The pandemic has changed the way we work. Some say it has pushed us 5-7 years into the future. The hybrid workforce is here to stay. In 2022, dealing with the challenges of managing remote and on-site workers while optimizing their culture in the new normal, needs to be a top priority. Oh yes, and to make it even more challenging, add in a tight labor market!
There are basically two types of leaders:
#1: There are those who look forward. They are adapting and aligning around what a new culture and a new way of working might look like, and how to communicate the new culture in a primarily hybrid world.
#2: There are those who look backward. They believe in order to save their culture; they need everyone back in the office. Unfortunately, too much has changed both personally and professionally. You cannot assume that your people will want to go backward and return to the same culture that existed pre-pandemic.
We are in a state of "Digital Darwinism" where culture will play a major role in the "survival of the fittest." Those who can leverage strong tools for communication, training, and collaboration to improve employee engagement and work-life balance in this hybrid work environment will be the winners.
I think it is safe to say that there is a new book being written on culture and it has moved from getting the work done to “employees-first."
Here are six keys to building an employee-first culture to optimize your hybrid workforce:
1. Survey your employees' needs and wants and compare them to perceived best practices
Have a conversation about the company culture at the top
Be mindful that your culture will shift
2. Make the “employee experience” your #1 focus
Create a systematic approach to nurturing employees and creating meaningful experiences through
i. Interaction with colleagues
ii. Onboarding, coaching, professional development, communication, etc.
3. Create that “North Star” of a shared purpose and vision
Encourage leaders to emphasize that vision and how employees can positively impact that vision over and over again
4. Create a culture of accountability and results
A warm, team-oriented culture and accountability are not mutually exclusive
Emphasize Teamwork, Teamwork, Teamwork
"Not finance. Not strategy. Not technology. It is teamwork that remains the ultimate competitive advantage, both because it is so powerful and so rare." - Patrick Lencioni
5. Adjust, align, and adapt your employer brand
It's how you communicate your identity to both potential and current employees so make sure it is authentic
6. Provide regular opportunities to meet in person
Because so much of communication is experienced through nonverbal cues, it’s important to be able to meet in person.
In a recent DDI report, only 20% of leaders rated themselves as “very effective” at leading virtual teams.* As a top leadership and coaching company, we’ve helped hundreds of companies and their leaders confidently manage a hybrid workforce and develop their future leaders in the process. Our Leadership Effectiveness training strengthens skills to engage employees, communicate with clarity and inclusiveness, and build high performing teams whether virtual or onsite. If you’re a forward-looking leader, we look forward to hearing from you.
*DDI Global Leadership Forecast 2021