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Navigating the Hybrid Work Landscape: Tips for Employee Engagement and Building a Strong Culture

January 22, 2024

Navigating the Hybrid Work Landscape: Tips for Employee Engagement and Building a Strong Culture

 

The last five years have changed the landscape of work culture immensely. The rise of remote and hybrid teams has shifted the way we work and communicate. While the conversation between advocates of remote work and in-office work continues, it would seem that hybrid teams are here to stay. As organizations grapple with this new normal, they face unique challenges in keeping hybrid teams connected, particularly in fostering a sense of unity and camaraderie. In this blog post, we explore effective strategies for maintaining employee engagement and building a vibrant company culture within hybrid work environments, with help from a few HR pros. 

 

 

Building an Online Connection:

One key aspect of keeping hybrid teams engaged is establishing a robust online connection. Communication platforms like Slack and Microsoft Teams play a pivotal role in connecting team members virtually. Creating a strong culture within these platforms involves not just work-related discussions but also fostering a sense of community. Encourage team members to share personal achievements, hobbies, or interesting articles to create a more personalized and human connection. Utilizing channels dedicated to non-work conversations can help build relationships and strengthen the bond among team members who may not share physical office space. 

 

Starting a daily communication practice has proved helpful for some teams: “We start our day with a question of the day, posed by a member of our culture committee. Everyone from all over the company can answer this ice-breaker style question and feel connected to the wider team, plus we all learn more about each other” says one HR staffer.

 

 

 

 

Team Building with Hybrid Specialists:

To address the specific challenges of hybrid or remote teams, consider partnering with companies that specialize in fostering collaboration within distributed workforces. These specialists can offer tailored solutions and activities designed to enhance team dynamics in a virtual setting. From virtual team-building workshops to interactive online games, these experts understand the intricacies of remote work and can provide valuable insights and activities that cater to the unique needs of hybrid teams.

 

“We were very proud to be named HR Magazine’s top team building services provider in 2023,” says Ashley Connell of Garden Streets “I think a lot of that came from the expertise we had gained in the virtual and hybrid space during the pandemic. Hybrid and majority remote teams need special attention when it comes to engagement and team building.” Borrowing expertise from companies that specialize in this work can be a really helpful approach to these unique challenges. 

 

 

Leveraging the Engagement Budget:

Organizations often allocate budgets for employee engagement activities, and in the context of hybrid work, it becomes crucial to leverage this budget effectively. Rather than limiting engagement efforts to in-person events, channel resources into well-produced online events and content. Virtual conferences, webinars, and interactive workshops can provide valuable learning experiences while fostering connections among team members. Consider bringing in industry experts or thought leaders to share insights and create a sense of shared learning and growth.

 



 

Planning an in person event for distributed teams requires transportation, lodging, and venue costs to be factored into what might already be a stretched budget. Working with the right planner on a virtual event means that you have much more freedom with your budget to pull in the kind of speakers, content, and swag that will be sure to get your employees excited to attend. 

 

Running Extended Team Building Events:

Short bursts of team building are beneficial, but for hybrid teams, extended and ongoing initiatives can have a lasting impact. Implementing points-based competitions that span several weeks or months can keep team members motivated and engaged. These competitions can range from productivity challenges to creative projects, to health and wellness programs, allowing individuals to showcase their skills and contribute to the collective success of the team. 

 

Additionally, incorporating weekly fun events such as trivia nights or book clubs provides regular online focal points for teams to come together, share experiences, and strengthen their bond over shared interests beyond work. Relationships are built over time – so why should your events be limited to a single occurrence. “Our trivia nights have been a runaway hit – employees from all over the company show up to our weekly trivia zoom to get competitive and connect with each other” says Tammy Sigler, HR manager at a regional manufacturing company. 

 

 

 

As the hybrid work model becomes more central to the modern professional landscape, organizations must prioritize strategies to keep their teams engaged and connected. Building a strong online connection through communication platforms, collaborating with hybrid specialists, maximizing engagement budgets, and implementing extended team-building events are essential steps in fostering a positive and inclusive company culture. By embracing these strategies, organizations can navigate the challenges of hybrid work successfully and create an environment where employees thrive, regardless of their physical location.

 

 



 

 

Learn more about our virtual event process here and contact us here to get started planning your next event.

 

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