In 2020, HubSpot bet on hybrid as the future of work, offering our employees the flexibility to choose how they work best: @home, @office or @flex. Today, we’re still confident that hybrid is the right decision, especially as our data shows HubSpotters have similar engagement and performance regardless of work preference or location. Yet, there’s one key learning that continues to surface: people are craving connection more than ever.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have often seen the word “connection” in our quarterly employee net promoter surveys (called our eNPS). While we’ve done a lot to help employees transition to hybrid work, we recognize that we have more work to do around one fundamental aspect of work: the meaningful connection created between co-workers, which sparks engagement, growth, and a greater sense of well-being and belonging. We decided to dig deeper into this challenge of connection to better understand its meaning, and its impact on HubSpot employees.
The results proved that while employees are feeling connected to HubSpot and their direct teams, the challenge lies with connection across teams:
83% of employees across all work preferences say they have opportunities to connect with people on their team, and 71% feel connected to the company and our culture.
Over 35% of our employees say they don’t have the opportunity to connect with HubSpotters on other teams.
Employees are looking for deeper personal connections, not informal coffee conversations or one-off “mixer chats.” They want the space (and help) to make friends, which we know is naturally harder when you can’t spend time with people every day.
These feelings of disconnection are not just at HubSpot. Our external2023 Hybrid Work Reportsurveying full-time remote, in-office, and flex employees at companies in 10 countries found that 70% of those surveyed feel connected to their company culture, but only 34% feel strongly connected to their colleagues. Additionally, 66% of those external respondents who report having a close friend at work say that this impacts their intent to stay.
The data shows that it’s time to innovate on our hybrid model around the ways we convene, connect with each other, and build community. That’s why we’ve introduced Connect4, a new initiative with four core components: Purpose, Ease, Equity, and Sustainability. We believe by connecting all four together, we can create remarkable hybrid connections.
Purpose: We have no intention of mandating employees back to the office, but we do know that we have to be purposeful about connecting employees. We’ll create space and time for this to happen through in-office Connection Days for folks to gather, marquee Connection Events like Bring Your Family to Work Day, and remote and virtual meetups.
Ease: We need to take the friction out of connection and make it easy and fun to build personal relationships. That’s why we’re leaning into and personalizing our MixHub Program, a HubSpot-built Slack app that facilitates friendships, as well as delivering better enablement materials for managers.
Equity: Recognizing 60% of our workforce are @home workers, we'll be equitable in our approach, enabling our remote population to come together both in-person and virtually.
Sustainability: HubSpot aims to be net zero carbon by 2040. That’s why we’re focused on maximizing connection while minimizing our carbon footprint and establishing travel guardrails for in-person meetups that will scale with us as HubSpot grows.
Some of the more traditional ways of driving connection, like hosting large, company-wide summits, are easy to do, but don’t align with our objective to build a high-performing, sustainable and equitable company. How we’ll build sustainable, scalable solutions that complement our hybrid working model is a critical piece to our Connect4 strategy for three core reasons:
In order to build a company future generations can be proud of, we have a responsibility to measure, address, and reduce our carbon footprint and we take that incredibly seriously. Flying our employees everywhere isn’t cost effective or feasible if we’re committed to taking ambitious climate action.
Our data tells us that one-off connections are a lot less meaningful than recurring ways to build deeper connections. We want to make sure we’re building long lasting solutions and relationships that will scale as we grow – and that connects people together across locations and work preferences.
Our culture is not tied to locations. Neither is building connection. We want to drive equity by creating solutions for both in-person connections in an office, within a remote community, and virtually. In doing this, we won’t try to recreate everything for every work preference. Everything we do doesn’t have to be the same, but everyone, regardless of where they are, should have an option to opt into something meaningful, and build personal relationships.
There’s still work to be done when it comes to strengthening the foundation of hybrid work, and for us, it starts by addressing connection. When we solve for the connection gap and bring our employees together in meaningful ways, we can begin to provide a greater sense of purpose, belonging, and alignment for our employees. The way we see it, the secret to creating a thriving hybrid culture is by unlocking the power of connection.