February 24, 2022
When it comes to content about teams, “hybrid” is the most oversaturated topic right now. Talent leaders and managers are inundated with hybrid how-to’s, checklists, (untested) best practices.
While there are glimmers of value in this content, the crux of the problem remains: two years into Covid, most organizations have become quite good at remote work, but have yet to master hybrid.
The challenge isn’t finding a best practice, but instead trying a range of practices, learning quickly, and iterating.
It’s no surprise that supporting hybrid teams remains top of mind for talent leaders.
As we enter the third year of the pandemic, concerns have shifted from logistics to culture. One talent leader in the oil and gas industry described the challenge as a balancing act “keeping teams focused and engaged during the pandemic and remote work, while also maintaining results in a volatile environment.”
This volatility has led to shifts in responsibility when it comes to the functioning of hybrid teams. Historically, decisions around where and when employees work were organization-wide decisions. The buck stopped with the CHRO or other senior talent leaders. During the past two years however, the buck has been passed down. Questions around where and when employees should work are now being answered by managers trying to do what’s best for their teams, leading to inconsistent experiences throughout organizations.
Most managers don’t have the resources or knowledge to make the right call for their teams, let alone the networked knowledge or common frameworks for how other managers are making these same decisions. The stress of meeting their teams’ needs is a big weight to carry, leaving managers grappling with how much flexibility and individual considerations to grant.
Hybrid managers need clarity. Help them cut through the noise and information overload. Pull together curated content, values for your organization’s hybrid experience, and a defined set of hybrid practices which can be updated overtime. This will give managers support and structure, and lessen the sense that they are inventing the hybrid experience as they go.
We also need to stop viewing the team experience as solely the responsibility of managers. Look for ways to help managers distribute ownership for hybrid practices across the team. You can help managers structure conversations with their teams to align and set them up for success as a unit. This likely will require a mix of resources, facilitators and digital solutions. Not only will shared ownership help to unburden managers, but it will unite and empower teams.
"Meaningful, lasting behavioral change is a complex process, requiring timely personalized guidance. Startups like Valence provide teams with a fabric of interactive activities that emphasize mutual feedback and allow them to learn on the job while doing the work they always do."