Extractive summaries of and key takeaways from the articles curated from TOP TEN BUSINESS MAGAZINES to promote informed business decision-making | Week 294 | April 28-May 4, 2023
Managing the Cultural Pitfalls of Hybrid Work
By Christine Moorman and Katie Hinkfuss | MIT Sloan Management Review | May 02, 2023
Three years into the pandemic era, hybrid work models abound for business professionals. In the March 2023 edition of The CMO Survey, of 314 marketing leaders, 57% said that they work from home remotely at least some of the time, while 39% do so all of the time. However, it’s not all smooth sailing. Over a third of leaders report that remote work has weakened culture, a crucial driver of growth and innovation. Despite these challenges, remote work isn’t going away. So, what can we learn from research and remote working practices to empower leaders across enterprise business functions to build a thriving culture where teams can flourish? What does this look like for marketing leaders? The authors offer 11 suggestions to help leaders build a winning hybrid work culture.
- Develop new mentoring and coaching models. To ensure that remote workers have access to the same opportunities for informal coaching and mentorship as their in-person colleagues, organizations must develop new approaches. One option is rethinking the onboarding process by creating virtual onboarding.
- Establish virtual communities of practice. Teams can interact on digital platforms such as Slack and Microsoft Teams and in chat rooms that allow them to bounce ideas off of one another.
- Build digital social bonding time. To build strong virtual culture, it’s important to create social structures that bring employees together.
- Identify in-person opportunities. Meeting face-to-face is still important to creating and sustaining a strong culture. That’s why many organizations are embracing hybrid work, where employees come in a few days a week, or hosting in-person sprints to facilitate connection.
- Create space and time for informal digital connections. Remote work complicates learning for young employees, because it diminishes the power of informal internal networks.
- Encourage digital lingering. Experts note that in-person meetings offer the opportunity for people to hang out afterward and ask follow-up questions, share ideas, get feedback, or make a plug for involvement. Virtual meetings typically don’t end with people lingering to chat, but they could.
- Harness digital tools to build and reinforce culture.
- Encourage overperformance of social cues. When remote work became more widespread during the early part of the pandemic, employees started to notice that they were waving at the end of meetings — a social cue rarely performed in person. Experts say this is because we’re trying to add a personal touch and communicate our intentions in a very demonstrative way that would be overkill in an in-person setting.
- Ensure equity among remote, hybrid, and in-person employees. It’s crucial that employees across different locations are all treated fairly. When differences surface, employees worry that their work won’t be rewarded equitably or that they won’t be given the same opportunities if they’re not at the office. Establishing transparent guidelines for promotions, raises, and opportunities for work projects should be a structural part of the culture.
- Challenge in-group/out-group thinking. One way to do that is to mix up teams and leaders in different locations.
- Foster initiative-taking among team members.
3 key takeaways from the article
- Three years into the pandemic era, hybrid work models abound for business professionals. However, it’s not all smooth sailing. One issue is that remote work has weakened culture, a crucial driver of growth and innovation. Despite these challenges, remote work isn’t going away.
- 11 suggestions to help leaders build a winning hybrid work culture are: develop new mentoring and coaching models; establish virtual communities of practice; identify in-person opportunities; create space and time for informal digital connections; encourage digital lingering; harness digital tools to build and reinforce culture; encourage overperformance of social cues; ensure equity among remote, hybrid, and in-person employees; and challenge in-group/out-group thinking.
- Hybrid work is here to stay, and it’s up to marketers and other leaders to ensure that digital communication complements — rather than undermines — organizational culture and the socialization of new employees.
Topics: Organizational Culture, Hybrid Work, Teams