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3 new rules for leading a hybrid team in 2023

Shivangi Gautam

Last Updated: 1 February 2023

In this article:

Goals for the Year 2015: Build high-performance teams, a winning culture and boost engagement.

Goals for the Year 2022: Build high-performance teams even if they’re not together in-person all days of the week.

Does that sound like an HR strategy you’re gunning for? We’re here to tell you, our friends, that you’re on the absolute right track. If the last two years taught us anything, it’s to unlearn conventional people-strategies and bend the rules whenever you could. Will that be a smooth transition? - working from the office to working from home and now working partly from office and home - Maybe not. Is it inevitable to prepare for a hybrid model of working? Yes, without a doubt.

While hybrid is often presented as a new model, the fundamentals of what transforms a group of people into an exceptional team haven’t changed as much as we might think. About one in five Americans already worked remotely before the pandemic. Hybrid (in-office and remote) teams are not a new reality, but they are certainly a growing trend. Google has been ranked the best place to work eight times in the US. Google is also one of the few employers who allowed flexible working for their employees - of course it wasn’t called hybrid then. A market leader like Google has already paved the way for new-age employers to adjust to the new norms of working - one that works for leaders and their teams. 

We’ve compiled a list of new rules that leaders can apply to build great teams, even when those teams are working out of different physical locations.

1. Trust more than you can

Teams that succeed and fail at building a hybrid culture are separated by one factor: employee trust. Research shows that teams that index the highest on trust and psychological safety are 40% more productive than those who are low on these areas. 

We read these stats, we imbibed it. And for the first time ever, the entire team at inFeedo kickstarted work from home since the early days of the pandemic. Unsurprisingly, this was a welcome change by employees who wished to spend more time with their family and doing things they love, and less time travelling for hours.. It was an uncomfortable move initially but trusting our people to work from wherever they are, was one of the most liberating decisions we took. 

Your goal as a leader is to enable your team’s best work. Here are a few 1:1 questions you can ask your team members to build psychological safety:

  • How can I better support you?
  • How can we improve the way our team works together?
  • Do you have any questions that, if answered, would help you in your day-to-day?
  • What’s something you’d like to share but is a little stressful to bring up in person?
  • What’s a problem we have on our team that I might now know about?

2. Ensure each member has the right tools

For your remote and hybrid teams, consider providing specific needs for each employee that goes beyond WiFi, headsets and a working desk. According to the Pew Research Center, millennials (those currently between ages 22-37) make up 35% of the U.S. labor force, making them the largest group represented. And what do millennials love more than their tech paraphernalia? More devices. 

While each employee has individual needs, here are some generic and useful wfh tools you can opt for immediately if you haven’t yet.

  • Zoom for video conferencing software
  • Amber for expert employee engagament
  • Calendly for scheduling meetings
  • Slack for team communication and messaging
  • Google Suite for documents, files, and shared folders

3. Emphasize clarity

Autonomy can sometimes make way for confusion. To ensure all members are aligned on the hybrid working style, it’s imperative to lay down ground rules. Involve your team members when you take important decisions like when to come to work. Set clear priorities and objectives so that everyone on your team focuses on what’s most important. Daily stand-up meetings are a must for most collaborative teams, but they are even more critical when they are not co-located. 

While ground rules help individuals gain clarity in unprecedented times, avoid being rigid about them. Employees are under deep stress in these unpredictable times.

Hybrid teams are here to stay

As these times bring discomfort, it’ll be a great reminder that the global workforce is on the brink of a major disruption. The world may not be the same after the whole hullabaloo as we make a major shift from the physical office model to the hybrid model. We’re all learning as we go, but we know two things for sure: flexible work is here to stay, and the talent landscape has fundamentally shifted. Here’s hoping 2023 brings in the much-needed energy all leaders need to lead in the most empathetic and efficient way. 

Need a Chief Listening Officer to lead your hybrid teams the right way?

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