The Art of Managing Hybrid Teams for Busy Managers
SVP Professional Services, NWN Carousel
Four Key Steps: Analyze, Plan, Manage, and Evaluate for Optimal Results
It’s no surprise that the majority of employees now divide their work time between remote locations and the traditional office setting. What is a bit alarming is that Gartner forecasts as much as 39% of global knowledge workers will be hybrid by the end of 2023.
While this model offers flexibility and increased productivity, it also presents unique challenges for managers and team members.
I’ve spent much of my career coaching busy leaders on How to Manage a Hybrid Team in the New Workplace providing valuable insights on how to manage a hybrid team effectively.
Analysis, Planning, Management, and Evaluation
Through my research, and in speaking with customers, I’ve identified common challenges that managers may face when implementing a distributed team. I’ve also gained invaluable tips on how to assess whether a hybrid work model is suitable for your team.
In the planning stage, you need to first create a successful hybrid work plan. You must emphasize the importance of clear communication and collaboration among team members and provide guidance on how to set expectations for remote workers.
Tip #1: Focus on Your Employees
When analyzing your team, pay special attention to your team members’ needs. Inclusion and fairness are critically important to the success of a hybrid model.
Although any hybrid arrangement is ultimately based on the needs of the business, make sure you listen to your employees. And although you will probably not be able to address every team member’s requirements, the fact that you make them feel heard is what counts. Finally, try to be open and transparent throughout the hybrid work planning exercise.
Tip #2: Address Personal Needs
Factor in your team’s current location versus their future potential location as well. Some employees might not want to stay where they currently live and could have plans to move to a different city or country. Understanding all these personal needs will help with your office planning strategy.
It’s important to note that you should be cognizant of all your company policies and local laws before asking your employees about their personal challenges and plans. In some situations, you might be prohibited from asking about specific types of information because you could violate privacy laws or policies. So, check with your organization’s human resources and legal departments first.
Tip #3: Address Career Needs
You also want to look at your team members’ different career needs and requirements from a hybrid perspective. Some people would prefer more remote work, and others might prefer more on-site work. Employees appreciate being included in the decision-making process and want to feel like they’re part of the journey.
At NWN Carousel, we have a policy of “Make Moments that Matter” meaning each team leader will decide what’s best for their employees in order to establish good working relationships and achieve focused work. We always encourage getting together to collaborate in person when possible or make virtual moments matter with genuine communication.
Tip #4: Conduct Assessments
Finally, conduct employee perspective analysis assessments by leveraging team surveys and one-on-one discussions. For your surveys, consider when to use anonymous versus non-anonymous surveys. Again, make sure you work within the constraints of company policies and local laws to avoid any privacy violations.
At NWN Carousel, our Chief People Officer, Andrea Morrison, and her team have developed a Cultural Values Program that prioritizes the establishment of an inclusive Hybrid Work environment, anchored in the core values of Customer-Focus, Accountability, Teamwork, Innovation, and Integrity. We also regularly have internal surveys to assess the effectiveness of a group’s communications.
When you’re done with planning your hybrid work arrangement, share the options and plans with your team (or people managers if you have a large team) to gather feedback. Focus on transparency and openness throughout this process. Prioritizing those discussions will help keep everyone in the loop and increase trust among your team members.
Explain that this will be a learning process and that there might be challenges along the way. There’s a high chance that you will not address everyone’s needs, and explaining this upfront will help manage expectations and minimize disappointment.
It’s all about strategies for building trust among team members, managing conflicts, and providing feedback.
How can digital tools assist in transitioning work from on-site to hybrid models? For instance, a customer of NWN Carousel encountered a situation where safety inspection engineers, who previously traveled for on-site assessments, devised remote solutions.
They used advanced Visual Collaboration tools and secure inspection devices to assess sites remotely. That not only helped them continue to do their job, but it also helped improve effectiveness. So instead of completing two site inspections per week due to travel time, they can now complete four remotely (and only travel on-site when they absolutely need to for complex cases).
Evaluation Strategy for Measurement
Finally, in the evaluation part of your journey, you must measure the success of your hybrid work arrangement. Use metrics such as productivity levels and employee satisfaction surveys to evaluate whether your team is meeting its goals.
It is no secret that enabling a seamless hybrid work experience for employees and customers is a competitive advantage for organizations. A recent survey conducted by Enterprise Strategy Group proves that companies that perform well on employee and customer engagement metrics directly result in greater overall retention and drive profit.
1. Hybrid work models offer flexibility and increased productivity but require careful planning and management.
2. Clear communication is essential for success in a hybrid work environment.
3. Building trust among team members is crucial for effective collaboration.
4. Measuring success requires setting clear goals and using metrics such as productivity levels and employee satisfaction surveys.
You must have a sound Hybrid Work Plan in place for navigating the challenges of a distributed workforce. By following a process for analysis, planning, management, and evaluation, you can create a successful hybrid work arrangement that enhances the employee and employer journey.
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