Hybrid Work and Life Dynamic

For brand leaders, hybrid work and life dynamic offers enormous potential for finding and retaining employees – but also brings new obligations. Six success factors play a special role here.

The world is hybrid – and so are people. For brand leaders, this means that employee experience, retention and search must be orchestrated differently.

The hybrid world offers endless opportunities for targeted brand deve­lopment, but also, for example, the challenge of establishing trust and loyalty permanently in a work environment with limited physical proximity and leveraging great talent that may live thousands of miles away.

“Caught” between worlds
For many brands, the digitalization push of the recent months has been rather forced, while other companies have already established working remotely successfully for many years – in other words, thinking and acting. Once they get a taste for it, neither employees nor companies want to go back to the old structures. This makes it all the more important to design, create and lead the hybrid work experience from the ground up. It also poses new challenges, especially for management, because the develop­ment is preordained in this sense. If you want to retain the best talent for the long term in the future, you need to enable and orchestrate hybrid collaboration.

Today, talent is available 24/7 – and around the world
What used to be reserved for globally active companies, in particular, is now available to a large number of organizations at any time – the best talent. In this sense, globalization and digitalization are followed by the availability of talent in a completely new dimension. For example, while the search for new employees used to take place in the environment of existing locations or in the context of a new market entry, this should now be reconsidered and evaluated under the conditions of the broadly changing world of work. This change of perspective is crucial, as work and behavioural patterns will change fundamentally. Does it matter where the CEO or sales manager lives - in Tuscany, on Sylt or in New York? Sure, not all professions can benefit equally from this, but many can, especially in a work environment where all that is needed is a computer, a camera, a microphone and a lot of self-discipline.

These six success factors make the difference:

1. High pre-trust
Companies that have arrived in the location-independent working world give their employees enormous pre-trust. They trust that their employees are loyal, conscientious, results-oriented and success-oriented. In this sense, “control” is mainly exercised over the services rendered and successes achieved. This is both motivating and self-fulfilling for employees. We observe that wherever trust in employees is high, there is significantly less need for leadership.

2. Freedom to act
Any task requires a high degree of flexibility and self-organization, espe­cially the more challenging it is. The “nine-to-five job” is a thing of the past, because the increasing global digital networking of work and customer re­lationships is placing new demands on the flexibility of employees. It doesn’t matter when the job is done. The main thing is that it is done and done successfully. We observe that employees are more committed at all times, but also don’t have to feel guilty if private issues take centre stage for once.

3. Adequate work infrastructure
A professional work environment is a brand’s calling card in both the physical and hybrid worlds. Therefore, customer touchpoints here must also be in line with the brand class as well as the state of the art. This requires a shift in investment from physical corporate locations to digital brand represen­­tations. We observe that employees who have equipment that follows uniform standards and a brand-compliant presence are more engaged, more satisfied and more effective in their daily business.

4. Availability
Freedom versus performance seriousness – everything has a price. In work environments that do not follow “well-worn standards”, we see a strong sense of duty and a high willingness on the part of employees to respond flexibly to a wide variety of requests and requirements. It’s a win-win situation and the bottom line is that both sides benefit. However, the pre­requisites are self-discipline and proportionality. Everyone is entitled to rest and distance. It is up to everyone involved to organize themselves accordingly and give their best.

5. Personal responsibility
Assigning responsibility requires trust and, in return, creates commitment and tremendous motivation. Instead of dictating every step to employees, managers should act as enablers and challenge and encourage their employees. New ways of working and organizing require new leadership and training concepts. We observe that employees’ self-responsibility and initiative in­- crease to the extent that they are given the space and time to get used to their new freedoms and to perceive their changed role accordingly.

6. Rituals and the physical place
Of course, a hybrid work environment also thrives on fixed rituals and a physical home where employees can experience the brand in its full dimensions. However, it is crucial to make the brand fully tangible in the digital world as well. The less place, the more important it is to understand the creation of attachment as a continuous management task. We observe that there is still uncertainty and a need to catch up here in particular.

Much remains different
In this sense, it is now a matter of permanently integrating the new realities into the management of the brand. This holds enormous opportunities for companies that accept this challenge. It is only the logical next step into a new way of working with the best talent our world has to offer.

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