A hybrid workforce is one where a certain number of employees work from the office or a central location while other employees work remotely, usually from their home. The hybrid workforce model is becoming increasingly popular both with employers and employees alike.
A hybrid workforce, when done right, allows employers to save money on office space and other amenities while strengthening company culture and employee cohesion. But more importantly, without the option of remote work, it is unlikely employers would be able to attract the top talent in their field as more and more skilled workers are preferring that option.
In order to get the best of both worlds, it is important to develop a clear hiring strategy, be transparent about the strategy and what it aims to achieve, and be prepared to make changes and amendments to the strategy as new data comes in.
Prioritize Communication Skills and Adaptability in Your Hiring
It might be difficult to know where your specific needs will be and what skill sets are going to be important to you one year, two years, or even six months down the line. However, you can be certain that whatever direction your company goes in, whatever changes and fluctuations occur in the market, communication and adaptability will always be high value assets.
Consumer behavior and the market itself are changing at an ever increasing rate. In order to meet these challenges, head-on employers are placing an emphasis on soft-skills more so than technical know-how. For a comprehensive list, check out this article on top skills employers look for in employees.
Offer Flexibility and Choice
In order to attract top-level talent, it is important that you offer your current and prospective employees flexibility and choice. For workers who essentially work from the office, let them have a day or two a week where they work from home – or at least give them the option. This could eliminate any potential resentment office workers may have toward remote employees. This kind of resentment is not often expressed but can manifest in other ways.
By giving everyone a choice or having them do a combination of office days and remote days, you have effectively eliminated the possibility of the toxic element of resentment from contaminating your team.
Not All Employees Make for Successful Remote Employees
Remote work has its benefits – no wasted time on a long commute, more control over the work environment, etc. – however, it also comes with its specific challenges. Not everyone has the constitution or the character traits that allow them to become successful remote employees.
Naturally, during the hiring practice, you will want to favor candidates who have already demonstrated success working remotely. Beyond that, working remotely requires a certain comfort level with technology: collaborative platforms, virtual workspaces, etc. Generally speaking, a successful remote employee is one who has demonstrated the ability to learn and adapt to new software and new platforms easily.
Be Vigilant Concerning Division and Workplace Politics
For as long as there have been workplaces, there have been workplace politics. In a nutshell, workplace politics involves employees or team members taking actions or adopting behaviors that are not in the best interest of the company but rather that serve to advance their own agenda.
Common examples of workplace politics include:
- Gossiping and spreading rumors about colleagues
- Taking an undeserved amount of credit instead of celebrating the achievements of the team
- Using excessive flattery to replace merit in regard to advancement or promotion
- The forming of cliques in an effort to leverage or solidify one’s position in the company
In a hybrid work environment, the temptation to engage in workplace politics can be even greater than in a traditional office environment. There is already a natural division among employees – those who work from the office and those who work remotely. This division can be mitigated by having office employees also take occasional remote days.
Furthermore, it is easy for remote employees to fall victim to workplace politics – to be leveraged against or excluded from a clique – due to their physical absence. This temptation, also, can be mitigated by conducting regular virtual meetings that include all members of the team. The meetings don’t have to be long, but they should be regular and allow all team members the chance to be seen and heard.
In today’s employment market, it is almost obligatory to offer at least some positions to remote workers. This comes with certain advantages, but it does require a bit more vigilance, organization, and forethought to ensure that the employees still function as a cohesive and collaborative team.
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