If you read our last blog about cultivating your hybrid culture (and you should read it, it’s really good. I promise), you’ll know what hybrid culture is, why it’s essential, and how you can create one in your organization.
The next step is to grow your hybrid culture in a way that empowers and enables everyone in your organization.
This blog explains the difference between a hybrid culture where people feel empowered and motivated and one where they feel isolated and disconnected. More importantly, we cover how you can ensure your organization lands firmly in the first category.
Growing Your Hybrid Culture
Communication is core
Communication and connection are undoubtedly one of the biggest challenges of working in a hybrid environment.
Try the following to keep communication channels open:
Give regular feedback
Ensure everyone is aware, accountable, and recognized for their work by giving regular feedback. This can promote ownership of their role, give them a chance to improve where they’re lacking and celebrate them for a job well done. Feedback can go both ways, too. Those in management positions should seek feedback from their employees.
Transparency plays a key role in ensuring an organization’s communication culture is healthy. While this can look different across different teams, you can always spot some common themes.
Review how decisions are made. Is it clear for all stakeholders whether they’re at home or in person? No matter where they work, everyone should be kept up-to-date and treated fairly.
Adopt an “open-door” policy to minimize the disconnect between employees and leaders. Ensure your team feels comfortable dropping in to talk without waiting around until it’s time to give feedback.
Proactively address conflicts
The organization’s responsibility is to ensure workplace conflicts don’t fall under the radar, even in a hybrid setting. Misunderstandings are not uncommon when some people are in-office or others are at home.
So, at times, these conflicts are simply the result of miscommunication. Addressing them early and fairly can prevent disputes from leading to bigger problems down the line, such as a decrease in morale.
Connect with teammates
Whether virtual or in-person, it’s important to meet regularly and dedicate time for informal socialization. Connecting on a personal level—when you don’t talk about work but instead get to know each other—helps develop camaraderie.
When teams work together virtually, there’s little opportunity for casual conversation. Teammates don’t bump into each other at the coffee machine or go for lunch together. Unless there’s a meeting scheduled or they need help with a project, team members may not talk to each other at all. It’s not that they don’t want to, the opportunity just never arises.
This can have a devastating effect on your workplace culture. Over a long enough period, employees begin to feel siloed. Disconnected from their teammates and their work, they feel less engaged and less empowered.
Creating spaces where employees can hang out encourages connection. At Jostle, for example, each team has a weekly ‘welcome to the weekend’ session. Most of these gatherings happen online, where we play games or chat, but the occasional in-person get-together for happy hour is always great.
No accomplishment is too small. When we worked in-office, we complemented our teammates all the time. But in remote environments, people’s hard work passes by without mention. It’s not that we don’t notice. We do. There’s just rarely the right avenue for highlighting someone’s effort. It feels a little strange to personally message someone that you liked their slide deck in that meeting you sat in on. And alerting the entire company in a general Slack channel doesn’t feel quite right either.
Having a place for teammates to recognize each other’s hard work helps create a work culture where success encourages further success. It can be as simple as a dedicated chat channel or using a platform that allows teammates to recognize each other’s hard work. It’s these little moments of connection that you may intentionally lose when switching your work arrangements, and why working to cultivate your hybrid culture is so important.
There’s also a business case for team celebration and recognizing employees. Feeling appreciated and valued helps everyone feel more connected to their work, and gets them more engaged, and eager to contribute more. Your culture thrives and people feel a sense of belonging.
Maintaining your hybrid culture
Successful hybrid culture is rooted in communication and flexibility. Everyone within the company should be able to work in the environment they feel most comfortable and productive. Clear guidelines around communication should be established. People should know when to schedule meetings, where to message teammates about projects, and when to expect a reply.
Communication extends to unstructured chats and team meet-ups–open spaces where people can come together and connect or celebrate each other's successes. People need to connect with their teams and teams need to connect to their broader purpose within the company. That’s how you engage and empower each other. If you keep these concepts in mind, you’re well on your way to developing a hybrid culture that your team will love.
Help everyone feel more successful at work. Anywhere, anytime.