Creating a thriving company culture in a hybrid environment

Key ideas:

  1. People, especially new hires, want a hybrid work environment.
  2. Establishing a connection with your employees is essential to establishing long-term success.
  3. COVID has changed the workplace landscape, but it shouldn’t negatively impact team culture.

When COVID introduced a more mainstream online work environment, it changed the way we interact with each other, often making it harder to build a team and build a company culture for new entrants.

Having worked with some of the largest Fortune 500 companies, Giselle Kovary, President of n-gen People Performance, aims to help organizations integrate culture, knowledge and high performance. Listening and communicating with others is integral to building a successful and happy employee future, and n-gen People Performance knows how to do just that.

Read Giselle’s thoughts:

Hello, I’m just Giselle Kovary, president of n-gen People Performance. We are a learning support organization that helps our clients bridge the knowledge gap and ensure their teams can perform better. We have worked with 20 of the largest Fortune 500 companies in the world and I have trained over 65,000 people over the past 25 years in this field.

And I’m really excited to talk about what we can do in a hybrid environment to ensure that our organizational cultures are as successful as possible. And one of the challenges organizations are facing right now is that it’s really hard for leadership teams, in particular, to take the pulse of organizational culture when people are still working from home.

So I hear CEOs, management teams, and boards all the time say: Do we really understand how well our employees are doing? Are they struggling with mental health issues? What happens around the connection? And especially when you think of all the people who got hired during COVID, got onboarded virtually, worked virtually, and didn’t get a chance to get back together.

So as organizations move their teams back into an office and come up with some variation of a hybrid work environment, I think that’s key to maintaining the organizational culture and ensuring that culture evolves into one that is perhaps a little different than it was before COVID. We really have an inflection point in organizations now and it’s a great opportunity to connect.

It’s also about figuring out what the right balance is for your organization, between working from home and working in the office. Some organizations go to one side or the other of the spectrum, but overall people are choosing some form of hybrid environment and I think that’s really, really essential. So it’s important to consider what employers should be doing right now, because there are so many different things they can do.

And we discuss with our customers around a model called TRP: transparency, responsiveness and partnership. And if leaders and the organization focus on these three things, they are truly able to solidify sticky employee relationships. And this ensures that engagement can be increased. So, transparency is about being more open, honest, and open with your organizational motivations and intentions. Responsiveness is about soliciting employee input, asking how things are going now, during the COVID transition in the organization, how do they feel about a hybrid work environment, getting their ideas and their suggestions. And partnership is really about taking a partnership approach that recognizes that every employee in an organization chooses to invest their time, energy, skills, and knowledge within your organization.

So how do you make sure it’s a win-win? And so part of what’s happening right now, as we go through this great resignation or this great migration, is that we’re having difficulty making sure that we can retain the right people. So we need to redouble our efforts on transparency, responsiveness and partnership to ensure that we can drive engagement, foster connection with people, as well as give people some flexibility and choice that will also essential in the future.

And I think one last thing to consider, when we think about how we can have this engaging culture in a new hybrid work environment, is to make sure we don’t overlook generational differences. This is one of my areas of passion. I have been researching and writing in this space for almost 20 years. And the early-career talent that we’ve been working with, say consistently for a year and a half, two years: we want to get back to the office. Maybe not, full time not all week, but we want to come back.

They are eager to receive coaching, mentoring and feedback. They are eager to connect with people and have social relationships. And we want to make sure that when they’re in the office, the right things are happening. They get the opportunity to bond with senior executives, they get the chance to socialize with people, it’s fun when they’re in the office. And that time at home is really focused on delivering some of the work that they need to do. And then also developing those essential skills around self-employment. So it’s a great mix and a great connection, but we don’t want to overlook early career talent and make sure they have a great setup to succeed in their careers.

I’m really excited to talk about this topic in a number of different places in the future. I will be at a few conferences in May and June. If you are at the ATD conference, absolutely contact me and find me. It is from May 13 to 16. May 26, I think so. 26th. Yeah, so May 26th I’ll be speaking at the campus recruiting forum.

And then in June, June 13-15, I’ll be at the SHRM conference in New Orleans and I’ll be speaking on the morning of June 14 and I’ll be speaking and presenting content and research on how you’re changing your culture in this hybrid working environment to make sure it’s really engaging and, and, uh, involving everyone.

I will be speaking at a number of different events over the next two months, I will be at the ATD conference, which is May 16-18. I’ll be speaking at the campus recruiting forum, uh, virtually on May 25, and then I’ll also be at the SHRM conference in New Orleans in June. So I think it’s June 13-15. I will be in the morning, speaking on the morning of June 14. And, uh, my presentation will be about research and content on how you can evolve your work culture to make sure you’re most successful in a hybrid environment. So I look forward to seeing you there and connecting.