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How to Build and Sustain a Connected Hybrid Team Culture

Feb 9, 2023| Reading time: 13min

BY Grace Lau

Director of Growth Content, Dialpad

Twenty years ago (in a galaxy far, far away), a remote workforce would have sounded far-fetched, but it’s a concept that’s common today – so much so that 42% of organizations are now adopting a hybrid method of working.

While there are certainly advantages to using a hybrid model over a remote one, some companies struggle to sustain connected teams due to a lack of consistent face-to-face communication. 

So what’s the solution, and how can you keep your hybrid teams connected? 

gallup hybrid work stats

More and more companies are shifting to a remote and hybrid setting. It’s therefore important to adjust your team culture to set up everyone for success.

The Importance of a Connected Team

When it comes to building a successful team, there’s one key ingredient that can’t be overlooked: connection. A connected team is a team that truly cares about each other, and it shows in the way they work together.

Think about it. When you have a group of individuals who are genuinely invested in each other’s success, it creates a ripple effect of positivity throughout the entire team. They support each other, lift each other up, and work together seamlessly to achieve their goals.

And let’s be real – who doesn’t love being part of a winning team? (Engraved championship rings may or may not be included). A connected team fosters a sense of belonging and camaraderie that makes people look forward to the work day.

But it’s not just about the feel-good factor. A connected team also means serious business. When everyone is on the same page, working together towards a common goal, deadlines are met on time, and projects are completed with precision and efficiency.

Ultimately, a connected team is a recipe for success. And who wouldn’t want a little bit of that in their work life?

The Challenges of Hybrid Work 

Hybrid work can be a game-changer for many companies. But let’s not sugarcoat it – there are definitely some challenges that come with the territory.

First and foremost, coordinating resources can be a real headache. When team members are scattered across different locations, it can be difficult to ensure that everyone has access to the tools and resources they need to do their job. And while these resources might be available in the office, access at home isn’t always guaranteed. For example, employees might need access to an office phone system or remote access to shared documents.This can lead to delays and frustration, which is never a good thing.

Scheduling can also be a challenge. When team members are working on different schedules, it can be difficult to coordinate in-person meetings and other important events. This can lead to confusion and miscommunication, making your people feel like ships passing each other in the night instead of collaborative teammates. 

However, by focusing on building a connected culture, you can overcome these challenges and still reap the rewards of a hybrid work environment.

Focus on Your Hybrid Culture to Build a Connected Team 

There’s a reason why people leaders are focusing on workplace culture: 66% of employees say company culture impacts their work and behavior every day. And, as we know, an effective work culture not only creates connection between employees and their employer, but also increases motivation and investment in achieving success. 

Therefore, to build stronger teams, focus on creating connections while building your hybrid culture. Check out the six ways to build a connected team below.

1. Design Values to Reflect Your Culture

Thomas Forstner of Juro explains that “values shape everything from who you hire to the type of environment you create for your employees and what you expect of them.” So before communicating and incorporating your values into your processes, it’s first important to have (or recreate) values that you want your company and people to embody.

Once you’re confident in your company values, you’ll want to embed them everywhere (think job descriptions, All Hands meetings, and compensation plans). Doing so will signal to your people that your values don’t just live on paper; they’re expectations of how your organization and teams work and interact.

Need help creating values you’ll actually use?

Learn how here

2. Establish Opportunities for Connection

Positive relationships with colleagues are important for personal and professional development, but building and sustaining these relationships can be tough for hybrid teams. It’s therefore important to focus on establishing in-person and remote opportunities throughout your employee lifecycle to enhance a sense of connectivity.

If you’re not sure where to begin, look to:

  • Introduce a mentoring system. Mentoring systems are an excellent way for employees to bond with tenured colleagues and help reduce knowledge and skills gaps.
  • Start a buddy system. Have an assigned colleague welcome a new member each time they join a team. Buddies can show newcomers the ropes and be a friendly face from day one. 
  • Schedule bonding experiences. Scheduling a regular cadence of social events (virtually and offsite) helps develop team-building skills and trust that will naturally carry over into day-to-day work.
  • Optimize time in the office. Make the most of in-person time by scheduling brainstorm sessions and lunches to help foster collaboration and a positive working environment. 
  • Equip employees with robust profiles. When your people have an employee directory at their fingertips – filled with information like hobbies, work history, and communication preferences – they’re able (and more likely to) build connections.

an org chart with employee profiles helps people stay connected

Employee tools within a modern people operations platform foster genuine connections across your organization – a must when you’re building a hybrid culture.

