In our last blog, top lessons in building a hybrid workplace part one, we discussed some of the core lessons and considerations of making the transition to a hybrid model. In this piece we will continue to expand on the following concepts:
- Empathic leadership
- Regular check-ins
Empathic leadership: Embracing the power of soft skills
Historically, soft skills have not been celebrated as much as hard skills. In the future, they will be considered more important than hard skills, especially within the context of Hybrid working.
Hybrid workplaces rely on incorporating a partially in-person, partially-out-of-office workflow. This requires adept leaders who have empathy, understanding, agility and the ability to wear many hats. In order to create a successful satellite work environment, emotional intelligence and superb communication skills are a must. Other highly valued skills include relationship and trust building skills, the ability to infer and anticipate employees needs, and the ability to work in a team.
According to a survey by Adecco Staffing USA, 44 percent of executives said a lack of soft skills was the biggest proficiency gap they saw in the U.S. workforce.
Additionally, According to Oxbridge Academy, soft skills are more important than ever for five key reasons:
- Hard skills are useless without soft skills to back up their task-related knowledge.
- Soft skills are more difficult to learn and therefore more valuable.
- Today’s workplaces are collaborative, relying heavily on soft skills to get things done.
- Soft skills such as empathy and a sense of humor improve the customer experience.
- The future of work lies in soft skills; these human characteristics can’t be replicated or replaced by automation or artificial intelligence (AI).
All of this must be taken into consideration when constructing a hybrid workplace model.
Regular check-ins: the importance of consistent communication
With the Hybrid work model, the entire Human Resources process needs to be re-imagined. Historically, recruiting, on-boarding, integration, and check-ins/ evaluations have all been conducted in person. Leaders need to think about what these processes look like virtually, and how they can be adjusted to fit the needs of the employee and the company. Globally, all communications and job descriptions need to be updated to describe what a hybrid job actually entails.
The paramount priority in updating these modes of working is to maintain equity. Do in office employees get the same privileges as out of office employees? Can they be made aware of new opportunities, show off their excellence, be extended opportunities to grow at the same pace? Do employees in and out of office have the same networking capacities? All of this needs to be considered and most importantly communicated to all staff.
The benefit of hybrid working is inclusion and equal access. Systems should be updated to reflect this, and promoting and embodying flexibility is key in retaining talent.
As more companies continue to adopt the hybrid workplace model, the lessons will continue to unfold. For now it is clear that Hybrid working is here to stay, and companies should establish new frameworks to implement the way of work of the future.
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