Talent Management in the Hybrid Virtual Work Environment As the pandemic eases up and more businesses are allowed to re-open, companies are offering a combination of remote and on-site work, which is known as the hybrid virtual model. The hope is that this model will increase productivity for individuals and small teams and improve the employee experience. Executives benefit from lowered costs and a boost in employee morale. Virtual work models offer a lot, but they have their downsides — namely, isolation. An in-person worksite comes built-in with interactions that establish trust, social cohesion, and a sense of belonging. A virtual environment may increase feelings of distance or unhappiness among remote workers. The hybrid virtual model is a little from Column A and a little from Column B, which mitigates employee isolation. Talent management interacts with this work model in several important ways. Before going any further, however, we must explain what exactly talent management is. What is Talent Management? Talent management refers to the process of recruiting, developing, retaining, and growing the skills of workers. A talent management team determines what skills are needed to fulfill a business’s objectives, finds qualified recruits, trains them for their position, and supports them as they progress. The process of talent management continues long after an employee is hired and their initial training is completed. Talent management requires companies to continually motivate their workers to contribute to the company’s achievements. Companies may also provide their workers with additional training and learning opportunities so that they are prepared to fulfill other roles and positions later in their careers. Hybrid and Virtual Solutions: What Managers Can Do The human resource industry has developed solutions for the challenges presented by the hybrid virtual model that allow companies to perform talent management properly. Don’t Skimp on Collaboration One solution is to take advantage of the in-person days in a hybrid schedule. Bring employees into the office to offer them a place to connect with colleagues. Prioritize team building, mentorship, and collaboration during these days. Hold virtual and hybrid meetings. This can make up for some of the loss of work culture and sense of unity and shared purpose that remote work induces. Use Small Teams Another solution is for executives to create small teams, where the team members have most of or all the skills needed to carry out a project. To have a successful team, executives must put a lot of thought into the work environment and ensure that the team has all the resources they need. Executives must then oversee the team’s work with a light touch, while also knowing that the team cannot overcome bureaucratic challenges on their own. In essence, executives must balance the importance of teaching employee teams independence with the need to give them the resources and guidance they require to succeed. Having small teams also decreases the level of risk a business takes on. Smaller teams can work more effectively than large and unwieldy teams, as the former can better keep track of what tasks each member is working on, which members have the skills best suited for a task, and how they all fit together. Team Performance Building Self-Sufficiency Managers should only provide support from time to time or when necessary. This supportive structure fosters innovation and greater self-sufficiency within teams. To do this, managers need to demonstrate how independence for a team generates more value. This in turn can be done by giving a team the minimum amount of assistance needed to perform their duties, so that they become used to working without as much help or guidance from managers. Company managers also need to put strong performers on teams once created. The hope is that by placing their best-performing employee(s) on a team, the other team members will strive to be at the same level as the strongest member. Furthermore, strong performers — who are frequently experts in their field — help to teach and advise other team members. Include Consumer Experience Teams should not only be capable of internal operations but also external matters. That is, they should be able to measure consumer experience and tailor their work accordingly. Managers need to ensure that the team is aware of their consumers and consumer-oriented business priorities. Managers should allocate resources upfront for tracking the consumer experience relevant to their respective departments. Team Evaluation An independent workforce is useful, but it should not evaluate itself independently or internally. Company executives and managers must also provide feedback and change standard procedures appropriately. This includes allocating resources according to how teams perform and strategic priorities. Also, managers must hold teams accountable for any delays in their work, while at the same time understanding when delays are caused by factors outside the teams’ control and, when necessary, working to remedy the factors that cause the delays. To consistently advance the business’ mission and strategic priorities, management needs to consider both the company’s expectations and the work team’s actual situation. Managers mingling with their teams will also improve problem-solving and the level of communication between the two groups. Future Possibilities and Considerations As time passes and the effects of the pandemic subside, questions and possibilities will arise regarding work models. Should the hybrid virtual model continue to be used even after the pandemic ends and other work models can be consistently used again? What talent management advantages would a hybrid virtual model provide in a post-pandemic world? On the other hand, what problems could this model present? Positives The hybrid model could provide post-pandemic businesses with a way to expand their business by hiring workers from more disparate areas. Not only can the company pull from a larger pool of applicants, but the company could also send employees to a branch office if they have someone in that area. In addition, even when the pandemic fully ends, having employees work at home in shifts could help to reduce stress, and thus boost morale, motivation, and employee health. Remote employees can work in favor of cybersecurity, too. Hybrid Virtual Model = Talent Management The hybrid virtual model could also be used as a method of talent management itself. The nature of the hybrid virtual model allows companies to recruit workers easily and effectively. Again, companies can pull from a larger pool of applicants without having to find someone willing to relocate. Negatives On the other hand, this work model could also result in a business being stretched thin, without enough workers to perform important tasks that can only be done on-site. Furthermore, keeping track of the progress and struggles of employees working from home is more difficult than doing so on-site. Conclusion The hybrid virtual model does pose issues, but it is worthy of consideration. The model only slightly hinders talent management, and in fact, may optimize it in the stage of recruitment. Ultimately, whether or not to use the hybrid virtual work model depends on a business’s type of work, situation, and strategy of talent management. In the case that you do pivot your company towards a particular work style and environment, know that it is impossible to overstate the importance of technical documentation. Highly qualified technical writers can make your business transition smooth and successful. Wondering what that might look like for you? Click here to check out some case studies across several industries that technical writing and documentation have helped. How EDC Can Help Whether you need a single technical writer for a brief project or a team of consultants to produce a complete line of documentation, the quality of our work is guaranteed for you. Our clients work closely with an Engagement Manager from one of our 30 local offices for the entire length of your project at no additional cost. Contact us at (800) 221-0093 or email@example.com to get started.