Considering the impact of the Great Resignation, the name given to the global trend that is seeing skilled workers resign en masse, findings like these highlight the need for companies to actively consider and implement hybrid work models as a key means of retaining existing and attracting new talent.
And that is because hybrid work models place the needs of the employee first and foremost by offering them a best-of-both approach to where work gets done. It combines the flexibility of work from home (WFH) with the creative, collaborative environment the office provides.
Hybrid work models offer both employers and employees many benefits, but effectively leveraging those advantages requires the leadership and management of a chief hybrid officer (or head of hybrid, or even people officer) to function as the link between the workforce and the workspace in a hybrid setup.
The chief hybrid officer is, unsurprisingly, a hybrid of an office manager and an HR officer but with a cross-functional, change management skillset. In order to ensure that the benefits of hybrid work stick, we need to embrace this as an opportunity to reimagine how and where work is done, which invariably requires the right kind of management.
Starting with checking assumptions about the nature and nuances of work at the door, the chief hybrid officer is concerned, first and foremost, with ensuring remote and in-office teams remain connected at all times and that company culture doesn’t suffer as a result of an out-of-sight-out-of-mind situation.
The chief hybrid officer’s exact job description will differ across industries and organisations but the results those in this position are expected to deliver will have a golden thread running through them. These may include designing and managing a consistent work experience for all teams, maintaining engagement and supporting employee wellbeing in various ways.
It goes without saying that the chief hybrid officer also needs to be tech savvy, a natural communicator, a comfortable facilitator and the neutral link between the leadership of the organisation and the various teams.
Empathy is central to what the chief hybrid officer needs to bring to the role as the champion of a philosophy that acknowledges that productivity and performance have finally been disengaged from place.
The chief hybrid officer will lead the continued evolution of the workplace, while recognising that it is going to involve a lot of experimentation. A research director at Gartner, Alexia Cambon, sums it up" “As a result of all that experimentation, it makes sense to have a dedicated source.”