Article · 6 minute read
Top Tips for Onboarding and Development in a Hybrid Team
By Katie Herridge – 6th December 2022
Our recent paper Harnessing Hybrid Working: A Guide to More Effective Collaboration highlighted the prevalence of more flexible working across organizations and looked at how we can boost more effective collaboration. Working together well in a hybrid way also means making changes and considerations to how organizations onboard and develop employees.
Here are our top tips to drive effective onboarding and development in a hybrid team.
Give new starters a hybrid welcome
From an employee experience perspective, a new hybrid starter can put extra pressure on organizations to onboard successfully, make sure that everybody feels included, and to foster the same levels of collaboration previously seen with in-office working. Although your existing team members may now be fully embracing hybrid working, a new starter may find learning the ropes easier being sat next to their colleagues, rather than spending a lot of time on virtual sessions.
- How will hybrid recruits fit into your onboarding strategy?
- How are you ensuring that your new starter builds rapport with all team members, not just those that they have met in person?
- How will you kickstart their learning and development?
The traditional first day in the office introductions need to look a little different in a hybrid working organization. Take a look at how these can happen within a more virtual format, finding time to ensure that all those who should be involved meet in person or have scheduled a virtual chat with the new starter.
It’s important to think about who will be on hand to answer queries. Where teams have a more flexible day-to-day approach to hybrid working, answering a new starter’s questions can often fall to the colleagues who are in the office more often. Try to schedule in days where online colleagues will also be available to provide assistance which will help balance workflows and time spent working alongside different colleagues.
Look to utilize assessment data from the selection process. The selection data from Wave Professional Styles or Focus Styles can be used to generate Onboarding Reports which can become part of a hybrid onboarding strategy, allowing for inclusion and early development from the start.
Make sure you have at least one regular catch up a week to which the whole team is invited. This will allow for everyone to discuss what they are working on, share useful information and request support where necessary. This will help to mitigate feelings of isolation and disconnection. Look for opportunities to bring the whole team together on at least a quarterly basis to help keep real connections strong.
Utilize assessments to understand strengths and build on challenge areas
Increased self-awareness can have several benefits, particularly when it comes to working in a more hybrid way. It can highlight our own strengths and increase understanding of what it is we need to help ourselves work well.
- Do you provide opportunities for your employees to understand more about how to maximize their strengths and what they need from work?
Using behavioral assessments as part of development initiatives allows employees to better understand themselves in relation to how they work. Our coaching and development reports help foster better self-development and can highlight aspects of an individual’s working style that may be impacted by working in a hybrid way, such as communication style.
Use development focused reports to help individual employees highlight own strengths and develop challenge areas. This will help to ensure individual’s get the most from their own working style and ensure that development is given to all regardless of where they work.
Encourage new ways for team members to learn from each other
Sitting together as a team in a physical workspace provides opportunities to develop by observing how others tackle situations, respond to clients and makes it easy to learn new skills from each other. Working together in a hybrid way can mean that these daily opportunities to learn become few and far between.
Ensuring that there is sufficient transmission of learning occurring was one of the themes that emerged in our ‘Thriving as a Hybrid Team’ workshops. For the organization we worked with, this issue was highlighted at the team level. However, more generally we know that professional networking and mentoring relationships are important for advancing in the workplace.
- Are you providing opportunities for skills to be gained virtually?
- How can you help hybrid teams to maximize their skill sets?
- Do you encourage colleagues to virtually interact with a wider range of colleagues?
Look at ways that you can provide more platforms for informal development that are easily accessible for virtual colleagues.
Boost informal development by opening up online forums, online focus groups and online project wash-up sessions. Invite colleagues to open up time in their diary for more informal online team chats to try and encourage more casual conversations. Ensure all colleagues have access to software that allows them to share their screen so they can more easily show others something they have learned.
Focus on fairer ways to identify high potential
Unconscious forms of bias such as proximity bias can also result in those who are less often visible in the office being treated differently. To create an inclusive workforce where all talent can thrive, it’s essential that working remotely doesn’t put a false limit on people’s careers or ambitions.
- Does the way you are selecting and identifying your leaders or how you are leading others need to change in line with your hybrid working strategy?
Be sure to take an all-encompassing look at how hybrid working will feed into your existing strategies around development and identifying future leadership. One thing organizations can do is to look for more ways that they can utilize objective data to help them identify and pinpoint potential.
We have recently developed Wave-i, a method for strategically identifying and developing emerging talent and leaders. The tool offers a new way of measuring potential to accurately reveal the types of career or leadership roles individuals will thrive in. Data is presented at the group level, providing a team, level or even organizational-wide overview of potential via a dynamic dashboard.
One of the key findings from client trials using Wave-i is that the tool has provided a robust, fair and objective way to spot talent. This provides a way for organizations to avoid some of the biases associated with manager nomination approaches to identifying potential that may be exacerbated by some employees choosing to work from home.
Utilize fairer methods to pinpoint potential, such as Wave-i, to avoid some of the biases associated with manager nomination approaches to identifying potential that may otherwise be exacerbated by some employees choosing to work from home.
Making development work in a hybrid team
The changes that have been introduced into the world of work, as a result of more organizations and employees embracing the shift to hybrid forms of work, are sizable and affect all processes for onboarding and development. However, careful thought and planning is needed to help ensure equality across development and maintaining leadership pipelines.
Saville Assessment’s solutions can help you onboard and develop employees in a hybrid world, ensuring that employee experience remains at the top of the agenda regardless of where work might be.
Find Out More
For more info on how to make Hybrid Working a success for you, download our free whitepaper Harnessing Hybrid Working: A Guide to More Effective Collaboration.