The need for organisational efficiency and operational safety is a constant and hybrid working bringing with it new challenges for employers. Hybrid working is a trending term in the HR and learning spheres. The term has been coined since enforced remote working times of COVID-19 lockdown; where workers made the most out of a home and makeshift working environment. Now that the world is beginning to open up, and back to work plans are raising pressures on budgets with an increased focus on safety standards and regulatory requirements.

A distributed workforce affects everyday operations, and leaders and their teams need to adapt systems and build new habits. The need to manage workforces in a simple, safe – yet flexible – and compliant way has become paramount to future success.

Pivoting the management of a safe and compliant workforce 

Digitisation has enabled an easier way to onboard and safeguard workers while reducing costs and increasing operational efficiency. Organisations can adapt their focus from entire face to face onboarding and ongoing development environments to meet learning needs online. Wherever your workforce is located it is possible to bring communities together with the right joined up approach and the tools to support information sharing, collaboration and training. 

In a survey by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, as quoted by the Training Industry on strategy, alignment and planning; “44% of employers said that they are putting in place additional measures or spend to support home working,” 46% of those respondents are planning “more line management training in managing and supporting home workers.” 

Digital tools reduce risk through the efficient management of workers and offer high level insight to get the most out of the people you rely on that will ensure organisational success. Digitising your toolbox training is a solid approach whether it’s for onboarding, re-onboarding to a remote or hybrid working model and upskilling existing workers. 

There is also attention needed to manage worker wellbeing in conjunction with culture, engagement and performance. Kineo talks about these elements as the big three affecting remote and hybrid workers in 2021 in their blog; Workplace wellbeing: engagement, performance and culture

A blend of remote and on site management and training will help to gel teams, maintain compliance and retain trust across distributed teams. Re-onboarding and upskilling workers will help leaders adapt to our new working ways. As part of this re-focus, HR protocols and processes will need to be reviewed and wellness programs should form part of this priority in order to keep worker communities connected. Higher levels of communication are also critical for workplace wellbeing and ensuring the best return with a positive workplace culture. 

Practical pointers for managing and training your talent 

However meetings are held, managers will need to adapt to facilitate meaningful dialogue and ensure their team members feel heard. As organisations fine tune their vision for future success it’s important that the thinking from leadership and plans for change are shared with the workforce and that workers are involved in the process. ‘Managing employee performance? An effective 5 step guide’ aligns with a hybrid working model, specifically with regard to workplace training (wherever that workplace may be), ‘Hybrid Working – the need for better learning experiences’, takes a look at the implications and how to take a more human-centric approach and to be holistic about worker needs, to ensure they are supported to feel connected with colleagues and also are accountable in a responsible way as burnout is all too real. ‘Stress Less at Work’ is a great elearning course with practical tools to help workers manage deliverables well. Employers that haven’t yet streamlined their approach to the management and training of their hybrid workforce will risk worker ambiguity, anxiety and stress that can quickly escalate. McKinsey’s ‘The Great Exhaustion’ reports on this with insights that underline that there is one thing that burned out employees have in common – leaders who have yet to get specific about the future of hybrid work.        

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