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Hybrid Working: Who should decide? Managers or Employees?

Many employers have yet to decide what their future hybrid working arrangements will be. With 68% of employees still unclear on how they will be carrying out their role (McKinsey 2021), this is creating great uncertainty.

It’s essential that you’re clear upfront how you’re going to engage employees in the decision process. So if you’re grappling with your #hybrid decision, here is a tool to support your decision making process. Our Spectrum of Decision Making tool helps you clarify the decision making rights upfront and promotes discussion about the pros and cons of each option.

If you’re opting for speed. Then mandate and inform in theory is the quickest, as there is no extensive consultation process. However, the level of buy-in is going to be much less. Research shows that involving our teams in decisions has been shown to increase employee engagement and job satisfaction. Engaging employees in key #changes that affect them reduces uncertainty and can make people feel less vulnerable. It’s impossible to find a solution that pleases everyone. However, #Hybridworking is most effective when everyone takes collective responsibility for making it work (even if people don’t agree with your decision). Employees may end up resenting senior management for thrusting a decision on them that makes their life more difficult. Where we work is deeply personal so it makes sense to involve the people affected by decisions relating to working location.

In hybrid #webinars we’re running, most #HR decision makers are opting for consult and decide. This again has pros and cons. It’s important that you explain upfront that YOU will be deciding, and how you will you be using people’s input. Give the reasons why you do or don’t act on their preferences so they understand the rationale.

If you do decide to let people decide for themselves. Remember, letting people decide should be about DELEGATING responsibility, not DUMPING it. Work alongside them to support them as they make the decision. Set the parameters of the decision. Be specific about what’s in scope, what’s out of scope of their decision in order to manage their expectations. Also, coach your people to make sure they consider the impact of their plans on other teams and cross functional processes as well. As well as being clear about the work they will do at home or in the office.

Finally, remember whatever you decide this is one big experiment. There is no precedent for this scale of hybrid working and its vulnerable to change from internal and external influences such as government policy. Be clear with people that whatever decision you make it will be reviewed and it’s likely to change. Set time frames.

Dani and I released our Hybrid #podcast yesterday and its full of tools, templates and insights to support you on your journey. There are also 2 free playbooks you can download to support you.
The podcast link is in the comments below!

Where is your organisation on the decision making spectrum?

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