Hybrid Strategy? How effective is yours?
In the UK Plan B has seen many people, who are able to do this, scuttle back home to continue work. Some of us have done nothing but, since 2020. In general, we are all used to this way of working and for many it poses few issues in terms of processes and technology. However, what strikes me is whether many companies are actually planning their hybrid strategy rather than just allowing it to evolve organically. What impact will there be if we simply carry on doing what we are doing?
Why is a hybrid strategy important?
I work in the food and drink industry. It is varied and fast paced. Many of the companies I recruit for are working within the plant-based sector which is changing apace. It is tech driven and there is a high-level of skills within the industry. I know for a fact that they will manage and thrive. But although I think time has been better utilised, with less carbon footprint a key feature of these new practices, there are factors that may do some damage in the long term.
Who needs small talk?
In the past, I would often fly out from Birmingham airport for a meeting in Europe. There was travel to the airport, travel across a city to the organisation and then a tour around the facility. I’d have a number of face-to-face conversations and then the return journey back to Birmingham then home. Now I often have a 45-minute Teams meeting, a hop into the kitchen for a quick coffee and it’s on with work. What’s wrong with that you might ask? Call me old fashioned but there is little room for small talk. Those face-to-face conversations can uncover so many interesting insights about a business. Think about informal conversations where someone says, ‘Recently we’ve been having a struggle with……or, this is an example of one of our difficulties’ as you chat and walk. However, have you noticed that people arrive for meetings punctually, say good morning and then it’s down to business. You have to ask, what will be lost moving forward if we continue in this vein without thinking about how these meetings might be further developed or improved?
What about integrating digital with the physical workplace?
In addition, working with companies that are developing tastes, textures, and flavourings, it can be quite different to sell a product when a client is not actually walking through an R&D facility. Sending a box of crackers and some testers never quite equates to the same experience, does it? What this means is that we need to integrate an agile approach to places. Have you given much thought to integrating digital with the physical workplace aspects? Have you discussed how working remotely differs from one country to another? Are there any problems that require attention? It is too easy to carry on and not consider things you simply take for granted.
Business is also often about personal relationships.
People are as important as processes. Sometimes technology allows relationships to flourish if you already know someone but when relationships are new, they can seem slightly stilted online. We are all capable and to an extent since the emergence of Covid we have made the best of what has happened. But now I am asking, is that enough? Are all your employees being seen and heard? Are they actually participating effectively or even enough? In fact, are you being too democratic and inviting too many people to Teams meetings? Are those large meetings preventing people from expressing themselves as it seems too daunting?
Think about what has been gained and lost from the switch to online meetings.
Should there be something else we might build into the way we now work?
Has your company discussed pros and cons of an online way of working?
Have you taken the opportunity to reappraise your whole remote and hybrid working strategy?
Have you considered or surveyed staff regarding the employee experience as well as events, sales, and all points between?
Do you consider this new flexible approach as an opportunity, a threat or a compromise? What impact might it have on your company in the long term?
How are the challenges around leadership being handled?
Has trust or transparency been compromised working in these new ways?
What should be done about this, moving forward?
How much digital empathy is built into what you are currently doing?
Is it time to refresh your policies?
If you would like to discuss this or any aspect of recruitment, we’d be delighted to have an informal chat about what might be achieved and how you can find the right staff for these complex considerations. Do give us a call.