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This post is an excerpt from our webinar on Thursday, 6/24 @ 3 pm ET with co-founder and Chief Brand Officer Sammy Courtright. Click here to watch the recording.

Over the last year and a half, we have finally gotten to a point where we feel productive, connected, and in sync. And now we are thinking about a hybrid model? 

When you think about it, we just got comfortable with our fully remote model. Now we have to think about what days we'll be on-site, what days my teammates are coming on-site, how to include colleagues who wish to remain remote and more. So there is a lot to consider. 

But just like the past year and a half, we will figure it out. 

As companies navigate the next iteration of where employees will work, many will look to a hybrid work concept to try and maximize employee motivation and productivity–whether remote or in-office

We shared a few best practices at our webinar that will help you celebrate and support your colleagues as you transform your employee recognition programs to fit your newly hybrid team.

Let's dive in.

Hybrid Workforce Challenges

Let's look at the three top challenges that most organizations are facing right now. 

Challenge #1: There is no direction or one-size-fits-all approach to implementing a hybrid environment that makes navigating this whole new chapter difficult and trial and error.

Challenge #2: One study conducted by Maritz, reports that only 12 percent of employees say they receive meaningful recognition at their workplace, even though, according to Gallup, 67 percent say recognition is their top performance motivator. 

Challenge #3: While 40 percent of employers want their workers to return to the office, 61 percent of employees say they would like their company to let them continue to work remotely indefinitely. And many say they will quit if they are told to return to the office.

Value of a Connected, Rewarded and Recognized Team.

  • Winners mentality. When people feel like they are supported and encouraged, they work harder. It doesn't mean going out and giving out participation awards but letting people know that they are doing an excellent job at that moment. Doing it as it happens is critical because things can move quickly, and you want to make sure you are acknowledging hard work and effort in real-time.
  • Reduce burnout and missed workdays
  • Lead to increased productivity and focus
  • Reduce attrition rates and the cost of replacing talent
  • Create positive sentiment through a much stronger culture

How to Bring it Into a Hybrid Workforce Environment

Go Remote First 

To ensure you support and celebrate all employees, the hybrid approach must be 'remote first' to be successful. 

It doesn't mean remote work is favored and coming on-site is optional. It means that remote technologies and tools must be in place for the hybrid model to be successful.

In the past, remote employees usually always had to figure it out on their own. They had to add dial-ins to cal invites, make sure they could hear everyone, and jump in whenever there was a pause in the conversation. 

But, how does that 1) scale and 2) feel inclusive when 50% of a conference room will be dialing in to participate? 

You have to cater to remote employees first for a hybrid model to best support and celebrate employees.

Recommendations:

  • Set up your technology: If you haven't aligned on the tools you will be using, do it now. Remember, the technology you work with reflects your company's culture.
  • Emphasize flexibility: In a recent PwC survey, over half of employees surveyed said they wanted to continue to work remotely at least three days per week.
  • Consider how you promote or provide other work opportunities.

The more you see an employee and the more facetime they have, the more they will be considered for promotions or other work opportunities. 

Published whitepapers exist on how women inevitably will be the ones who are impacted most by COVID and hybrid work. Many women have opted to stay at home to care for their kids. It means they aren't getting that face time that perhaps many of their male counterparts are getting. Pay attention to this as it's why it is integral to think remotely first.

Focus on Team Building with Events

Whether your company is gradually opening their doors or not, one thing we'll need to consider is reintroducing teams to the office environment (and each other).

This past year, teams have been communicating primarily via email and teleconferencing. While these tools have helped us to weather the proverbial remote-work storm, they make it challenging to build trust and limit our ability to give and understand complex information. As a result, team members will need to become reacquainted with one another and with their leaders once they're back in the office.

Team-building exercises can help build and strengthen relationships, promote cohesion, and create positive roles and norms for how the team should operate moving forward. Plus, they're easy to implement, fun, and engaging.

Recommendations:

  • Diversify your offerings. We've all done the happy hours. What about a comedy night or a wine and paint course?
  • Keep these events non-work related and limit them to 45 mins. Even though they are fun, it's a work-related event.
  • While virtual events can occur for any rhyme or reason, this is a beautiful opportunity to tie to a recent success or shout out a recent success, work anniversary, or birthday.
  • The best part about a virtual event is that people can tune in from the office (set it up in a conference room) or remotely. One piece of advice, if there are materials required for an event like paint, make sure you share the list at least one week in advance so the remote folks can arrive prepared.

Peer-to-peer recognition

If the only recognition that takes place is coming from the top down, we have to change that! There is something so powerful about being recognized by your peers.

If the winners were selected exclusively by your leadership, it would feel perhaps a little arbitrary because they may not be the person's direct team and therefore do not know the day-to-day impact they make. For the team to submit their votes makes it feel more impactful.

Recommendations:

  • Be sure to emphasize including your company values in the nomination process.
  • Reminding teams of the company values is more important than you think. It makes people feel more connected to the company and, honestly, why they joined in the first place.

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