Employee performance has always been a top priority for all organizations. However, due to the spread of COVID-19, employee performance has taken a backseat, as employee safety and new technologies for remote work take precedence. Managing the changes caused by the pandemic has become the primary focus for organizations and leaders worldwide. Over the last two years, the work environment has evolved from remote to a hybrid work environment.
Hybrid Work is Here to Stay
Today, employees’ perspectives on work and the environment they work in has changed. Some employees may prefer to work remotely, while others might prefer working in an office and others a mixture of both. The flexible set-up that allows employees the choice to work from home or in person is known as hybrid work. The concept behind hybrid work becoming a “new normal” might be in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is here to stay.
In this new era of the workforce, employers also should consider changing the way they manage their employees. Performance management needs to be agile, sustainable and at the same time, effective. To that extent, it needs to be driven by digital technologies.
Goal Setting is still Important just Different
In the hybrid workspace, setting clear and effective goals is not only acting in good conscience, but also is imperative. Instead of yearly goals, organizations need to focus on setting clear, short-term, agile and effective goals using the objective and key results (OKR) approach. If you are setting goals at the beginning of the year and revisiting them towards the end, they will no longer be effective. Your employees will not only lose focus, but will become disengaged, too.
Align individual goals with team, department and business goals. This can help employees understand where they fit in the bigger picture and how they align with the company’s mission and vision. Additionally, it creates a sense of transparency in the organization, an essential contributor in the hybrid work culture.
Work on Reducing Proximity Bias
People who meet at the office regularly tend to — whether consciously or not — have proximity biases for one another. In a hybrid setting, leaders and managers may interact with some employees more than others; hence, opening the door for proximity bias to occur. Once a proximity bias is established, the employees working remotely can feel ignored and undervalued. Therefore, it defeats the purpose of remote work and affects organizational effectiveness. This, in turn, affects an organization’s turnover and retention. However, there are several, effective ways in which a manager or a leader can reduce the effect of proximity bias with their employees.
- Have a distributed mindset.
- Have frequent, one-on-one check-ins with your employees.
- Conduct weekly team meetings with your hybrid and remote team members together.
- Share open and honest feedback on employees’ work.
- Reward and recognize your deserving employees.
- Give an equal platform to all employees to speak up on any issues.
- Ask them if they require any help.
Modulating Training Programs for Hybrid Work
Since hybrid work is a relatively, new concept, there will be a natural, learning curve as organizations learn to manage it effectively. Employees, both new and seasoned, should be trained on the essentials of hybrid work. Onboarding, training programs and existing training should be modified to keep in mind how the hybrid culture works. Once everyone in the organization understands how a hybrid-work model functions, it becomes easier for everyone to collaborate and work together.
Invest in Tools for Better Collaboration
Having the right tools in place makes a world of difference for the hybrid workforce. Employees who have been working remotely are more likely to feel distant and disconnected from their teams and the organization. This can lead to barriers in communication and weakened connections, which eventually can reduce team productivity.
Communicating through multiple channels is critical for teams to be able to stay connected and organized for project deliverables. Therefore, it is imperative to have digital tools in place that increase employee interaction and help teams collaborate.
Managers and leaders can improve team productivity by investing in specific tools and software that manages team interactions and collaborations. Organizations can take advantage of these tools in the following ways:
- Performance Management and Tracking: Performance management software can help track employee performance and can provide guidance at regular intervals to stay aligned to company goals. Investing in these tools is a must for organizations who strive to increase employee productivity and channel the workflow.
- Inclusion and Accessibility: It is crucial for managers to work toward inclusion and ensure that employees working remotely do not feel left out or ignored. Collaboration tools aid in better communication, resulting in easier accessibility and inclusivity for a hybrid team.
- Better Team Productivity: Personal interactions and communication is important for team productivity and project management. Teams can take advantage of collaboration tools and manage productivity through online dashboards and communication channels.
- Brainstorming and Ideation: It can be difficult to brainstorm and ideate when teams are working remotely. In such cases, collaboration tools can provide a platform to engage and ideate for the best solutions.
By embracing performance management tools and software, hybrid teams will be positioned for success now and in the future.