The Ultimate Guide for Successful Hybrid Teams: How to Effectively Lead a Hybrid Team

The Ultimate Guide for Successful Hybrid Teams: How to Effectively Lead a Hybrid Team

 Betsy Blog (1)Betsy Scherer

Here at Venture Lane, we believe the future is hybrid. What exactly do we mean by hybrid? Think: a co-located team where some folks are working full-time in an office, some are working full-time at home, and some are mixing it up and alternating between home and office. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we work forever. Because of this, Venture Lane has created a blog series to help early-stage B2B tech startups navigate the hybrid terrain as we figure out the 'new normal' together.

RELATED: Download our COVID-19 Playbook

How to effectively lead a hybrid team... 

Strong leadership is more important than ever and your team is looking to you for guidance. The pandemic calls for clear and purposeful communication. The purpose of this post is to help leaders make adjustments to effectively lead a hybrid team, we'll cover:

  1. Why transparency is key..
  2. How to manage company culture...
  3. How to keep the team accountable and scale...
  4. How to avoid silo culture...

Let's get started!

Why transparency is key...

  • Ensure everyone is on the same page. Share company wide goals with everyone. If possible, provide numbers and share context. This helps foster a trusting and committed team. 
  • Be wary of taking it too far. Sometimes, tech startups can get carried away with transparency. Some things should always remain private, like your team's salary information. 

RELATED: How to Prevent 'Us Versus Them' Culture for Hybrid Teams

How to manage company culture...

  • Create a guidebook. Lay out the processes, routines, expectations, and how you'll work together as a team in a hybrid sense. Keep it fresh and revisit: is it still working and applicable?
  • Consider the remote-hybrid-office team split. What is your current ratio? How is it changing? And how is it affecting culture and productivity?
  • Have an opinion on how your remote + hybrid teams works. As an example, Trello had folks who wanted to live a digital nomad life whether they traveled around without having a specific home base. Does that work for your company culture? It wasn't the right move for Trello so they instead encouraged the team to take vacation and disconnect rather than travel and simultaneously work. 
  • Establish and communicate your vision-mission-values. This should start with the onboarding process and should be continually reinforced and reassessed.
    • Revisit vision-mission-values during quarterly planning with the team. Does your team think revisions need to be made? Are you all operating with your values in mind?
  • Be cognizant of how you communicate. How you communicate (and what you say!) greatly impacts your team. As an example, if it's important to you that your team manages their work-life balance, don't publicly celebrate when someone has worked long hours. This communicates that results gained from overwork are the new norm and may pressure others to overwork themselves to meet expectations. 

How to keep the team accountable and scale...

  • Track your goals weekly. Whether you track OKRs or KPIs, check in with your team every week to gauge progress, help with roadblocks, and assess whether the goals are still applicable.
  • Utilize trackers. Software or excel, both are great options for staying organized.
  • Utilize productivity tools. Collaboration tools for hybrid teams are paramount.  Try Asana and Trello to help your team to create workflows and to-do items that are directly determined from meetings and quarterly goals. If you're looking for more of a task-list tool, consider Todoist and I Done This.
  • Focus on fact-based evaluations. With hybrid teams, it's common for leaders to unconsciously overlook a group in a certain location (think: remote employees since they are not physically seen in the office) as not adding as much value as team members sitting next to you. 
    • Understanding that you may suffer from this bias will help build self-awareness and prepare you for situations when your perception might be distorted.
    • Be intention: try implementing fact-based evaluations for all members  and holding everyone to the same standards.
  • Try out the Coredna hack! Our member company has a Slack channel where they list what they did yesterday and what they're working on today. They host a daily standup and this saves time and helps them connect as a team. 

RELATED: How Hybrid Teams Should Manage the Physical Workspace

How to avoid silo culture...

  • Stress the importance of forming relationships. When silo culture appears [definition: an unwillingness to share information or knowledge between employees or across different teams], it inhibits communication and introduces an element of competition between team members. This generally pushes team members towards concentrating on their own goals while significantly hindering the startup's goals as a whole.
  • Start at the beginning. Onboarding is the first step. Ensure that your team and your new hires have the opportunity to bond and form relationships.
    • Consider the buddy system. Assign each new hire a buddy [think: a seasoned member of the team]. Ask that they check-in with one another monthly. Even better, assign cross-team buddies. Who knows? This could help with cross-team problem solving and collaboration down the road!
    • Fostering strong bonds across hybrid teams takes time and effort. Ask yourself: does your team feel comfortable reaching out to others for non-work-related chats? If not, lead by example and make sure your team knows this is a priority.

Interested in implementing a hybrid team? Learn more about Venture Lane's new membership offering and pricing.