Fact: Hiring hybrid employees is more common now than it was pre-pandemic.
Fact: 59% of workers prefer a hybrid model
Fact: In 2019, 60% of the workforce was fully on-site. In 2022 and beyond, that figure is 23%.
So, today, we’re going to take a look at best practices for hiring hybrid employees. While we can attribute the workplace shifts to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent widespread shut-downs, the reality is that this is a shift that has been in the making for years. Not only is a hybrid model preferred by many employees, but it can also boost productivity, efficiency, engagement, and retention. At the same time, however, running a hybrid work environment can be a significant challenge.
But it is one that we must take on – and that we can win for the betterment of companies and employees alike. How? Good question.
Managing and Hiring Hybrid Employees
According to Gallup: “Failing to offer flexible work arrangements is a significant risk to an organization’s hiring, employee engagement, performance, wellbeing and retention strategies.”
In other words, making fundamental shifts in the workplace environment may be difficult, challenging, uncomfortable… and all of the above… It is a step that we need to take in order to compete not only for talent but in the broader marketplace.
That said, how do you do it?
Managing Your Hybrid Team
The most important step is to get managers and supervisors on board with the hybrid work environment. If they feel they need to micromanage, watch over shoulders, and hawkeye the clock, then they may find themselves at a loss. When everyone is rowing in the same direction, so to speak, it makes it far easier to operate with greater flexibility. That said, it is important that organizations:
Establish Clear Goals
Remember, the goal is getting deliverables done and work completed on time. While some industries run on a typical 9:00-5:00 or 8:00-4:00 Monday – Friday, and remote workers need to be online and present to accommodate workload and client demand, others are more flexible. See where your organization fits.
If, for example, there is a client meeting at 10:00 Monday and then a report due Tuesday at 3:00, then it should not matter if the employee tasked with these takes their kids to school, does the laundry, handles the meeting, has lunch, goes to a community event, then powers out the report Monday evening to review Tuesday morning for delivery.
Give your people clear goals and expectations that they can work towards. Making them guess or assume is the very worst way to handle this situation.
Implement a Hybrid Work Policy
Again: don’t make them guess, assume, worry, or wonder. A clear policy provides a useful roadmap for both managers/supervisors and employees as they navigate their hybrid work environment. A policy will include language as to how many hours people can work remotely, how much they have to be in the office and when, and relevant protocols for working from home.
You Cannot Over-Communicate
This is true in any workplace, but it is even more critical in a hybrid model. It is essential that office staff, remote staff, and hybrid teams stay connected – no matter where they happen to be at any given time. Besides secure devices and team working solutions, you need communication tools that empower your people to stay connected, check in, report, and receive real-time feedback.
Connect – Intentionally
A hybrid workplace can take many different forms. But no matter what yours looks like, it is essential that you create opportunities for team members to meet, greet, mingle, and make connections with one another. This could be as simple as earmarking a regular day where everyone is in the office and having lunch together. It could be organizing a volunteer day in your community for a nonprofit that matters to your employees. It could be a barbeque, party, gathering, etc. Whatever it is, make sure people have the chance to get together.
Hiring Hybrid Employees
Hiring practices must also account for the evolution of the workplace environment. Because flexibility is in such high demand, particularly among younger generations, it is important to highlight this as a key differentiator. As well:
Hire with Particular Skills In Mind
Today, it’s not about just doing the tasks that fall under a specific job description. To hire hybrid employees successfully, they need to own the skills that lead to success, including:
- Facility with technology. They need to be digital natives – or at least speak digital as fluently as a second language!
- Self-directed. Folks who work remotely at least part of the time must have the ability to be self-starters and self-motivated. There is no one there looking over their shoulder or prompting them, so they need an internal manager to keep them on track.
- Priority-setting. This may be a “soft skill” but it is essential for a successful hybrid situation. Team members need to be able to prioritize tasks in order to meet deliverables on time and to expectations.
- Communication. Hybrid workers need to be strong communicators, even if the main route is email, text, or video chats. There can be a lot lost in translation over digital channels, so the ability to be clear, concise, and respectful is always critical.
Emphasize Company Culture
Again, your willingness to flex is a differentiator that can set you apart from other companies vying for the same talent. Highlight your hybrid workplace environment options and benefits, emphasizing employee wellbeing and satisfaction. Then, of course, back it up with excellent onboarding and ongoing support for new hires.
Integrate New Hires
It can be isolating not only being new but also being away from the office for some/most of the time. Make sure everyone, especially a new hire, is integrated into a cohesive team. How you do that can vary – from the get-together tips we mentioned to inviting them in for a day to simply meet and greet their colleagues. Having a point of contact (e.g. their manager) check in regularly is also essential so they do not feel “other.” It is imperative that they feel like part of the time – and are valued as such.
Provide Flexible Options
Companies must support hybrid employees just as they do onsite people. One way to do this is to provide an optimal workplace environment when needed. Working from home can be distracting and isolating; accessing professional coworking or private office space, however, can lead to greater productivity and satisfaction, not to mention giving employees the social aspect of work that may be missing in some hybrid situations.
Office Evolution has been at the forefront of the workplace revolution since day one. Our solutions are designed to give both employees and employers the flexibility they need to work optimally. Contact us to learn more about our inclusive workspace options and how they can help you adapt and thrive in the hybrid world.