Putting people first when managing hybrid teams

We know constant change is hard and managing a hybrid team is something else to navigate. So, to help, we’ve pulled together six things to pay attention to when it comes to putting your people first.

Firstly, let’s start by defining what we mean when we refer to a ‘hybrid team’ – we’re talking about a team made up of employees some of whom work remotely and some from a central office location.

Now, why is it important to put the people that make up your hybrid team first? Well, It’s nothing new. Leaders/managers valuing their people – demonstrating empathy and understanding has always been a good thing. Not only because it’s “nice to be nice” but also because it makes business sense. An article by Forbes titled ‘The Power of Putting People First’ states, people centric companies understand that “when people feel valued and cared for, they do their work with stronger intrinsic motivation, a deeper sense of meaning, and a greater level of engagement.” Really, it’s good all around.

Over the past year, we’ve become accustomed to prioritising people, from checking in on our elderly neighbours (the ones we’d previously never spoken to!), to asking if colleagues with young children/ dependants need our help. We’ve all got much better at seeing each other as human beings with messy, complicated…human lives.

As the pandemic becomes an image in our rear-view mirror and we enter a new way of working, that for some, means a return to ‘old ways’. Now is the time for those of you managing hybrid teams, to remember that one thing remains very much the same, your team is made up of real people with real lives.

Six tips to help you put your people first

1. Flexibility

Try and be flexible with regards to when and where your people work to get the most out of them. When managing hybrid teams a flexible approach can really help people be their most productive selves. Speak to each one of your employees about their preferences and how you can work together to find a balance. You don’t need to be infinitely flexible and say yes to every request – it’s about having the conversation and working together to find the solution.

2. Connection

An article by the BBC includes research which says, “employee happiness depends on social interactions”. As a manager of a hybrid team, do your bit to make sure your team members are connected and can strengthen their relationships. Why not consider, buddying in-office and at home workers up or scheduling team meetings with social oriented agendas?

3. Development

Since hybrid working hit the agenda, the impact this might have on the development of employees has been widely discussed, with concerns around in-office workers being subject to more opportunities than their remote colleagues. As a leader /manager of a hybrid team, it’s your responsibility to ensure employees, regardless of where they’re based, receive clear, structured, and fair development opportunities. Consider the approach that best suits the individual whether that be virtual, face to face or hybrid learning. Consider your managerial style and effectiveness in supporting hybrid teams when it comes to goal setting and support to achieve these. Use feedback as a tool to check-in on each member of your team, ask them how they feel about the level of support and structure they’re currently receiving with regards to their development and what could be done differently? This will allow you the opportunity to reflect and make critical amends to how you manage your hybrid team.

4. Mental health

Firstly, has your company made long term, sustainable changes to ensure the mental health and wellbeing of employees? Are any of the following in place?

  • Mental health policy/strategy?
  • Mental health first aiders/champions?
  • Formal mental health and wellbeing training for managers?
  • Benefits associated with promoting mental health?

Employees whether home or office based should have access to the necessary tools and resources available.

5. Workstation set up

As part of managing your hybrid team, are you ensuring they’re working safely? With regards to remote workers, do you know that UK employers have a legal obligation to carry out DSE training and assessment applying to the home work station of both part-time and full-time staff?

Such checks ensure people are working safely with display screen equipment. How far are you going to ensure they have the right equipment in place? With regards to your in-office employees – it’s worth asking them how they feel about the current office set up in relation to Covid safety measures, aligned to your Covid risk assessment. Yes, legal requirements have relaxed, but they may feel more comfortable with protective measures remaining for now.

6. Diversity

Put your people first by exploring ways to create a more diverse team environment. Hybrid working makes it easier for you to benefit from a more diverse workforce. Remote working might make your vacancy attractive to excellent candidates who have care responsibilities or disabilities/ other reasons for not wanting to work from your office. It also opens the opportunity up to those who aren’t physically close and can’t manageably commute to the office. Does your recruitment encourage applications from everyone that it could?

If you’d like to speak to a member of the People Business Team about leadership coaching, return to work procedures or would like information about our mental health audit, the get in touch!