Hybrid and remote teams bring a wealth of possibilities to organisations. With the ability to tap into a diverse pool of skilled talent and cut down on operational expenses, companies can reap the rewards of a global workforce. At the same time, employees benefit from a better work-life balance, leading to an increase in productivity and revenue.
However, managing hybrid and remote teams can also pose challenges. Managers may struggle with questions such as how to maintain productivity, how to increase employee engagement and satisfaction, how to foster a sense of company culture in a remote setting, and how to adapt to the employee-centred approach to work in the post-Covid workplace. But with the right strategies and tools, these challenges can be overcome, and organisations can thrive in this new hybrid work environment.
Strategies for Engaging Hybrid/Remote Teams
Before COVID-19, employers had no reason to worry about collaborating, socialising, or learning outside of a physical office, since remote work was something only a minority of the workforce enjoyed. Now, the hybrid workplace is referred to as “the future of work”. Therefore, if you want to stay ahead of the competition in today’s business world and optimise your workforce’s productivity, understanding how to engage hybrid/remote teams is crucial.
Here are 5 ways to improve social cohesion, build stronger work relationships, and create a more robust corporate culture for hybrid/remote teams:
Encourage meaningful communication and social interaction through virtual and physical events
Remote work gives room for speculation and panic. It has the potential to breed rumours and harbour resentments. Hosting periodic virtual get-togethers and physical hangouts among colleagues in proximity; providing gift cards or tickets where employees can shop together, or pairing people of similar interests together for an event can close the gap and reduce speculation that a remote work setting brings.
Be crystal clear on shared goals, processes and deliverables
To compensate for the lack of a physical presence, you’ll need to be crystal clear on processes, goals and deliverables. Everybody should know what they’re working towards, have a shared mindset and vision, and understand their individual impact on organisational strategic goals.
Since a lot of information at companies gets circulated through chats and banters across teams and colleagues, remote employees can easily get left out of the loop and feel disconnected, hence it is crucial that you keep employees updated on projects, progress, and company news. Instead of badgering remote employees to complete a task, set down a system where everyone is accountable for their own goals.
Show vulnerability, humanity and transparency to build an emotional connection
Managers may find it challenging to demonstrate vulnerability, humanity, and transparency, as it may make them feel exposed or appear weak to their colleagues. However, research has shown that authenticity and vulnerability are not weaknesses, but strengths. By being open and transparent, managers can create a deeper emotional connection with their employees and foster a sense of community and purpose within the team.
Your employees don’t want to just connect with a brand or a company, they want to connect with another human being. Being open and transparent can build a deeper connection with your employees and create a stronger, more engaged team. Embrace your vulnerability and humanity, and watch as your team thrives in a more authentic and connected work environment.
Celebrate strengths and empathise with limitations through employee recognition
One easy way to create engaged teams is to prioritise employee recognition. Celebrating the strengths of each individual team member allows everybody to contribute their best work. Everyone can give their best work when each team member is recognised for their unique contributions, whether achieving a group goal, getting an excellent review or bringing on a new client. Even when your team members aren’t physically in the same place, you’ll foster a team spirit and get the best performance from them.
Empathising with limitations earns you loyalty and hard work, although it requires time and effort. Regular recognition helps employees feel connected, appreciated, and valued. (Read: how to retain top talent in your organisation)
Focus on goals, not time
Goals and results are the new measures of employee productivity. Most managers don’t know how to delegate and empower virtual teams effectively without micromanaging them. Getting everyone in the same collaboration tool, like Trello and Basecamps can give you an eagle-eye view of the status of everything your team is working on.
Establish clear communication guidelines and structures that enable employees to share updates, daily/weekly reports, progress, and challenges while focusing more on the big picture than the little details.
Trust as a Foundational Element
Trust is the foundation upon which successful hybrid and remote teams are built. When employees feel they can trust their managers and colleagues, they are empowered to take ownership of their work and are more engaged in their roles. This is particularly important for hybrid and remote teams, who may not have the same day-to-day interaction as in-person teams.
Creating a safe space for your hybrid team to exchange thoughts and ideas without fear can help build trust and alleviate anxiety and insecurity about their jobs. By fostering trust among your hybrid/remote team, you’ll see increased productivity and engagement.
At Career Masterclass, we understand the importance of trust in building successful hybrid and remote teams. As a leading career growth platform, we offer a wide range of solutions to help companies attract, develop, and retain diverse talent within their organisations. If you’re interested in learning more, click HERE to book a call and talk to our team. Together, we can help your organisation thrive in today’s hybrid work environment.