11 Jun Advice for Leading Your Newly-Hybrid Team
As Australia emerges from COVID-19 hibernation, business leaders will be thinking ahead about what the “new normal” might look like for their teams. Chances are, many employees will have enjoyed the flexibility, lack of a commute and financial benefits of working remotely, and will be eager to continue with this arrangement. Others, meanwhile, will not have been able to get back to the office fast enough!
Post-pandemic, the workplace is going to look very different and structures that embrace alternative working arrangements, such as hybrid teams, will become the norm. Depending on the organisation, a hybrid team could be comprised of a combination of remote and in-house employees or, more commonly, it could mean affording everyone (who wants it) the flexibility to come into the office some days and work the rest from home.
With the likelihood that team dynamics will be changing on a daily basis, a hybrid team requires careful management to maintain a productive culture and ensure every employee continues to perform at their best. To help you lead your newly-hybrid team, keep this advice in mind:
Whilst hybrid teams are seeing a steady rise in popularity, this setup will obviously not be practical for every organisation or team, so it’s important to consider all factors when determining your approach, including employee circumstances, business/team requirements and the size of the workforce. Sales teams, for example, generally work best in a co-located workplace, whilst IT teams can often work just as effectively from anywhere.
With this in mind, some employers may decide to embrace a hybrid structure across their business, some will manage it on a case-by-case basis and some will determine that hybrid teams are not the right fit for their needs.
Establish Expectations Early
Regardless of the size or nature of the team, you need to set clear parameters and expectations early on to maintain performance standards and ensure that both home- and office-based employees can work together productively.
Don’t forget to lay out the expectations around flexibility and balance the benefits for everyone on the team, such as by allowing those working in the office to pick their kids up from school or go to the gym during work hours.
Focus on Connectivity
Face-to-face interactions are often disrupted in a hybrid team, so you need to think about how you’ll ensure everyone feels connected and included to avoid information silos and prevent the development of a “them and us” mindset.
Facilitate opportunities for the small talk that would happen naturally if everyone worked in the same location, and be mindful of communication to ensure no-one is left out of the loop and that all employees have a clear idea of the company’s strategic direction.
Develop Fair Performance Measures
The nature of a hybrid team can make evaluating performance difficult. Leaders can fall into the trap of subconsciously focusing on the work being done in front of them over that being done remotely, so, keeping measures consistent across the workforce is key, regardless of the makeup of your hybrid team.
When evaluating performance, shift your focus from hours at desks to objectives and outcomes – after all, it’s the quality of the work that really matters. Establish fact-based measures and aim to evaluate all members by the same standards, supplementing it with regular peer feedback where appropriate to create a fuller picture.
Make Careful Hiring Decisions
The key to ensuring a hybrid team will be effective and sustainable in the long term is to be strategic about the people you add to it. When recruiting for a role, consider whether it can/will be done remotely (whether that is some or all of the time) and ensure you’re hiring for the skills that will make this possible.
Candidates who are self-motivated, results-focused, responsive and have good time-management skills will be better suited to remote working, particularly if they have prior experience with this arrangement. Above all, adaptability will ensure that, regardless of where an employee is based, they will have the soft skills they need to succeed.
Post-pandemic, hybrid teams will become the norm for many businesses, and a wise leader will ensure they’re aware of the unique dynamics of this structure and understand how to get the best from everyone, no matter where they are.
Whether you’re looking for people to work in the office, from home or a combination of the two, we can help you secure the right talent for your hybrid team. Speak to one of our specialist recruitment consultants today to discuss your options and find out about the quality Tech candidates we have available right now.