Successful Hybrid Work Models Have These 5 Things in Common

Claire Hastwell

Author

Written by Zach D’Amato, Claire Hastwell

Ready or not, hybrid work is here to stay.

Employee surveys Great Place to Work® gathered throughout 2020 and into May 2021 reveal words such as “hybrid,” “flexibility,” and “remote” mentioned by more than 53,000 employees when asked what they like about their workplace or what could make their workplace better.

The sentiment is clear: the days of all employees being together in an office are over.

“Going forward, place shouldn’t matter, but flexibility should,” says Great Place to Work’s CEO, Michael C. Bush. “I don’t think of the hybrid future as one of physical space. I think of it as really caring for people and giving them the flexibility that’s needed to have a high sense of well-being.”

But as we move into this new era of hybrid work, the future of how we’ll work is yet to be determined. How do companies define flexibility? What do employees want from the modern workplace? And why are some companies resistant to this kind of change?

The ongoing Great Resignation has proven that employees aren’t afraid to walk away in search of something better. Which is why companies that listen, adapt and change will be the ones to succeed and build the foundation for a new hybrid workplace future.

 

What is hybrid work culture?

A hybrid work model is one in which employees are split between in-office and remote locations. The arrangement may mean that only some essential employees are required to work on-site while others can work remotely, or it may be that all employees are given the freedom and flexibility to choose their work location and schedule.

But a successful hybrid work culture is about much more than just establishing a model around hours and location. Hybrid work culture is the combination of workplace systems, behaviors and values that cut across in-person and remote teams and impacting overall employee experience. Hybrid work culture is how you bring the different ways people work together.

To succeed, a hybrid workplace must equally consider the needs of in-person employees and remote employees and set up an arrangement that benefits all.

 

Here are 5 ways hybrid workplaces and leaders are achieving hybrid success:

 

1. They trust their employees

For leaders who found their own success in an office setting, it can be hard to imagine a high-functioning remote or hybrid work model — even though research on remote productivity debunks this view.

Used to being the kings and queens of their office castles, it takes a humble leader to embrace being just another face on a screen.

Companies that have successfully implemented hybrid workplaces are willing to transition from a control style of leadership to a more modern, people-centric style — a style that trusts employees to get the job done form anywhere.

Computing company NVIDIA embodies this with a “the project is the boss” philosophy, in which it’s up to employees (and their schedules) to decide when work is completed, as long as the project gets done as expected.

 

2. They listen to their employees

One of the major challenges of remote/hybrid work is that it’s harder to build empathy with people when you’re not physically with them. As such, remote employees may feel like their co-workers and managers aren’t seeing their full selves or their full potential.

They are willing to transition from a control style of leadership to a more modern, people-centric style — a style that trusts employees to get the job done.

But remote/hybrid work also brings communication advantages. You can now bring together people who typically wouldn’t connect — those who are in different locations and time zones or living in different circumstances, for virtual conversations.

Successful hybrid leaders know that they need to take advantage of these opportunities while minimizing isolation.

To maintain employee trust and fairness, they pro-actively solicit employee feedback in real time, whether that’s through regular pulse surveys, feedback sessions, or another method.

At Wegmans, an open-door policy means that employees are always empowered to speak directly with their managers.

But the company goes a step above with its Open Door Day program, during which all leaders, from managers to HR to executives, dedicate one-on-one time with employees, to discuss any topic the employee chooses. Often, employees are accessing leaders two, three, or four levels above their direct supervisor.

 

3. They co-create with and empower their employees

According to a study by Slack, 75% of executives want to work in the office, compared to 34% of non-executives. Sadly, too many senior leaders aren’t willing to see the benefits of remote/hybrid work, nor are they willing to give employees a say.

Leading hybrid companies have the opposite attitude. They aren’t afraid to put their employees in the driver’s seat and make them co-creators of the new workplace.

By offering flexibility, these workplaces empower employees to prioritize their personal lives — thus increasing employee well-being, engagement and retention.

EY has created what it calls a Design Council, a team of employees spanning across functions, regions and rank, and selected based on their ability to act as change champions at all levels of the company. Together, the team used their diverse perspectives to create EY’s “Way of Working” guidance.

By offering flexibility, these workplaces empower employees to prioritize their personal lives — thus increasing employee well-being, engagement and retention.

Similarly, at Certified™ great place to work IBM, the company hosted a “Think Forward Jam” — a two-day virtual event for more than 34,000 employees to co-create recommendations, build ownership, and share best practices of how everyone could work together and transition to the new normal.

 

4. They create equity between remote and in-person employees

When employees are scattered, it’s far too easy to overlook those who don’t get as much face time with management. Successful hybrid leaders ensure that all employees are considered for projects and promotions, and keep track of all employees to ensure no one is left behind.

These leaders also recognize the unfairness often felt by those employees whose roles don’t permit them to work from anywhere. One of the major contributing factors to the Great Resignation is frontline workers seeking out roles that offer more flexibility.

