The new rules of engagement for high-performing hybrid teams

A company becomes a community when you break down silos and empower people to work together. But it is also what happens when people feel like they belong. This is even more important for hybrid teams. Whether they are working in a manufacturing role on the frontline, in corporate HQ or from a home office, the most engaged employees are the ones who share the same purpose and values, no matter how different their individual roles are, writes Vicky Skipp, Head of APAC, Workplace from Facebook

The global pandemic has catapulted us into a new era in which hybrid workforces – a mix of office, remote and frontline employees – will be the norm. The question for HR, comms and IT leaders is how to ensure that these hybrid teams become (or remain) high-performing teams.

Focusing on employee experience (EX) is an absolute must. EX is a whole series of actions, techniques, and strategies which, taken together, help employees create deeper connections with their work, their colleagues, and the organisation itself. That, in turn, helps improve company-wide performance – because when people feel better at work, they do better at work.

Driving EX is a long-term effort. But fast-moving businesses are already getting started by focusing on the new rules of engagement. They are using these rules to create connections across their business, and to bring employee experience to life, by empowering leaders to talk, listen and connect with their hybrid teams.

Organisations need a way to ensure that every employee feels seen, heard and valued. Bringing people together on a single platform can be an effective way to do that – especially when it is difficult to come together in person.

Create more efficient employee communication
When it comes to EX, making sure the right people can get the right information no matter where they work or what they do is critical – especially during periods of uncertainty. This communication should be as transparent as possible. Employees will understand if you do not have all the answers, but they will expect you to show up consistently and authentically.

The most effective communication is fast, networked and breaks down silos. With a hybrid workforce, it is even more important that you listen to people and act on feedback, wherever it comes from, so you can provide better customer experiences or improve productivity.

An effective communication platform integrates seamlessly with the rest of your business tools, and can be accessed by everyone, whether they are in the office, on the frontline or working from home, so every employee feels like they have a voice. Hosting company or department-wide meetings via live video is another easy, out-of-the-box solution, using nothing more than a laptop (or even just a phone) – so you do not need a tech team on hand to get started. Using features like live Q&A and automatic captions, leaders can see and address comments or questions in real-time.

Build community
A company becomes a community when you break down silos and empower people to work together. But it is also what happens when people feel like they belong. This is even more important for hybrid teams. Whether they are working in a manufacturing role on the frontline, in corporate HQ or from a home office, the most engaged employees are the ones who share the same purpose and values, no matter how different their individual roles are. They also share the same trust in their leaders to exemplify those values.

Diversity and inclusion (D&I) also plays a major role in building community. Talking about D&I as a company is a start, but actions matter more than words. Organisations need a way to ensure that every employee feels seen, heard and valued. Bringing people together on a single platform can be an effective way to do that – especially when it is difficult to come together in person.

Create secure, shared virtual groups where employees can come together to work on projects or take part in conversations. They are a great way to make sure the right people see important announcements, but they can also be used for file sharing with internal or external teams, as well as for strengthening culture.

The global pandemic has catapulted us into a new era in which hybrid workforces – a mix of office, remote and frontline employees – will be the norm.

Put wellbeing first 
Seventy-eight per cent of workers say the global pandemic has affected their mental health. At the same time, our physical wellbeing has been impacted as we have adjusted to the new rhythms of work, including when and how to establish boundaries between ‘home’ and ‘office’ life.

Organisations can play their part by investing in wellness programs and toolkits. These don’t have to be costly or complicated. It could be as simple as recommendations on how to set up an effective home office environment, making sure teams set aside an hour a week to connect about things unrelated to their work, or continuing to publicly recognise great impact in a world where extra effort is not as visible as it used to be. Of course, if organisations create these toolkits, it is important that people know where to find them.

Consider a central, online hub to store and share static content, including company policies and best practices around wellbeing. Invest in a tool that makes creating content simple, is customisable, easily searchable, and great to use on mobile, for frontline or remote workers to have easy access to important documents like company benefits.

There’s no time to waste. Organisations need to make good on the new rules of engagement today. With simple and intuitive tools, you can get up and running right away.

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