A lot has changed in this pandemic-ravaged world. Work models have evolved drastically with candidates demanding remote work options from every organisation. In fact, they are bullish enough to reject offers or organisations that aren’t comfortable with the flexible way of working. Talent management has become key to ensuring better hires and even better retention. In the manufacturing industry, the challenges are quite steep as the sector had to struggle during the lockdown phase. Now that the recovery has been made, conversations on whether a hybrid work model can be an option have become commonplace.
The Manufacturers Alliance, in collaboration with Aon, conducted a srvey last year after speaking to nearly 400 human resources and functional leaders to understand what’s plaguing the manufacturing industry in the age of flexible work models. The survey showed that around 80 percent believe their organisation will come up with some hybrid or flexible model for its salaried employees.
In this regard, 3M India seems to have already cracked the code. While flexible work culture is not new to 3M with the “FlexAbility Policy” launched in 2015, FlexAbility 2.0 became a reality during the pandemic period. This switch to remote or hybrid work in early 2020 was abrupt for them.
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Considering various internal and external challenges during the pandemic period, 3M globally conducted various surveys across the countries to listen to their non-production (white-collar) employees at all levels to find out what the future of work looks like to them. ‘3Mers’, as the employees are referred to, were given time to identify what environment benefits their work style, and which doesn’t.
87 percent of the employees responded by saying they wanted flexibility in Where they work and 88 percent wanted flexibility in When they work. That gave rise to 3M India’s new Work Your Way policy which further expands on the flexibility provided to the non-production employees in existing FlexAbility and FlexAbility 2.0 policies.
“87 percent of the employees responded by saying they wanted flexibility in “Where” they work and 88 percent wanted flexibility in “When” they work. That gave rise to 3M India’s new “Work Your Way” policy which further expands on the flexibility provided to the non-production employees in existing FlexAbility and FlexAbility 2.0 policies.”
Samita Patil, Senior Manager-HR, 3M India reminds here that Work Your Way (WYW) is not one-size-fits-all and can be customised based on roles and personal circumstances. WYW provides multiple work model options. If role requirements allow for it, employees can also use different forms of flexibility which are categorised into three broad working options.
The options are:
Mainly On-Site work (in-country): This is an arrangement where an employee mainly works out of a 3M India work location. This is a base location wherein an employee is hired to perform his/her duties. In this case, the employee needs to reside in the base location and is primarily expected to go office/work location every day. This option can be exercised within the country.
Hybrid work (in-country): An employee can split work time between a 3M location and a non-3M location. Non-location can be either home or any other location than 3M office. In this case, employee primarily needs to reside in the base location as they are expected to go to the office for at least 1-2 days a week. This option can also be exercised within the country only.
Remote Work (primarily in-country however also provides an option to work out of a different country): This is an arrangement where an employee primarily or mainly works from a non-3M location (home or any other location within the country). Employees opting for this option are expected to maintain an appropriate home office with adequate infrastructure to operate and perform their roles effectively. This option is also primarily exercised within the country.
But there’s more…
Additionally, as a sub-part to this Remote option, 3M has introduced the Temporary Alternate Work Location option wherein employees can work in an alternate destination outside of their home country for up to 30 days per calendar year if they have notified their supervisor in writing and can perform their work duties remotely.
Of the 35% of employees who have opted for the Remote option, the maximum has chosen a location within the country. Having said that, 3M does have a considerable number of employees opting for the Temporary Alternate Work Location option on account of their personal reasons and are getting benefited from this policy.
Patil explains, “They just need to notify their supervisor and HR in writing of the start and end dates of the remote work period, and they can perform their work duties from the remote work location outside of their home country.”
Terms and conditions do apply…
There are a couple of things that are important to note. Due to legal, tax, immigration, and other considerations, working from a different country beyond 30 days is out of scope for Work Your Way and needs to flow through 3M’s global mobility standards and policies. Determining whether a work visa is required is the responsibility of the employee. Employees must be authorised to travel and must obtain an appropriate work visa (if applicable) before they begin any work in the Temporary Alternate Work location. At the end of the Temporary Alternate Work arrangement, employees must return to their primary work location.
Apart from that, all relocation expenses are to be borne by the employees themselves. Elaborating on it further, Patil shares, “This is additional flexibility provided under Distant Remote option to cater to our employee’s personal exigencies. Employees continue to be on the rolls of their home country. So, there is no additional support provided by the company. All relocation expenses associated with employee-initiated International Temporary Alternate Work Arrangements under this policy are at the employee’s expense.”
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This option is provided to all the non-production 3Mers across the world at all levels. Since the official launch of the Work Your Way policy in 3M India in April 2022, a considerable number of employees on account of their personal reasons have opted for this choice and are getting benefited from this policy.
As for choosing the location, if it is in accordance with 3M’s global policies, there are no restrictions and employees can choose a country of their choice. But there needs to be prior alignment with the supervisor and HR.
Patil informs, “Approximately 53 percent of 3M India employees have opted for hybrid option and 35 percent for remote option, leaving only 12 percent employees expressing their wish to come to the office on a daily basis. While this data is dynamic and based on the change in roles and responsibilities, employees are empowered to change their WYW options during the year. This has taught us that we need to reimagine how we operate. We are also redesigning our workspaces to be more flexible and leverage technology, to collaborate efficiently between on-site and virtual meetings.”
“3M has also completely moved to digitally-enabled virtual learning offerings with their new learning management system – 3M Learn. It’s an all-encompassing learning platform and provides a single point of access for all the employees. “It provides automated learning recommendations based on an employee’s job profile, role, location, and personal interest.
3M has also completely moved to digitally-enabled virtual learning offerings with their new learning management system – 3M Learn. It’s an all-encompassing learning platform and provides a single point of access for all the employees. “It provides automated learning recommendations based on an employee’s job profile, role, location, and personal interest. Our 3M Learn houses have 10,000+ learning resources in more than 15 languages,” Patil explains.
Work Your Way is rolling out in stages across the world and the organisation intends to expand workplace flexibility to the production employees too. Exploratory work has already started around the same.
In FY 2020-21, 3M’s diverse product portfolio helped the company to take advantage of the strong recovery in certain market segments. The FY 2020-21 fiscal Q4 results witnessed a sequential growth of 12.4 percent over the prior quarter and 22.6 percent growth over the prior year. 3M India has a total headcount of 1125 employees.
Year of Incorporation: 1987
Number of Employees: 1125
Key Executive: Ramesh Ramadurai, MD, 3M India
Business Line: 3M is a global science and innovation company driven by a unique culture that embraces creativity and collaboration