Video Tech at Work: Innovation in Remote and Hybrid Work

Insights from a 2022 survey by the ADP Research Institute found that two-thirds of employees are willing to make a job change to work in a hybrid model. Read on to learn more about the nature of work and innovation in today’s workforce.

Watch this Washington Post video, below, featuring Aaron Smith, SVP of Global Product Management & User Experience at ADP. He discusses the changing dynamic of workspace and workforce — including the continued prevalence of hybrid work. And how the integration of technology and data can help facilitate innovation.

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[On-demand webcast] HR Trends and Opportunities in 2023: How will the HR function continue to evolve? What comes next? ADP subject matter experts offer critical insights during this one-hour webcast. Launch anytime.

Video Transcript

Suzanne Kelly (SK): Hello there. I’m Suzanne Kelly, CEO, and publisher of the Cipher Brief a national security-focused news organization. Today we’re talking tech at work and I can’t think of a better time to have this conversation with so many people going back and forth between home and the office. Joining me to discuss this is Aaron Smith. Aaron is Senior Vice President of Global Product Management and user experience at ADP. Aaron, nice to see you.

Aaron Smith (AS): Thank you, Suzanne, great to be here.

SK; You know, I really love information and how it helps us understand the direction that trends are moving. And so I’m wondering if we could start off by talking just a little bit about what trends are really fueling safe access for remote and hybrid work. And what are the challenges now that are facing HR?

AS: Yeah, I think it’s a lot to digest first of all, and the amount of dynamics around the definition of workspace in and of itself is going to be constantly changing. That’s our view. And our take and the reason is that obviously, the experience of the pandemic surprised us all. And then coming out of the pandemic, the forms of how teams work and where your employees potentially work is going to be constantly evolving and changing.

And so we expect that trend to continue and with that in mind, how teams work together or how individual employees work together is really going to be an important part of what is a productive place for an individual or a team to work. And so with that, with that trend expecting to continue, the question is how do you face that challenge head-on. And there’s not one answer that that’s going to be afforded to be able to resolve that. But, but a couple of key factors that we believe are going to be most important is really having a very close pulse on the sentiment and the engagement of your employees first and foremost, whether they’re remote holistically, they’re in the office or somewhere in between.

Having a very incremental and constant way to check in with your employees and your workforce at large we believe is going to be a real key skill and tool to be able to tap into this, this constant flurry of change between home and office.

SK: Yeah, it’s not always easy for folks to do. And I’m wondering, are there ways that workers themselves can kind of be a part of, enabling innovation and business growth during all of this newness that we’re seeing?

AS: Yeah, we do like to start with some facts as well and try to answer the question of where employees can help with this particular challenge. We have an ADP Research Institute (ADPRI) that conducted a survey very recently in 2022 across a pretty wide swath of employees and, and found that employees, on a two-thirds basis, out of that survey, are willing to make a job change if they’re not afforded the opportunity to work in a hybrid model.

And so the question is, where can employees be best positioned to help unlock more innovation and help make that happen? And the answer really comes back to the employer. Are you able to really engage with your workforce and your employees, as I mentioned earlier, also there’s very likely a lot of untapped skills and untapped value within your existing workforce that you might not even realize. And having a channel that new ideas and new innovation constantly come from, from your employees directly for those untapped skills that you may not know about, we’ve found and we believe is going to be a very key way for employees to be at the forefront of that and just to maybe make it more of a real use case, we leverage our own employees as essentially what we call client or customer zero, so we test our products. We use our products, and those ideas continue to flourish from our own employees and our business and we encourage that for anybody to really take advantage of.

SK: I’m curious, are there some tools and technologies that you’re finding are pretty effective when it comes to providing workers ways to make it a little bit easier to go from home to office?

AS: Of course, it’s in our name, we love it. Data, data and data we believe is the secret ingredient to empowering your employees, empowering your leaders and empowering your workforce. Of course, that context switching between being at home, being in the office, but then maybe being at home and having to deal with personal situations amongst your office work really means that the connection point between us as consumers and how we use technology in our daily lives, and how we then use technology for our work. That gap in and of itself obviously is closer and closer and closer now more than ever. So it is key is to personalize the tools and the technologies and even the data that you have for your employees and your leaders – it’s going to be a real important tool to be able to employ.

SK: Yeah, and I would think that having access to great data, one of the great benefits is being able to understand what might be coming. So I’m wondering, what do you think the future is for remote and hybrid work? Where do you think this is all headed?

AS: We do have a really good view with the data that we have at our disposal. With our business, we pay one in six employees in the US and so it’s a pretty constant stream view of what’s happening with the workforce at large. And, you know, I wouldn’t say we’ve got any magical forward-looking statements. I think what we’re seeing in the data is really constant change. And expectations of unlocking productivity and innovation out of your workforce.

And we see that in the change of pay elements and wellness and health and in all aspects of your employee workforce. And then we try to obviously offer the technology to be able to unlock value out of that and the data that we’re afforded. So where it’s headed is not a single destination — just to cut to the chase on that — it’s constant, as I mentioned earlier, constant awareness of sentiment with your employees. Constant looking at the data that you’re afforded and the skills that are there yet to be on tap, and then you’re able to adapt to whatever changes lie ahead for the modern workforce, the mode of location that you might have for your business.

SK: Yeah, I think we’ve all felt exactly that since COVID. Of course, this whole new reality and being able to constantly change and using data to understand that – I think it’s a great idea. Aaron Smith is Senior Vice President of Global Product Management and user experience with ADP. Aaron, thank you so much for being here to talk about tech at work.

AS: Thank you Suzanne really enjoyed it. Appreciate it.