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Creating and retaining successful hybrid teams

3rd May 2022
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Creating and retaining successful hybrid teams: Developing leadership skills.

In many ways, the world of work has been turned on its head.  When Covid-19 first forced us to work from home, few would have predicted the speed at which the pandemic propelled us into a world where hybrid working has become the norm across so many workplaces and sectors.

Of course, hybrid working - when employees split their time between a centralised workplace and a remote location - has existed for many years in certain sectors.  What’s new is how rapidly organisations across all sectors have had to adopt hybrid ways of working in the face of the pandemic.  Many hybrid team leaders have therefore found themselves managing a geographically dispersed workforce for the first time and with very little preparation. 

As financial recruitment specialists, we have been following, with interest, the changing management skillset now required of accountancy and finance team leaders.  We have identified a number of these key skills and competencies as discussed below. 

Communication, communication, communication 

Successful leaders have always needed strong communication skills however managing a hybrid team requires even more effective and sophisticated skills in this area.  Leaders of hybrid workers need to be able to instil a sense of belonging to a dispersed team, spot problems remotely, monitor productivity and communicate a sense of trust in their team – all without the benefit of regular, in-person contact. 

Emotional intelligence 

Leaders of hybrid teams need to display high levels of emotional intelligence.  The past two years have created huge upheaval and stress for many employees, often changing the way they feel about work, their personal circumstances and sometimes their mental and physical health.  Some team members have been desperate to return to the office while others have been and continue to be more fearful of such a return.  The ability to manage different needs and pick up on the more subtle wellbeing indicators is therefore an important leadership skill, as is dedicating time for personal conversations and emotional support for team members. 

Managing hybrid team dynamics 

Providing opportunities for all team members to have a ‘voice’ is key to ensuring that everyone in the hybrid team feels valued, irrespective of where they are working.  Understanding and proactive management of a cross-section of personality types to ensure nobody is excluded requires even more effort in a hybrid working environment.  Office-based leaders will need to work even harder to ensure that they engage equally with remote employees to avoid a ‘them and us’ culture. 

Flexibility and fairness 

Above all else, leaders of hybrid teams need to be flexible and innovative in their thinking.  They need to be able to challenge the traditional way of doing things – rethinking how employees are rewarded, and how to measure productivity and quality of work by means other than how long they are at their desks!  Career progression will need to be equal and fair for both office-based and remote staff. 

In summary, what hasn’t changed in the new hybrid working world is the need for highly skilled finance and accountancy professionals to continue to create environments which promote productivity and ensure the retention of talent. 

Lisa Wintrip [email protected]

Director, Fletcher George Financial Recruitment 

Fletcher George is an independent finance and accountancy recruitment agency working, primarily with finance and accounting professionals in South West London and Surrey including the Hampshire and Sussex borders.  We recruit for both Public Practice and commercial businesses in the local area. 

For more information, please contact Lisa on: 01372 364 160 or by email: [email protected] 

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