that the evolution of the workplace aligns with the business strategy. And that the strategy aligns with the needs of the people.

Here are some reasons why the CHRO has become increasingly responsible for the physical workplace:

1. Adapting to Hybrid Work Models

CHROs are tasked with creating flexible workspaces that support both remote and in-office employees, ensuring seamless transitions and productivity.

In today's rapidly evolving work landscape, accommodating hybrid work models has become a crucial responsibility for CHROs. The shift towards flexible work arrangements requires managing physical spaces that cater to both remote and in-office employees, ensuring they remain productive and engaged regardless of their location. This involves creating and curating adaptable workspaces equipped with advanced technology to facilitate seamless collaboration and communication. A well-designed hybrid workspace can boost employee satisfaction and performance, . Additionally, Harvard Business Review emphasises that flexible work environments are key to attracting and retaining top talent in a competitive market.

2. Enhancing Employee Wellness

The physical workplace significantly impacts employee health and well-being, making it crucial for CHROs to ensure that environments promote mental and physical health.

Enhancing employee wellness has become a paramount responsibility for CHROs, especially as the link between well-being and productivity gains recognition. A workplace environment that supports mental and physical health can significantly improve employee engagement and performance. Implementing wellness programs, ergonomic furniture, and stress-relief zones are just a few strategies that can make a substantial difference. According to Gallup, organisations that prioritise employee well-being experience higher productivity and lower turnover rates. Furthermore, McKinsey highlights the importance of integrating well-being into the company's DEI strategy to foster a supportive and inclusive workplace culture.

3. Fostering Organisational Culture

Maintaining a cohesive company culture requires CHROs to have their Workplace and Facilities Management Team (WFM) teams manage workspaces that facilitate collaboration and a sense of community, even with a dispersed workforce.

Fostering organisational culture through the physical workplace is a key focus for CHROs seeking to create a sense of belonging and community among employees, even in a dispersed workforce. The design, layout and management regime of the workspace play a critical role in encouraging collaboration, creativity, and shared values.

Research by Steelcase emphasises that a strong corporate culture positively impacts employee engagement and retention. Moreover, Beehive discusses how a strong culture can help companies attract top talent and adapt to the evolving needs of the workforce. By aligning the physical workspace with the organisation's cultural values, CHROs can create an environment where employees thrive and contribute to the company's success.

4. Employee Experience

Employee experience is another critical factor in the success of an organisation. Employee experience encompasses everything from the physical workplace to the company culture, the quality of leadership, and the opportunities for growth and development.

The CHRO is responsible for creating a positive employee experience, which includes designing an managing a workplace that fosters engagement, productivity, and well-being. The CHRO must ensure that the physical workplace is designed and managed to promote employee experience, such as by creating spaces for relaxation and socialisation.

These spaces, such as food courts, meditation rooms, or wellness areas, provide employees with a retreat from their daily tasks, allowing them to recharge and destress. Additionally, incorporating elements of nature, such as greenery and natural light, can improve mood and productivity. By prioritising these spaces, the CHRO can demonstrate the organisation's commitment to employee well-being, ultimately leading to a more engaged and productive workforce.

5. Integrating Workplace Technology

CHROs must ensure the physical workplace is equipped with the latest technology to enhance productivity, connectivity, and overall employee experience.

Integrating workplace technology has become a critical aspect of the CHRO's role in enhancing employee experience and driving productivity. With the increasing reliance on digital tools for communication and collaboration, CHROs are tasked with implementing technologies that streamline workflows and facilitate seamless remote work. According to Gartner, technologies including AI and automation can enhance employee productivity by automating repetitive tasks and providing personalised experiences. Additionally, Deloitte highlights the importance of leveraging technology to improve the employee experience, citing examples such as digital assistants and virtual reality tools that enhance collaboration and engagement.

6. Aligning with Business Objectives

The CHRO's strategic role involves aligning the physical workspace with broader business goals, ensuring it supports operational efficiency and company growth.

Aligning the physical workplace with business objectives has become a strategic imperative for CHROs, as it directly impacts organisational performance and employee satisfaction. By ensuring that the physical workspace supports the company's goals and values, CHROs can create a more productive and engaging work environment. According to Forbes, aligning workplace strategy with business strategy can lead to improved employee retention and a more cohesive organisational culture. Additionally. By considering the impact of the physical workspace on business objectives, CHROs can create a workplace that drives performance and supports long-term success.

The CHRO role has changed and they are now expected to be able to leverage the opportunities and overcome the challenges that COVID-19 has presented for the workplace. The CHRO has to empower the role players in their organisation to create  and curate a work environment that is safe, healthy, productive, and inclusive, regardless of whether it is physical or virtual. The CHRO has to lead the organisation’s transformation and adaptation to the new normal and the new future of work.

How has the shift towards hybrid working models impacted your approach to facilities management and workplace strategy?

People    I    Place    I    Performance

Dig Deeper:

Hey Workplace enthusiasts! 🌐  Dive into our free Workplace Assessment now to unveil untapped potential and get the workplace experience that you deserve ! 💼

Related posts

Keep Reading.

Boardroom Image