With the possibility of the Indian vaccination drive completing its course by the end of this year, there’s hope for normalcy in 2022. Until then, remote and hybrid working continues. However, there seems to be an increasing need for a hybrid workforce as some business operations and functions demand it. This naturally changes the overall employee experience and the manner in which leadership needs to address this change. We’re a few months into this working style, but are you equipped to handle the new hybrid workforce for the long run?
Here’s what needs to be taken into account –
Flexibility, But With A Balance
The most remarkable thing about the hybrid model is flexibility. The power of working from anywhere, with anyone, is what saved many businesses from shutting shop during the lockdown. However, with this flexibility in the hybrid model, there needs to be a balance of which employee comes in to office when and along with who. A PwC research states that for the sake of maintaining a company culture, 68% of executives are of the belief that an employee should be in the office at least thrice a week. Identifying these clusters is not simple, and therefore leadership and HR teams must chalk out a role-specific plan that favours all, while also being cautious of the prevalent virus.
Why must a certain employee work from office on particular days? Does this employee need to collaborate with others, if yes, up to what extent? Is this employee aware of the company’s vision and his/her role in it? Are all safety measures executed smoothly to make this employee comfortable about coming to office?
What types of meetings must be held in person? Is it really necessary for the entire workforce to be present in the office at least one day a week? Should new joinees and low performing employees frequent office more often as compared to others?
These are questions employers and leaders need to have clear answers for, to prevent any disruption in the current working processes. It’s important to create a working model that gives each employee an equal share of flexibility.
Engage, Ideate And Collaborate
With employees taking turns to come into office, HR teams and leaders need to put in more effort towards keeping engagement levels high. Employees need to feel connected to each other despite working virtually. The essence of brainstorming together in a room needs to be maintained to produce the same interaction and output when ideating on a Zoom call. Impromptu breaks and casual conversations that often births creativity also need to be encouraged. Fun workshops for employees, frequent internal communication and empathetic leadership, has proved to be impactful in boosting employee engagement and productivity.
Working physically apart from each other creates a disconnect that affects one’s way of thinking and working cohesively. Therefore, it is imperative to have a clear and meaningful line of communication regularly to motivate the team.
Keep An Eye Out For Talent
One of the biggest advantages that a hybrid workforce entails, is that talent can be included from a wider pool. There are a lot of opportunities to hire candidates from different locations, people with disabilities, new mothers and single parents, to name a few sectors that encompass a broader talent pool. Not only does it create higher job satisfaction among existing employees when working with fresh talent that suits the company culture, but it also magnifies the company’s employer branding strategies.
If you wish for business to grow, your talent too needs to grow. Recruiting candidates from these sections can bring in new ideas and perspectives that can boost profits in the long run.
Good Leadership Requires More Effort
While the above highlights what employers and leaders need to do from a business point of view, a leader needs to adapt to exclusive situations to manage a hybrid workforce. This includes trusting employees to perform their duties without micromanaging, forming interpersonal relations with the team, understanding their mental well-being and instilling a sense of recognition.
To understand what more it takes to manage a hybrid workforce, our manager and leaders have something unique to say here!