Since 2020, working from home has become commonplace. In fact, 53% of workers today want to work in a hybrid workplace. The hybrid workplace is here to stay, and we want to help you succeed by providing tips for retaining and attracting the best talent possible in today’s market.
We all know the benefits of remote and hybrid workplaces. Companies gain the ability to source from a bigger candidate pool and increase diversity, and hybrid employees experience greater work-life balance and less commute time.
Even though the data tells us that hybrid workplaces are continuing to gain popularity, making the switch to a hybrid workplace can be a daunting task. Specific strategies are needed to design and maintain a productive, hybrid team. Here at DISHER, we have been consulting with companies around West Michigan on how to make the transition to a hybrid environment. We are a hybrid workplace ourselves.
Keep reading to learn some of our proven tips for making a hybrid workplace fit your overall objectives as an organization.
What to Look for in a Hybrid Worker
Building a hybrid team all starts by hiring the right people. Gallup found that one bad hire is equivalent to two employees’ annual salaries. So, if you are not already—you should be investing in your recruiting strategy to ensure you are sourcing talent that will add to your brand, not take away from it. There are three key characteristics we look for in hybrid employees: the ability to work remotely, self-motivated, and flexible.
Ability to Work Remotely
The ability to work remotely is a skill. Hybrid employees will inevitably have less interaction with their teams and management. If you cannot trust someone to complete the work they are assigned, they will not make a good fit.
A productive environment to complete the work required is necessary. This does not mean an employee must have a dedicated home office, but it does mean a quiet area at home, an available co-working space, or some type of dependable location to answer calls and do focused work.
At this point, many employees around the world have worked in a remote or hybrid environment. If your organization is just starting to incorporate a hybrid strategy, consider hiring people who have worked this way already to make the transition smoother. Then, as you bring in additional talent who may not have the history of hybrid work, there is an established culture for them to join and learn from.
Another skill required of hybrid employees is the ability to remain self-motivated. Hybrid employees have less interaction with managers. This means that they will need to be able to get their work done autonomously, with little to no oversight, and employees will have to possess their own motivation to complete their work. Employees who are proactive in communicating, can address potential problems, and do not need micro-management to complete their responsibilities will make great hybrid employees.
In a hybrid work environment, employees receive all the benefits of a flexible work schedule. Mid-week personal appointments can be accommodated, kids’ schedules and pick-ups can be navigated more easily, and going for a brief walk to enjoy the sun after lunch is encouraged.
Similarly, the expectation should be clearly set from the beginning that flexibility goes both ways in a hybrid model. For example, there might be some in-person meetings, projects, or events that hybrid employees should be willing to accommodate. Perhaps you bring on a new customer or vendor who has an in-person workforce. To develop a working relationship, a hybrid worker may need to be onsite for a period of time to initiate the project and build trust.
Manage employee expectations from the beginning so they understand that flexibility is a two-way street to achieve desired outcomes.
Strategic Hiring Practices for a Hybrid Work Environment
Conduct Experiential Interviews
Your interview process is a great opportunity to learn what the candidate can do. Make sure to ask open-ended, scenario questions that require the candidate to give honest answers that reveal what they have done in prior workplaces.
You can also create real-life scenarios, as close as possible to the ones your candidate may have to face in their new position. Ask how they would handle things. Better yet, ask them to show you how they would handle it.
In a hybrid workplace, there are multiple online and digital tools that employees use. Use the interview process to vet how well the candidate can navigate various tools. For example, if you conduct two interviews, you should conduct one virtually, using the same video calling tool that you use on your team, and the other interview should be in-person. Seeing your candidate navigate various environments during the interview will provide necessary information for how they will navigate your workplace.
Set a Clear Hybrid Workplace Model
Like most organizational change, hybrid workplaces do not happen overnight. They take commitment and concentrated effort over a period of time to establish a culture and trusting environment that works. As mentioned before, setting clear expectations up front is vital for employee success.
When we were all in-person at our workplaces, there were natural opportunities for relationship building; grabbing lunch together, catching up in the break room, and carpooling to customer locations, to name a few. Working from home virtually eliminates all those informal connection points, so it is necessary to create new opportunities for connection in ways that are intentional and comfortable.
Although the frequency of management interaction will be significantly less when employees work from home, tell employees that there will still be deadlines to meet and regular check-ins to ensure quality work is being completed. Use technology to your advantage. Online tools have helped the hybrid workplace function in ways we never thought possible. Find and implement tools that allow calls, texts, video calls, scheduling, and project management to seamlessly integrate. This will make the hybrid working experience more effective and productive.
Expand Your Hiring Radius
For employers, one of the many benefits of a hybrid work environment is the ability to expand your hiring radius. You are no longer limited to a 30-mile distance from your workplace and can look for candidates with those niche skills all over the country, and possibly even the world. Once you are comfortable with your remote working structure, you can have a combination of local employees that come on-site a couple times per week and then begin hiring some who work fully remote.
If you have not figured it out by now, trust is a huge factor in a successful hybrid workplace. If you only trust your team when you can see exactly what they are doing every moment, then this model will not work. There needs to be trust between leadership and the team, and among team members.
Setting a standard of open and transparent communication from the beginning of the recruiting process is important. A culture of openness can be modeled through verbal and written expectations and the established culture of the team. Candidates will pick up from your example how well you are embracing the hybrid work model.
Set Up a Comprehensive Training Orientation
Like the hybrid interview process, training and orientation should also happen in a hybrid environment. Training can be a bit more challenging in a remote or hybrid environment because there are more tools employees need to use to complete their work.
Make sure you have a well-prepared orientation and onboarding experience complete with all the tools your new employee will be using and contact numbers if they have questions.
After orientation, maintaining regular, routine team and manager check-ins to go over projects. This will help you proactively stay ahead of potential issues instead of responding to them after they happen.
Find Perfect Candidates for Your Hybrid Workplace
The reality is that hybrid work is here to stay. To ensure you attract and retain the best talent for your organization, DISHER Talent Solutions can help navigate this journey with you.
If you need support transitioning into a hybrid workplace, or if you are struggling to find top talent to work in your hybrid workplace, reach out to us today.