Leadership Simplified: Doug Van Dyke


Effectively Leading a Hybrid Workforce

Volume: June 2022

The hybrid work world is here. But, of course, you already know this. If there are any detractors who doubt that a distributed workforce is the new norm, consider this: A recent Wall Street Journal Article stated that less that 4% of organizations will be going back to work totally onsite. With this in mind, it becomes imperative that leaders are adept at leading a remote workforce that will be offsite a large percent of the time. Savvy leaders will be keeping the following areas in the forefront of their minds.  

  1. Master the Basics. The blocking and tackling of leading hybrid workers is to ensure that while working remotely team members have the proper technology setup, security protocols, and professional atmosphere. Instrumental in maximizing their productivity is to make certain their offsite workspace is ergonomically terrific. If remote workers are sore by the end of the day or develop carpal tunnel, their productivity and job satisfaction will plummet.

  2. Minimize the Big Quit. Aside from a large pop in pay, two of the core reasons team members leave organizations has to do with not feeling valued or possessing a sense of belonging. Some questions to ask yourself are: 1. Do our people feel valued by our organization? If so, why? 2. Do our people feel valued by their direct leader? 3. Do our people feel like they belong here? Especially in young workers, a sense of belonging coupled with a strong community connection are the catalysts that keep them with your organization.  

  3. Nurture the Culture. While conducting one-on-one interviews with CEOs on the topic of culture, something became very clear to me: Not once was co-location mentioned as essential to their culture. Based on my findings, it’s fair to say that a strong culture is not dependent upon every team member being onsite. Yet, a healthy culture is essential for an organization to thrive. For leaders to support and grow a healthy work culture, they should be laser focused on the following:
    • Leading by values
    • Sharing & reinforcing a meaningful vision
    • Ensuring a positive work environment 
    • Recognition and awards programs
    • Training & development

  1. Make Your Communication Sticky. Remember: Just because you speak or send an email does not mean that communication has taken place. A huge part of effective leadership is ensuring that two-way communication has occurred. If we send an email, it needs to be succinct and targeted. Using a long-tail subject line can make certain team members open your email more quickly. Also, be strategic about the frequency and the communication channels you leverage. Here are several items to consider.
    • What channels of communication does your hybrid workforce prefer (i.e., email, text, Zoom, what about after-hours communication?)
    • Quarterly Town Hall Meetings
    • High quality videos and internal presentations for virtual employees (as well as in-person workers)
    • Internal newsletters showcasing everyone’s life activities and work accomplishments
    • Purposeful posts on favored social media (Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.)

  2. UpSkilling & ReSkilling. Effectively leading a remote workforce calls for leaders to be at the top of their game. It also calls for leaders to leverage winning skills in a different way. It is imperative that leaders are equally comfortable (and skilled) with leading onsite workers, offsite workers, and hybrid workers. Here is a cross-section of skill areas in which savvy leaders need to be elegantly effective.
    • Priority management
    • Action planning
    • Time management (and teaching it to team members!)
    • Leading multi-generational teams
    • Leading DEIB (diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging)
    • Building cross-functional collaboration
    • Brainstorming
    • Solving problems with a distributed workforce
    • Elegantly talking up EAP
Bottom Line: The hybrid or distributed workforce is here, and it is not going away. High performing leaders are sharpening their skills and building new ones to keep pace with a changing workforce. Younger workers call for old skills used in a different way. They can also alter the cultural focus of the broader organization. The good news is that excellent leaders do what it takes to maintain excellence. Upskill and reskill your team as needed. Keep your fingers on the pulse of your culture. Communicate in a world-class manner. And make certain that your team members have the tools they need to succeed. Exciting times lay ahead. Luck favors the prepared.
Until next time, be well!
Doug Van Dyke is a leadership development expert, executive coach, strategic planner, and team builder. Contact him today about exciting programs, meaningful coaching and action-oriented strategic planning and facilitation services.  .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), www.leadershipsimplified.com, 941-776-1121.

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