PUT INTO PRACTICE
A hybrid team is a mixed team: face-to-face and remote. Because of this last characteristic, all the managerial keys and good operational practices of remote management apply.
We will focus here on the specific issues of the hybrid. Physical distance removes the unity of place and reduces opportunities for collective time (co-location, spontaneous meetings, etc.), which can lead to a loss of the feeling of belonging, adherence to a common vision, and even to disengagement. In addition, the hybrid approach may lead to inequality between team members and a choice between the two methods (face-to-face and remote) depending on the time and the person.
1. Fairness: offering all employees the same level of support
It is important to "educate" people about the impact of the hybrid mode and the possible biases it generates because those who are at a distance do not realise what they are missing out on, and those who are in the office do not realise what they are accessing in addition. To face this challenge, the manager must ensure that a culture of psychological safety is created in which expressing one's needs is possible and encouraged (see team spirit and alliance below).
The manager must indeed know the needs of the different members of his team in order to adapt to them as best as possible (different needs for inclusion from one person to another, need for freedom, need for control, etc.): being at a distance can be a time of psychological "breathing space" for some, or of "frustration" due to the lack of contact for others. Well-being at work is a factor in performance: it is therefore essential to ensure that this relational dimension is maintained or reinforced in one's management style (to "really know" one's employees).
The manager must also pay particular attention to the level of support offered to his employees:
- By avoiding "favouritism " towards face-to-face employees or disengaging from remote employees;
- By including all employees in communications and information sharing;
o By avoiding exchanges between co-located employees at the expense of those who are at a distance (parallel discussions, etc.). - By emphasising the contribution of each employee (visibility, etc.); - By reducing, as far as possible, the biases of distance (technologies, etc.); - By avoiding corridor exchanges which turn into meetings in which a contributing employee does not take part because he or she is not present in the office: invite him or her to join the exchange (videoconference) or plan an ad hoc meeting;
- By constructing objectives consistent with the hybrid situation (e.g. limited access to certain resources, etc.).
2. Optimisation: taking full advantage of the benefits of each modality
Both face-to-face and distance learning have clear advantages: - Face-to-face training encourages collaboration, teaming, collective intelligence, co-creation, relationships and a sense of belonging;
- while remote work is more suitable for work requiring a high degree of concentration (background work).
It is therefore important for the manager to take full advantage of the benefits of each modality, in particular by avoiding "distorting" them by trying to reproduce for the hybrid team a classic scheme designed for a co-located team. For example, taking part in several meetings during the day can alter the concentration of remote employees:
- In order to limit interruptions that can impair the concentration of remote employees, it is recommended to develop asynchronous modes of operation. This means, for example, organising short follow-up points at the beginning or end of the day.
- Meetings (which are still necessary for the health of the team or the project) should focus on subjects requiring collaboration (strategy, decision, complexity, etc.), cooperation, or on delicate personal subjects (personal difficulties, conflicts, etc.), or even on what can strengthen the team spirit (celebrations, reviews, etc.).
The manager should also take care to involve his employees in the process of defining the rules of operation of the hybrid team in order to create a strong alliance: as each team is unique, it is important not to impose a "ready-made recipe" which would weaken the system.
- The manager must take the time to evaluate the preference of the employees between telework and office work, to assess their level of autonomy and capacity to manage their activity in each of the modalities...
- The operating mode defined will also have to be optimised in that it will be necessary to adapt the work modality to the task to be carried out: define the tasks that can be carried out asynchronously and/or remotely vs. those that can only be carried out face-to-face, alone or in teams, etc.
o For example, tasks requiring a high degree of concentration (gathering data, carrying out market research, building business plans, etc.) can be carried out asynchronously and remotely; unlike tasks requiring creativity (innovation, ideation, etc.) which are catalysed by exchanges: brainstorming in the meeting room, corridor exchanges, discussions between two meetings, etc. These exchanges are more recurrent and more effective if the employees are co-located.
3. Team spirit: fostering relationships and exchanges between team members
The role of the manager is to recreate common and collective rituals, codes and working methods in order to catalyse the team spirit:
- By mapping the working methods of employees in order to organise rotations appropriately (e.g. using a "Café" or "Flydesk" type application);
o The aim here is not to monitor "who's where?" but rather to anticipate as best as possible (organisation of tasks, rotations, team rituals, etc.) in order to ensure that all employees are integrated.
- Establishing team rituals (celebrating team successes, anniversaries, etc.) and organising them in co-creation with the team;
- By positioning the alliance of the team in a hybrid context (rules and good practices for conducting meetings, etc.) taking into account individual preferences and the needs of the function... ;
- By favouring relationships between remote and co-located people, for example by assigning tasks to hybrid pairs (one remote employee + one face-to-face employee);
- By encouraging informal group time (video-conference coffee breaks, joint remote or face-to-face sports classes, team building or "phygital" events);
- By thinking of face-to-face time as key moments for (re-)creating cohesion: moments of collaboration, cooperation, celebration...
o This paradigm shift should also be an opportunity to rethink face-to-face workspaces in order to promote the new social functions that offices will increasingly take on: conviviality, creativity, collaborative spaces, etc.
4. Managerial posture: adapting your managerial approach
For a hybrid team, the emergence of asynchronous collaboration times requires developing the responsibility and autonomy of employees as they go along. Indeed, the manager can no longer have clear visibility at all times of the activity of his teams. Nevertheless, whereas a 100% remote organisation makes it difficult to measure the maturity of employees in terms of autonomy, a hybrid organisation offers the necessary means for this evaluation by alternating between "proximity" and remote times.
To take full advantage of the hybrid organisation and to manage his or her team effectively, the manager's approach must become adaptive. In order to do this, the manager must ensure that he/she: • develop autonomy and empowerment of employees, by granting and demonstrating confidence in them. Hemingway said: "the best way to know if you can trust someone is to trust them".
- develop situational leadership. This consists of adapting its managerial approach taking into account the employee's motivation and autonomy in relation to a given skill. This approach works well with a hybrid team.
- find the right balance in order to be sufficiently visible to one's teams to remain accessible despite the distance without becoming invasive (over-solicited).
- develop a manager-coach position, which offers effective and relevant methods and a toolbox from which the manager can draw according to the situation: work specifics, team characteristics, personality, and challenges.
The manager-coach posture will thus allow the adoption of the following behaviours which are particularly adapted to the effective management of hybrid teams:
Encourage inclusion, particularly of remote employees with few interpersonal skills (seek them out, get them to express themselves) in the interests of equity and team building
To be interested in the conditions of each person whatever their location (challenges, facilities...)
Adapt to each situation encountered by the team (internal and external)
Cultivating one's presence (even at a distance): "how can I make myself present here and now" without opening the door to over-solicitation by the teams
o Active questioning and listening
Making the invisible visible, including difficulties, successes, monitoring of objectives
Give yourself the means to be fair
Developing the autonomy and empowerment of employees.
Setting the framework (FAST objectives, permanent feedback, GROW...)
o Focus on the employee's potential and abilities
- Trusting and giving confidence
- Enabling the other person to realise his or her potential and objectives, whatever the organisational mode used