Common Challenges When Managing a Hybrid Workforce

Common Challenges When Managing a Hybrid Workforce

Managing a workforce that is comprised of employees from multiple countries or territories can be challenging due to the differences in culture, time zones, communication methods, and languages.

As the business environment continues to evolve, the benefits of using a hybrid workforce are becoming more apparent. Hybrid workforces—where a varying combination of employees work remotely, use a mix of office/home locations, or travel for work—are becoming increasingly common as a means to provide flexibility to employees, reduce overhead costs, and manage a changing business environment.

Even though the hybrid workplace model is still in its early stage, organizations need to be aware of its challenges, understand how it will affect their company, and devise methods to avoid problems before they develop. Here are the common problems to keep in mind while implementing a hybrid work strategy:

Communication

The hybrid workforce is a new concept for most organizations. Although many employers have been implementing this workforce strategy for years, many are still experiencing challenges with communicating to, and connecting with, hybrid workers.

The hybrid workforce seems to be growing at light speed. And by hybrid, we don’t just mean a blend of part-timers and full-timers but a mix of employees who prefer to communicate via text, email, phone calls, or even face-to-face. And while this is possible because hybrid workers have a wide range of communication preferences, communication challenges can arise for executive teams, managers, and supervisors.

Coordination

The digital transformation taking place across industries has initiated a shift in work habits. Many companies are extending their workforce beyond the traditional workforce, including independent contractors, freelancers, part-time workers, and temporary employees. As more organizations turn to a hybrid workforce, some coordination issues arise. Hybrid workforces are an emerging trend that challenges traditional hierarchies and structures. As organizations increase their use of hybrid work, a common challenge they face is fostering collaboration between remote and co-located teams. This is where things like cloud-based software really comes into its own, as it can enable collaboration, no matter where in the world employees are. 

Proximity Bias

Hybrid workforces are on the rise. According to many experts, this can work in your favor, providing many advantages. But there are also challenges, including that of proximity bias. Proximity bias is an unconscious bias of people toward people who are closer to them, regardless of whether those people are qualified or not,

Hybrid workforces are poised to be the next major shift in how organizations work. However, according to the Aberdeen Group, 56 percent of organizations fail to realize the full potential of hybrid workforces. Because, let’s face it, when employees in one geographic location work remotely, working with colleagues in different geographic areas can pose numerous challenges, including a lack of accountability, miscommunication, and cultural challenges – plus it can be tricky to coordinate people who are in multiple time zones.

Connection

As a business owner, one of the most important things you can do is identify your most important resources. Your employees can be your greatest asset in your business, so it is crucial to make sure that you know who your most important resources are and how to connect and communicate with them effectively.

Even though technology has undoubtedly improved working relationships between team members, communication may be a challenge. The dynamics between employees today are changing. Work is more flexible, teams are more diverse, and work locations are farther apart. The challenges of hybrid workforce technological communication, logistical coordination, and social connections are immense, particularly when the team is distributed or remote, so employers may wish to encourage communication through social events, a workplace messaging app, etc.

Performance Management

A hybrid workforce is an organization’s workforce that is made up of full-time employees, part-time employees, contractors, consultants, and other non-employee workers. The hybrid workforce approach can be an effective way to align an organization’s workforce with strategy, deliver value to customers, and grow the business. However, a hybrid workforce brings with it challenges that need to be addressed, and one particular challenge is performance management.

Developing a clear understanding of the hybrid workforce’s underlying challenges is pivotal to a successful performance management process. The hybrid workforce is comprised of workers who traditionally worked 9-5 hours and are now expected to work non-traditional hours, whether they are working full-time or part-time. The challenges of the hybrid workforce are often multifaceted, ranging from general employee productivity to attendance management to collaboration. The hybrid workforce presents unique challenges to traditional performance management systems, so HR professionals should approach performance management with a flexible mindset.

Organizational culture

Implementing a blended workplace can be extremely challenging. One of the greatest challenges to this can be the organizational culture. Hybrid employees may present unique compliance challenges but can also have many advantages. Organizations that fully embrace the Hybrid Workforce culture solve common challenges using hybrid workforce strategies. These strategies help organizations overcome the challenges associated with hiring, retaining, and motivating employees and contractors by providing flexibility, allowing employees to work remotely, and using independent contractors to perform work.

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