Inclusive work practices for hybrid teams

A team meeting in the office

For so many organisations, a hybrid team is now the new normal, now managers need to embed methods learnt during peak shutdowns to ensure they are managing a hybrid team in a way that’s inclusive for everyone.
While there are many advantages of a hybrid team model but it can also create challenges when trying to maintaining sense of inclusivity.

To overcome these obstacles, employers need create effective communication channels within their teams to enable them to participate in how the hybrid workplace is best managed. Enabling an inclusive environment allows a sense of belonging for all employees which in turn helps support their mental health and wellbeing while improving productivity, teamwork and innovation.

How to manage a hybrid team

Design inclusive team meetings: Gather inputs from the team to determine how hybrid meetings could work for everyone. Once a cadence has been agreed upon, distribute agendas prior to the meeting so everyone can gather thoughts in advance.
Ensure every team member has a voice: Set expectations at the start by mentioning you would like everyone to contribute and that everyone’s opinion is valued. Turning cameras on can help with this.
During the meeting, ask open-ended questions to encourage people to share. You could even try to structure involvement during the meeting, such as by giving everyone a set role or by assigning an agenda item to everyone to introduce and lead discussions. 
Remember that office-based and remote employees have different work experiences: Coming into an office where you interact with colleagues is a very different experience to working at home. Talk to your employees about their experience of remote working and understand what does and doesn’t work for them.
Create opportunities for informal conversations: Try to recreate those watercooler conversations. Unplanned informal conversations help to build connection, spread idea and allow opportunities for unplanned innovation. Perhaps it’s virtual Monday morning coffee chats, Friday afternoon drinks or by starting a meeting early to allow for some office-like banter between colleagues.
Have regular one-on-one catch-ups: Prioritiserioritis  regular one-on-one meetings with remote employees. These can be an essential communication line between them and the workplace.
Give staff a sense of purpose: Regardless of where they are working, make sure all employees understand the purpose of their organisation and how their role and results contribute. Communicating the big picture keeps your employees invested in the overall vision of the organisation and how their personal responsibilities fit in.

Build a culture of inclusion

Most importantly though, your organisation needs to create a culture of inclusion. As part of this, you should aim to communicate with your employees in a way that is purposefully inclusive, regular and transparent. Building this culture will allow for every employee to feel like their voice is being heard, and help to sustain strong employee performance, as well as retaining the skills, unique insights, creativity and experience that allowing for a hybrid workspace will give.

About this author

Nick Deligiannis, Managing Director, began working at Hays in 1993 and since then he has held a variety of consulting and management roles across the business. In 2004 he was appointed to the Hays Board of Directors. He was made Managing Director of Australia and New Zealand in 2012.

Prior to joining Hays, he had a background in human resource management and marketing, and has formal qualifications in Psychology.

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