Helping your people managers manage a hybrid workplace

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An article from the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise, “The Future of Hybrid Working: Overcoming Challenges, Leveraging Opportunities“, notes that “to meet the desire of employees for flexibility, companies will need to address gaps in culture, work processes, socialization and personal needs to improve both remote work and office arrangements. “. As others have expressed their thoughts on the new way of working, a hybrid model may be more challenging than remote or in-person.

Yes, this model may be more challenging, but employees have this desire for flexibility, and employers can benefit as well (for example, with a larger talent pool and potential savings on office space and supplies ) while retaining the best talent. So how does an organization address the challenges and fill the gaps discussed in the Kenan Institute article?

In “A Guide to Supporting Hybrid Team Leaders,” Chris Coladonato offers advice on how talent development professionals can help people managers navigate three critical areas of work:

· Clarity of work and purpose
Communicate and collaborate
Connection and cohesion

While there are challenges in all of these areas in desktop and remote environments, the challenges are somewhat different in a hybrid environment.

Clarity of work and purpose

When co-workers or managers and direct reports are not collocated, communication via body language can be missed. For example, a manager may miss the look of confusion or frustration on a direct report’s face. Another example is that co-workers may not hear the kitchen conversation about a work project and know its priority level, which may result in employees working on lower priority work projects or multiple people working on the same task, unaware that others are also spending time. above.

What can alleviate these problems?

  • A people leader should have regular check-ins with their direct reports during which they will check on projects, priorities, and challenges that the employee may encounter.
  • A manager should articulate team goals and metrics to measure performance and results.
  • A people leader should share feedback from external and internal customers.

Communication and cooperation

Many of us find it difficult to choose which tools and technology to use given the many devices we have at our fingertips. Whether chatting, participating in Zoom calls or sharing via the intranet, the solution is “a solution where everyone can fully participate, engage and be heard, whether in a meeting , workshop, or brainstorming session. To ensure inclusiveness and effective leadership, leaders must be intentional about how and where communications and collaboration take place,” writes Coladonato.

What it looks like in practice:

  • The People Leader, in consultation and agreement with their team, establishes practices regarding communication channels and responsiveness expectations. Will regular updates be done asynchronously through a Teams channel so everyone knows what everyone else is working on without another meeting being added to their calendar that week? Are colleagues invited to contact each other again within two working days?
  • The manager should be aware of their own biases (proximity or recency, for example) and lead by example. Are they inclined to communicate and collaborate with a privileged few out of habit? It’s likely, but they can catch up and expand their circle of collaboration.

Connection and cohesion

Ah, yes, the proverbial water cooler and the many connections it would have made. How can teammates continue to feel a sense of connection with each other even if they don’t see each other and hang out in the office kitchen? Beyond that, how can employees work across multiple departments when they don’t necessarily know what another team is doing?

Coladonato offers some tips to get members of a hybrid team thinking:

  • Remember to recognize and celebrate milestones and victories, however small. “Managers can incorporate a regular agenda item into the weekly team meeting where another team member shares an anecdote about someone they want to thank for their help or a job well done. ”
  • One can feel that career opportunities are unequal in a hybrid work environment. A people manager can facilitate relationships by hosting coffee chats with leaders or asking a direct report to participate in a special interest group with a leader the employee might not otherwise interact with.
  • The team can collaborate to feel useful by volunteering. If the team members are all nearby, they can do this in person; otherwise, it could mean employees volunteering separately but for a common cause, then connecting to talk about their experience.

The link that binds

A
Inc. article, ”
3 in 5 employees would consider quitting for this reason, study findsstates that “the Connection Gap study conducted by Blueboard found that nearly three in five employees would consider quitting their job if they did not feel connected at work.

People managers can help their direct reports feel a connection to the job, the mission of the organization, and to each other through regular touchpoints, using tools effectively, and being intentional.

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