5 New Job Roles for the Hybrid Work Era
Shifting workplace dynamics come with new responsibilities and challenges. It's not enough to transpose the traditional office to a remote or hybrid setting.
Tools and processes have changed. For example, collaboration and communication in many cases use a completely different set of channels than before the pandemic. Some employees may not be ready for such drastic changes. Some may simply not want it. Leaders and managers therefore have new responsibilities to employees, and have to rethink core aspects of work from performance assessments and career pathing, to communications, collaboration and project management, to employee well-being, engagement and culture-building activities.
Many organizations transitioning to a hybrid work model have fallen into the trap of inertia and missed the opportunity to re-design work to fit the specific needs of the business in these new settings. Or they've handed it off to departments already struggling under the burden of too much work.
“Management of remote teams is often handed to HR, a department already overwhelmed by pandemic fallout, record turnover rates and burnout,” said Rachel Williams, public relations specialist at Toptal, a remote company that offers a platform to connect freelancers with employers.
For the hybrid work model to succeed, the roles and processes that applied in the in-person workplace must be adapted to the new reality.
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Navigating the Transition to Hybrid Work
The transition to a hybrid work environment often requires training or upskilling employees. For instance, collaborating across a distributed workforce may require that leaders fine-tune their digital communication skills and revisit the purpose and format of their team meetings. Similarly, processing invoices for accounting personnel may look different when there is no headquarters where paper invoices are received — and notices sent. Likely, these employees are having to use new or updated software.
There's no doubt that the hybrid or remote workplace has accelerated digital transformation, catapulting many companies into the age of automation. While that's a positive sign of progress, organizations must be thoughtful in the way change is implemented and carefully weigh the impact it has on employees and productivity. Establishing new roles can potentially support this transition.
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5 New Roles to Consider for the Hybrid Work Era
As roles and responsibilities shift to accommodate new processes, hybrid leaders will likely begin to identify new areas of opportunities for more efficient work. Here are five roles either created or bolstered by the move to a hybrid work model organizations may want to consider:
1) Collaboration Tech Specialist
A collaboration tech specialist is responsible for building and managing essential collaboration software and communication platforms for an organization. In a hybrid work environment, many leaders and managers struggle with facilitating effective collaboration among their distributed workforce. This role helps businesses find, implement and manage collaboration and communication tools for optimal productivity and growth.
2) Head of Remote
A head of remote deals with the design and implementation of remote work procedures and operations to ensure a smooth and efficient digital workplace. “The mass, permanent movement of workers outside of the office requires a dedicated and knowledgeable leader," said Williams.
A head of remote work can help ensure clear communication, smooth onboarding and successful execution of tasks.
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3) Hybrid Work Consultant
The hybrid work consultant can help companies navigate a transition toward an effective hybrid work model — now and into the future. As companies attempt to scale back from completely remote or on-site models in favor of hybrid models, having a hybrid work consultant can be the difference between a smooth transition without disparity or bias and one that causes productivity to decline or workers to leave.
4) Employee Experience Manager
Employee experience managers (or employee engagement specialists) are responsible for tracking employee satisfaction and engagement using KPIs, performance reviews, one-on-one chats and surveys, among other tools. Doing so has become increasingly important as the workforce puts greater emphasis on culture and employee experience.
“I find the role of an employee engagement specialist crucial to the success of hybrid work,” said Marcus Clarke, CEO of UK-based digital marketing agency Searchant. He believes this role can have a big influence on the performance, drive and job satisfaction of employees.
For instance, an employee experience manager may design the company's engagement strategy to foster positive relationships, ensure consistent project or service delivery, and better manage processes and collaboration.
5) Internal Events Manager
An internal events manager is in charge of developing, planning and executing events and communications, both internal and external, from meetings and get-togethers, to podcasts, conferences and webinars. Because hybrid workplaces typically cater activities to two audiences, onsite and remote, it's essential to have a central resource overseeing these processes to ensure both groups are properly tended to.
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The Importance of Culture in Hybrid Work
With numerous opportunities available to remote workers and the Great Resignation still going strong despite rising economic headwinds, employers will have to continue to pay close attention to organizational culture. Microsoft's 2022 Work Trend Index showed that nearly half (46%) of employees consider a positive culture an essential part of working with a company. An additional 42% said they seek mental health and well-being benefits, and 40% feel its important to have a sense of meaning and purpose at work.
A significant number of employees are looking for more than a paycheck. To support these expectations, it's important for leaders to focus on employee engagement and support, particularly as they learn new processes and adjust to a new style of work.
When teams start missing deadlines and managers are overworked, employees can quickly become dissatisfied and productivity stunted. This can be an indication that in the transition to the hybrid work model, leaders have overlooked the need to re-think roles and whether the current workforce can fill them.