Hybrid work has been positioned as one of the main value proposals of those companies that want to stand out from the competition, attract the best-qualified talent and retain their workforce. However, many organizations are reluctant to implement this flexible working model due to a concern they all have in common: is it possible to maintain teams engaged if they don’t work in person every day?
The answer to this question is: it depends.
If what we want is to maintain the engagement to a new work paradigm by applying the same talent management strategies that we have done so far, we will most likely fail before those who prefer to work from home.
However, if we update our engagement strategy to fit the reality of what today’s employees demand, then there should be no problem.
Why do companies need to implement the hybrid model in talent management?
Two years ago, Covid-19 shook the world. To prevent the effects of the pandemic, most companies chose to establish remote work as the normal model until the wave of infections subsided.
But what was supposed to be a temporary measure turned into a before and after for the world of organizations.
The change is so hard, that there are those who say that talent management will never be the same.
Remote work showed all the benefits it can bring to companies:
- Best work-life balance.
- Greater schedule flexibility.
- There are fewer distractions and employees become more productive.
- Reduction of expenses derived from travel-work.
- Fosters the sustainability of the planet.
However, it also revealed some handicaps: a tendency to isolation, lack of socialization and increased stress.
So what do employees want? The best of both worlds: combining home working with face-to-face work.
According to a Microsoft survey, 73% of workers want a flexible remote work, but at the same time, 67% of them also want a more in-person job that gives them the opportunity to interact with their peers.
Faced with this situation, companies must seek balance and that balance is called Hybrid Work Model.
How to manage employee engagement within a hybrid work model
The great challenge for companies that want to implement a flexible work model is to keep their workforce connected and engaged with the corporate culture.
But for this, the first thing is to understand that the application of this framework goes beyond changing schedules.
Managing a hybrid team requires a totally different approach than what is needed in person. And, just like leadership strategies, employee engagement strategies also need to be modified and updated to adapt to this new scenario.
Therefore, here are 5 tips you should keep in mind when managing talent in a hybrid work environment without compromising engagement.
1. Make corporate goals a priority
In any work model, aligning the personal objectives of the employees with those of the organization fosters engagement: it makes them understand what their role is and how they fit in the company.
This fact becomes even more important when it comes to a hybrid model. The high level of autonomy that working from home implies means that employees need to know what the company’s objectives are in order to be responsible for making their own strategic decisions.
When employees know what to do and how to do it, they are more productive and generate results without the need to be in the office every day.
2. Empower communication
One of the things that the pandemic crisis demonstrated was the importance of a good communication.
Not seeing employees while they are working from home can make us lose sight of their presence. But we cannot forget about them.
To avoid isolation and continue to keep them connected with the organization, it is essential to enhance communication, not only to ask how the projects are progressing or if all the pending tasks have been carried out, but also to know how they feel and if they have any concern or problem that we can help them with.
Software that allows you to hear the voice of your employees will help you maintain communication with everyone in the organization, and you’ll be able to identify when engagement is starting to fail before it’s too late.
3. Encourage Team Building activities
Before, when everything was face-to-face and employees saw each other every day, cohesion was taken for granted. In a hybrid environment, part of the work schedule is done from home and this union could suffer.
In order not to lose this bond, Team Building is a good resource: it serves to strengthen affective ties and boost the feeling of belonging to a team, two factors that improve employee engagement.
Currently you have the possibility to choose face-to-face activities, digital events, or a mixture of both! In any case, the participation of everyone is recommended, both those who work from the office and those who work from home so that no one feels displaced and disconnected from the organization.
4. Flexible training and development
When working in a hybrid environment you have to make sure that everyone can access the necessary resources to drive their development.
In this sense, it is good to have cloud training tools that facilitate equal opportunities, both for those who work from home and those who prefer to be at work in person.
Regarding professional development based on support and accompaniment, you may think that being a remote leader can hinder the growth of employees. However, new technologies allow an approach that is just as effective as face-to-face.
For example, you can use the webcam to see your collaborators during meetings or use the shared screen options of platforms such as Microsoft Teams to show how a task is executed and resolve doubts in the same way as if you were next to your team.
5. Beware of biases
As the leader of a hybrid team, you can have a tendency to unconsciously favor the people you see most often around the workspace.
This is because the people we see around the office seem more accessible and easier to remember, so when it comes to sharing projects we can benefit some employees more than others.
To avoid this situation, it is important to develop mechanisms that allow you a fair distribution of responsibilities and that anyone, both those who work remotely and those who do not, can have the same opportunities within the organization.