3. Create A Rewards System

Introducing a rewards system allows you to recognize your people, which is important, as 53% of employees feel valued most strongly through recognition and celebrations. 

Consider creating spotlight programs – such as Employee of the Month or Quarterly Value Awards – to reward hard-working team members. 

Just remember to tailor your recognition to each person’s unique preferences. Because let’s face it, not everyone wants a parade in their honor. Personalize your recognition and you’ll hit the sweet spot every time.

Employee Spotlight Template [ChartHop] (1)-01

Consider creating and sharing employee spotlights in All Hands meetings to showcase your people’s hard work. Snag the free employee spotlight templates here.

4. Collect Feedback Regularly 

Unfortunately, it’s easy for hybrid employees to feel detached from your organization and less valued than their full-time in-office counterparts. To avoid this problem, consistently survey your people to ensure their voices are heard.

Give your employees the opportunity to share their opinions by requesting feedback throughout their employee journey. Of course, it’s critical to then use that feedback to make changes for the better.

Over at Tealium, Chief HR Officer Adrianne Court knows that intentionality around culture is key, especially since their team of roughly 750 people spans across 17 countries. In order to develop their award-winning culture, Court surveyed the executive and leadership teams about the strengths and weaknesses of their company culture to develop a plan. And after rolling out the plan, Court met (and continues to meet) one-on-one with members at all levels of the organization to gather feedback.

5. Provide Effective Onboarding

Onboarding is extremely important to create a culture of connection, especially since you want all new hires to feel supported from their first day onward. But it comes as no surprise that hybrid teams may need extra support during their first few months at your organization, as they may feel scattered and unorganized until they get into the swing of things.

To strengthen your onboarding experience to support employees, as well as build a connected hybrid culture, consider:

  • Sending a cadence of welcome emails so your new hires are ready Day One.
  • Assigning onboarding buddies to help new hires transition smoothly into your company.
  • Ensuring IT providers are on hand to offer support while installing new equipment (in and out of the office). 
  • Creating an easily accessible resource center so any learning materials can be accessed via mobile users. 
  • Meeting regularly with new employees to track progress and address difficulties – and use hybrid meeting best practices for when employees are unable to attend in person. 

effective onboarding process

Creating an effective onboarding process helps retain your people and increase your revenue.

6. Schedule Regular 1:1s 

It’s critical for managers to check in with their people on a regular basis, but especially so when managing a hybrid team. That’s because a continuous performance management process helps build trust, increases engagement, and provides visibility into current and future tasks. Furthermore, your people will feel valued and have a clear understanding of how their role connects with and contributes to the overall success of your organization.

Use regularly-scheduled 1:1s as the secret weapon for your performance management success. Ask the right questions and you’ll be surprised how much your team will open up. Personal and professional support, check. Goals, check. With this consistent guidance and focus on connectivity, your people will feel a part of a connected hybrid culture in no time.

standardized 1:1 template

Standardized 1:1 templates, completed by employees, help direct reports guide the conversation with managers. These conversations are crucial to have, especially when focusing on developing your hybrid culture.

Culture is Key 

It’s no secret that the process of creating a connected hybrid culture takes time. But by doubling-down on your efforts, you’ll build a workforce that’s invested in your organization and eager for success.

By adopting the six best practices above while you focus on culture, you’ll build a connected team that positions you at the forefront of a world that’s transitioning to a more remote workforce.    


About the Author: Grace Lau is the Director of Growth Content at Dialpad, a cross-team collaboration and AI-powered cloud communication platform for better and easier team collaboration. She has over 10 years of experience in content writing and strategy. Currently, she is responsible for leading branded and editorial content strategies, partnering with SEO and Ops teams to build and nurture content. Grace has also written for other domains such as Apollo Technical and Leadfeeder

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