April Hicks, Bank of America

April Hicks

The Future of Work

What are your views on the future of work and what will the office of the future look like?

It’s a really exciting time to reflect on the future of work. In many ways, the role of HR shifted during the pandemic when taking care of people and taking care of our business became so intertwined. Now, as we look forward, it’s critical for employers to demonstrate how they invest in talent. At the end of the day, the role of HR is to bring in and support talent for the organization – it’s about developing solutions that meet the business need. The office of the future has to support a focus on collaboration and building relationships because that’s how we drive progress and innovation.

How can companies maintain culture and a collaborative environment in a remote work structure?

We focus on creating a “Bank of America community” where our teammates find value in coming together, regardless of location or role. We have opportunities to do this through our local market leaders who connect with employees on key priorities and activities, supporting engagement through local bank connections. Through our employee networks and Bank of America Community Volunteers, we offer teammates the opportunity to connect with others who share their passions to expand their network and perspectives.

For us, we have a range of in-office expectations based on requirements of the role. We’re also a large, geographically dispersed company, so even folks in the office may not work in the same location as their team. Maintaining culture and a collaborative environment for us is about finding connectivity regardless of physical location.

As an HR leader, is it necessary for employees to be in the office to build employee engagement?

When employees are in the office, there’s an opportunity for informal networking, mentoring, and collaboration. It may not be one size fits all, but there’s no substitute for those chats after a meeting ends that sometimes lead to great next steps and an overall sense of how we can drive progress together. From our experience, we’ve seen great energy as employees have returned to the office and what this means for their work relationships, their career development and moving projects forward.