Managing Director, ENGAGE HR™
Whether you’re working in the office, at home, or in a hybrid work environment, optimal performance depends on a trusting, transparent approach built on strong organizational values, behaviours, and ultimately — culture.
Working from home is a thing now, in a way it never was before. The back-to-the-office push has moved the needle back on some of the pandemic-inspired changes in how we work, but it’s clear in most industries there’s no appetite for a return to the old normal. Hybrid work environments are here to stay.
For many managers, this has caused a dilemma. They recognize forcing everyone back to the office on a full-time basis is a recipe for unwanted staff turnover, yet their management systems were never built to support a hybrid work environment. The good news is, adapting to this new reality doesn’t need to be painful.
Human resource consulting firms like ENGAGE HR™ have been studying and formalizing hybrid work environment best practices since well before the pandemic. Collaboration with one of these firms can help organizations of any size understand how their pre-existing systems can transition to this new model, identifying cases where the actual cause of friction comes from the underlying systems, which may have been fundamentally flawed to begin with. With a thorough review, there’s every reason to be confident an updated approach to culture, performance, and winning behaviours can lead to a hybrid work environment which consistently increases employee engagement, productivity, and profits.
Organizational culture as defined in Cultures and Organizations, third edition (2010), by Geert H. Hofstede is “the collective programming of the mind that distinguishes the members of one organization from others.” Much of the anxiety among managers around the shift to a hybrid work environment stems from the concern this transition will be detrimental to their company’s culture in the longer term. This is far from inevitable.
Culture is defined by the values, assumptions, understandings, and norms shared by members of an organization. All of these ideals can flourish in a hybrid work environment — with the right, data driven approach. With a rigorous and evidence-based organizational culture assessment such as those available through Hofstede Insights Canada ([email protected]), and a corresponding mindset, gaps are identified and followed up with proven, coherent approaches to cultural growth and development. When properly formulated, and linked to organizational strategies, culture can be a powerful driver of individual and organizational performance and sustainability within a hybrid, or any, work environment.
The keys to a successful transition are trust and transparency, coupled with strong organizational values enabled by aligned behaviours, also referred to as competencies. There’s no intrinsic conflict here as values, behaviours, and expectations need to be clearly defined and understood and aligned accordingly.
When properly formulated, and linked to organizational strategies, culture can be a powerful driver of individual and organizational performance and sustainability within a hybrid, or any, work environment.
One of the biggest questions managers have about hybrid work environments is knowing whether or not employees are actually working.
The best resolution to this concern has an almost zen-like quality to it. It’s not a direct answer, rather an investigation of the question itself. Optimal performance, and management thereof has always been about managing results, not the work. Clear expectations, unambiguous role responsibilities, and appropriately agreed upon objectives and deadlines make it work. These are the moving parts and lubricant of making the engine of performance management purr.
Firms like ENGAGE HR™ have the tools and knowledge to ensure alignment and offer feedback to employees while exploring their potential and strengths, whatever the work environment. They’re able to guide organizations in ensuring performance is evaluated consistently and fairly, organization wide. Fairness is the foundation underpinning trust and transparency.
In the end, the move to a hybrid work environment is not an existential threat. If your organization is experiencing anxiety about this change — if it seems like the systems in place are going to break rather than bend — that friction is a sign of opportunity. It means your performance management model was already in need of realignment, which in turn implies a potential for significant gains if the model is conscientiously and professionally overhauled. There are firms out there, firms like ENGAGE HR™, who can help you do just that.
Explore the potential of optimal hybrid work environment performance at engagehr.com/