To combat this, successful leaders ensure on-site workers are given comparable flexibility as their remote counterparts.

For example, Hilton redefined its on-property roles and implemented a new “SuperFlex” workforce model that allows call center staff to choose their schedule and number of work hours.

Successful leaders ensure on-site workers are given comparable flexibility as their remote counterparts.

 

5. They set clear intentions with their employees

Over the past couple of years, we’ve all learned that living in chronic uncertainty is exhausting.

As we embark on this new normal of hybrid work, it’s crucial for employers to provide clarity and consistency. This not only impacts productivity and employee engagement, but also the well-being of everyone at the organization.

Salesforce has done this with their Flex Team Agreements (FTAs), which outline how work gets done, covering everything from how workdays are scheduled, how meetings should run, and how to collaborate in a way that keeps everyone connected.

These FTAs are made up of three levels — company, function and team — thereby creating a consistent experience for all.

Want to be a successful hybrid leader?

 

Listening to your employees via regular employee surveys will ensure your transition to hybrid is a smooth and meaningful one. Contact us to learn how.

 

Claire Hastwell

Author

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Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces™ in Australia 2023 Evaluation Methodology

Great Place To Work determines the list using our proprietary For All methodology. To determine the Best Workplaces in Technology list, Great Place To Work analyses the survey responses of tens of thousands of employees from Great Place To Work Certified™ companies in the technology industry.

Our survey enables employees to share confidential quantitative and qualitative feedback about their organization’s culture by responding to 60 statements on a 5-point scale and answering two open-ended questions. Collectively, these statements describe a great employee experience, defined by high levels of trust, respect, credibility, fairness, pride, and camaraderie. In addition, companies provide organizational data like size, location, industry, demographics, roles, and levels. Great Place To Work measures the differences in survey responses across demographic groups and roles within each organization to assess both the quality and consistency of the employee experience.

Statements are weighted according to their relevance in describing the most important aspects of an equitable workplace. Survey data analysis and company-provided datapoints are then factored into a combined score to compare and rank the companies that create the most consistently positive experience for all employees in this industry.

To be considered for the list, companies must be Great Place To Work Certified™ and nominate as a company in the technology industry.

We require statistically significant survey results, review anomalies in responses, news, and financial performance, and investigate any employee reports of company incompliance with strict surveying rules to validate the integrity of the results and findings. 

Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces for Women™ List Methodology

The Best Workplaces for Women™list is determined using Great Place To Work’sFor All™methodology to evaluate hundreds of Certified™Great Place To Work®organisations across Australia.   

Data is based on over 40,000 employee survey responses from women in Great Place To Work® Certified™ organisations across Australia. 

The survey 

The survey enables employees to share confidential quantitative and qualitative feedback about their organisation’s culture by responding to 60 statements on a 5-point scale and answering two open-ended questions. 

Collectively, these statements describe a great employee experience, defined by high levels of trust, respect, credibility, fairness, pride, and camaraderie. In addition, companies provide organisational data like size, location, industry, and the number of women in the workforce and management positions. 

Considerations 

Great Place To Work analysed the gender balance of each workplace, how it compares to each company’s industry, and patterns in representation as women rise from front-line positions to executive/C-suite roles. 
Survey data analysis and women’s representation figures are then factored into a combined score to compare and rank the companies that create the most consistently positive experience and opportunities for all women, regardless of their role or demographic background.   

Eligibility   

To be considered for the list, companies must be Great Place To Work Certified™. Companies must also employ at least 50 women. We require statistically significant survey results, review anomalies in responses, and investigate any employee reports of company in compliance with strict surveying rules to validate the integrity of the results and findings. 

Please note this list is NOT ranked. 

Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces™ in Australia 2023 Evaluation Methodology

Great Place To Work, the global authority on workplace culture, determined the Best Workplaces™ Australia 2023 List by conducting annual workforce studies through our Trust Index Survey™ and Culture Management platform Emprising®, representing the voices of almost 50,000 employees across Australia.

Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organisation creates a great place to work For All™, meaning that the company empowers all individuals to reach their full human potential. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees report about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organisation, no matter who they are or what they do. We analyse these experiences relative to each organisation’s size, workforce make up, and what’s typical in their industry and region. The remainder of the evaluation is an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of the company’s values, people’s ability to contribute new ideas, and the effectiveness of their leaders to ensure they’re consistently experienced.

To ensure surveys truly represent all employees, we require enough people in each organisation to respond that results are accurate to a 95% confidence level and 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results.

 

Categories

These organisations’ assessment is based 100% on employee responses to the Trust Index survey.

For larger organisations with more than 100 employees, we also use our Culture Audit™ tool, asking organisations to share with us their practices, policies and programs to creating a great workplace For All™ and evaluating the approach they take.

Why do you say in one place your national list scoring is based on 85%/15% and in another place that it is 75%/25%?

We are explaining two different things:

1.  The criteria we evaluate

2.  Where the data comes from