[Recap] Managing Hybrid Teams – What DBS, TikTok, and VNG Say

Five elements are critical to successful hybrid and remote teams and models. This includes clear policies and redefining.

[Recap] Managing Hybrid Teams – What DBS, TikTok, and VNG Say

For people managers, work life has certainly become more challenging. Managing hybrid teams means being under increased pressure to perform while adapting to a completely different working method.

Hybrid team management requires significant work to ensure that team members understand their roles, communicate and collaborate effectively, and, perhaps most importantly, remain engaged.

During our "Power Hour" webinar, three experts from DBS Bank, TikTok, and VNG, shared their insights on how the best hybrid managers tackle these challenges based on questions submitted by our audience:

Abhishek Mathur - J&J, Spacematrix, VNG

Adeline Liew - SVP EX, DBS

Klara Krok-Paszkowska - Tiktok

Below are key insights from the panel. If you're interested in how you stack up, take our Hybrid Manager Quiz here and get tailored advice on where to improve.

The Context of Managing Hybrid Teams

FlexOS CEO Daan van Rossum kicked off the webinar with some context about the state of hybrid management in 2023.

1. People Love Hybrid Work Because it Taps into Primary Human Motivations

Daan shared that people love hybrid work because it directly taps into core human motivations: agency and control.

Agency is the level of control over your work environment. This includes having a say in the company's direction, the ability to collaborate with colleagues, and the opportunity to pursue personal and professional development.

Autonomy is the level of independence in our work. If you have autonomy, you can make decisions, take risks, and exercise judgment without constant supervision. According to self-determination theory, autonomy is one of three basic psychological needs contributing to well-being and vitality.

Both are present in hybrid work and remote work, where people control much more of how, when, and where they work. This increases motivation, engagement, and retention.

Gartner underscored this. The consultancy recently released the "Human Deal Framework," and noted that feeling autonomous and enjoying radical flexibility is key.

Daan also noted that according to FlexOS research, it is hard to put it back once the genie is out of the bottle.

1 in 2 employees said in our survey that they would consider quitting their job if they no longer could work hybrid.

2. The five must-haves for amazing hybrid teams

Daan shared that from researching what the best hybrid and remote companies and managers have in common, FlexOS found five key elements critical to excellent hybrid teams:

  1. Create clear hybrid guidelines, communicate them well, and improve them over time based on data and feedback from your employees.
  2. Create great, engaging, intentional office days.
  3. Optimize the entire Employee Experience journey for hybrid work, and take Culture, DEI, Wellbeing, and Technology into account at each stage.
  4. Create a best-in-class Hybrid Workplace optimized for activities the office is best placed to fulfill, and then measure and improve that workplace.
  5. Use data, personalization, and optimization throughout.
Managing Hybrid Teams – 5 key elements

 The full research can be found in our Hybrid Excellence Playbook.

3. Managers are More Important than Ever

In hybrid and remote organizations, the manager becomes even more important, for example, in building company culture. Daan shared some insights that underline this point:

  • Managers account for at least 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores across business units. (Gallup)
  • Employees are 3.5 times more likely to say they were satisfied with their onboarding experience when managers played an active role. (Microsoft)
  • Employees are 7.9x more likely to stay when offered regular growth opportunities by their managers. (Humu)
  • Employees are 13x more likely to be satisfied with managers helping combat burnout and are 3.1x more likely to quit without. (Humu)

But because managers now carry such a heavy load, they're also more under pressure than ever. The research shows that the attraction rate among managers is much higher, as is burnout.

Insights from the panel

In a fun and lively discussion based on questions submitted by the audience, the panel shared advice about how to manage hybrid teams best.

Abhishek set the tone and framed the context of the discussion. While the format and ways of working may have changed, he reminded us that the key challenges submitted by the audience, like communication, engagement, and building culture, are nothing new. He also reminded us that many people worked flexibly before COVID.

Adeline shared that building trust is more important than ever. To get trust, you have to give trust, she noted. She also highlighted that information can now be exchanged asynchronously, which means you can collaborate with your team without being on live calls or meetings. This provides more flexibility to the team.

Abhishek built on this and shared how technology like Lexi Daily can provide opportunities for managers to manage better. For example, by creating clarity and aligning priorities better. Something that happened naturally in the office but takes more effort remotely.

Adeline addressed the topic of team communication. For her, it all starts with a clear team charter, the team's rules of engagement. In this team charter, the leader would capture how to work with them and how the team should expect to collaborate. Adeline also shared that hybrid work requires a lot of empathy and that DBS Bank is retraining its staff.

Klara further energized the panel on building culture in hybrid and remote teams. TikTok uses Lark, making it easy for team members to celebrate each other's accomplishments. Klara mentioned that feeling comfortable sharing your accomplishments and building your personal brand is key for remote team members. If people don't feel comfortable sharing their work, they can start by celebrating others.

Managing Hybrid Teams – Driving Recognition and Celebration

She mentioned that she often sees team members highlight work they're proud of and then showered with fireworks emojis from around the world. Adeline added that it can be as simple as saying "I Thank You" (ITY.) To keep culture and engagement high, managers should stay creative and keep meetings interesting with tools like TikTok and Kahoot, said Klara.

Abhishek built on this by saying that managers should beware of unconscious bias. Research shows that people who are 'under your nose' often benefit more than those who are remote.

Klara spoke about work-life balance, another topic that was highly requested by the attendees. For her, it's all about setting boundaries. A flexible work schedule should allow you to tailor your work toward your personal circumstances. But we often overwork or take on too much, so we don't get the actual benefit. So setting boundaries is key. For example when your work asks for many calls at night or work on weekends. Practice "the power of NO."

Many managers asked how to get people back to the office. Abhishek said it's all about understanding what people want from the office. For some, it may be where they have the facilities they don't have at home. But for everyone, it's a place to meet, socialize, and collaborate. Managers should avoid calling in employees to do Zoom calls behind their desks. Bring them in for collaborations, training, one-on-ones, and things done better in person.

Adeline concluded the webinar speaking about setting expectations and managing outcomes. She shared that she focuses on true two-way communication. She sets clear expectations and then asks team members to play back what they heard to ensure they're on the same page. Then it's about full transparency, ensuring everyone is in the loop. Team members will estimate the time required, practically setting their own deadlines. Then, it's all about helping remove blockers when and where needed.

FlexOS Deeply Thanks Our Panelists for their Great Insights!

Watch the Full Webinar

Hungry for more? Read on!

FlexOS helps you stay ahead in the future of work.

These are our latest articles.