3 tips for training managers in hybrid working

Hybrid Stories
November 7, 2023
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The world of work has undergone profound change in recent years, marked by the rise of hybrid working. This rapid evolution has given rise to unprecedented management challenges, requiring in-depth reflection on the way we work together. It was against this backdrop that we called on the expertise of FlexJob, a company that helps organizations adopt new ways of working.

Through the invaluable advice of Lise-Marie Biez, FlexJob Facilitator, this article highlights the major issues facing Human Resources Managers. These key players are at the forefront of the transition to hybrid working, playing an essential role in the success of managers in this new professional environment.

1. Establish a solid managerial framework

Clear individual and collective rules

Managers need a clear framework to guide their teams, especially when remote work and distance are omnipresent. The hybrid nature of work explicitly encourages managers to adopt a management style based on trust, rather than geographical proximity.

The company, through its Human Resources Departments, has a duty to ensure that its entire organizational system is adapted so that managers can support their teams effectively, whether they are working on site or remotely. The key lies in establishing clear rules of conduct, which can be easily passed on by managers to their teams. This approach enables employees to work autonomously, while remaining fully integrated into the team.

Enlightened autonomy for employees

Employee autonomy is supported by a solid common base. It is essential to train all employees, whether managers or employees under management, in the use of company tools to foster collaboration.

A key notion to consider is the differentiation between "telerobust" activities, i.e. known and mastered work (individual work, repetitive tasks, existing links between collaborators); and "telefragile" activities, i.e. more complex remote work (complicated decision-making, creativity, brainstorming, new social links). This categorization, advocated by Lise-Marie Biez, highlights the opportunities of hybrid working, encouraging companies to strengthen their processes in areas that were previously neglected:

"What works face-to-face, doesn't necessarily work remotely. But the good news is that what works remotely, necessarily works face-to-face!"

2. Reinventing meetings for effective management

Hybrid working has transformed meetings into longer entities, with a 252% increase in weekly meeting time since February 2020 according to a Microsoft study.

However, although meetings remain crucial business tools, they are often poorly organized and neglected in terms of training and optimization. Despite increasing flexibility, it is imperative to combat digital overload.

The key to effective meetings in hybrid mode lies in a rigorous structure. It's essential to clearly define the objective of each meeting, and to keep them concise to optimize participants' concentration. In short, it's vital to stay focused on the purpose of the meeting: if it's about sharing information, the approach needs to be adapted accordingly. Similarly, if the meeting is about making decisions, specific engineering is needed to facilitate the process.

3. Supporting cohesion and long-term collaboration

Cohesion: cultivating an environment of trust

Team cohesion is based on the quality of interpersonal relations and the feeling of belonging to a collective. Employees need to feel free to be themselves, and have strong bonds within the company that go beyond simple working relationships. Cohesion can even lead to alignment:

"Although disagreements may remain, general understanding and mutual trust promote harmony and collaboration towards a common goal."

Lise-Marie Biez insists on the need toadopt targeted actions to strengthen cohesion. There's no one-size-fits-all formula, as individuals evolve and have different preferences. Some prefer informal exchanges over a morning coffee. Others prefer occasional calls to escape the camera, or appreciate rituals, such as face-to-face meetings independently of work, to create memories. The diversity of approaches, including rituals and spontaneous interactions to suit different personalities, is essential.

Collaboration: innovating in hybrid mode

Collaboration means pooling skills, working time, personalities, strengths and tasks to achieve the same goal. In a hybrid environment, the lack of unity of time and place makes collaboration more complex. Managing it requires clarity about the roles of each participant, even in the absence of a manager. It's important that information circulates correctly, and that all collaborators have what they need to work together effectively.

Lise-Marie Biez's advice is to rely on a project-based approach, to promote a digital culture such as agility, and to encourage reduced teamwork focused on the value chain. It' s essential that all employees understand how their work contributes to the whole and how it fits into this value chain.

In hybrid mode, employees are autonomous, doing their job properly thanks to the elements communicated to them upstream and downstream, which guarantee them links. The challenge is toavoid slipping into total independence, where the collective is unnecessary, which would break value chains and compromise long-term performance.

Ultimately, to help managers excel in hybrid mode, it is necessary to provide them with precise tools and methods, while reinforcing their awareness so that they can be vigilant where necessary. However, it is essential to remember that managers can only be as effective as the whole company - the individual, the collective and the organization - is structured to support this working model.

The transition to hybrid working is a challenge, but it's also an opportunity to innovate and rethink management practices for a more flexible, high-performance future. By investing in training, organization and communication, companies can thrive in this ever-changing work environment.