There are a lot of benefits to implementing a hybrid team for your organisation: health and safety, better work-life balance, flexibility for team members, and less costly (smaller) office space. Many organisations started working remotely in 2020, but that doesn’t mean they nailed it on the first try.
If your workplace is adapting to a hybrid work environment in 2022, you’re going to need to re-adjust yet again while part of your team returns to an office while others remain at home. How will each individual in your team react to these changes?
We’ve previously shared the importance of reboarding team members into the new ways of working, and that may be helpful to revisit. If you know your team’s behavioural preferences from DISC, the following outlines what each DISC behaviour needs in a hybrid work setting. This is based on the new DISC behavioural continuum, which is the cutting-edge way of looking at the DISC that you can read about in our knowledge centre.
Direct: Create a Clear Structure
Without clear instructions and check-ins, Direct team members like task-oriented work and achieving the goals they set for themselves, but their tendency to urgently take on tasks can cause their team members to feel left in the dust.
Use a scheduling team tool like Basecamp or Monday to lay out entire projects that break down into tasks. That way, Direct team members can stay on task and work at their urgent, preferred pace without leaving their team behind.
Encourage everyone to share exactly what parts of projects they’re working on, and build these checkpoints into projects. If reporting is just another step in the process, it won’t feel intrusive to Direct communicators while still remaining efficient.
Reflective: Over-Communicate for Excellence
Reflective team members try to avoid conflict. This can be a struggle on a hybrid team, where some team members can benefit from face-to-face communication while others can only rely on video meetings and/or email. When communication isn’t happening in-person, Reflective individuals may panic.
You can prevent miscommunication in the first instance by scheduling one-on-ones with your Reflective team members and expressing gratitude to them for their collaborative behaviours.
Outgoing: Better Bonding = Better Work
Outgoing team members are people-oriented, talkative and driven by interaction. Outgoing team members have likely suffered while working remotely without water cooler talk, coffee breaks, office inside jokes and regular chances to connect with others.
Have team bonding that is actually fun. Zoom cocktails have lost their appeal to many, so don’t make your team gather in the same way they do for meetings. Try playing a collaborative online game like Among Us or Overcooked, or have a lunch-hour watch party for a show your team loves.
Something entirely unrelated to work will help everyone feel like they’re together again. That feeling goes a long way with Outgoing communicators.
Reserved: Focus On Clarity
While you’re thinking of the miscommunication that happens in hybrid teams, Reserved team members may be feeling that pressure. They can be sceptical individuals, and that can cause them to read too much into written messages or even the small things like emoji choice in Slack.
Many people have gotten used to digital communication over the past two years, but that doesn’t mean they’re ready for hybrid teams. Make sure all team members are receiving the same amount of attention and information when tackling projects, noting successes, and giving feedback. Avoid sarcasm or any kind of figurative language that can be misinterpreted over chat.
Steady: Slower Pace
Steady team members prefer a routine or slow pace, defined responsibilities and clearly outlined expectations. Steady people want the opportunity to think through their projects multiple times with their team and on their own. This may be challenging if part of the team is remote and part is in-office.
Make sure that expectations and instructions aren’t just delivered verbally; follow up with an email with deliverables and utilise your project management software.
Make sure to get the Steady team member’s input on the schedule of a project as much as possible. If you’re simply dictating due dates and project pace, your Steady team members will feel overwhelmed or ignored. Ask them what feels reasonable for deliverables.
Dynamic: Moving Too Fast
Dynamic team members love jumping from idea to project to task without slowing down. This approach can cause problems when the obstacles of a hybrid team come into play — different time zones, working away from chat, not being able to pop into someone’s office for the answer they need quickly.
Even if instant chat is an option, people can’t always immediately reply. Establish communication requirements and preferences early on in your working relationships on hybrid teams, i.e “Slack me for regular requests, email for more formal questions, and text me in an emergency”.
These expectations will help lessen the anxiety about being ‘on’ all day for the rest of your team, but they will help Dynamic communicators prepare for how and when they get information from others.
Precise: Adjusting to Others
Precise team members enjoy rules and clear expectations, but don’t love ambiguity with others. This means they might overly rely on the agreed set of norms for using virtual tools. This can cause a disconnect with other communicators who need some face time.
Use different communication formats for different purposes. Remember that helping your Precise communicators push themselves out of their comfort zones will have positive benefits for their growth and their standing within your team!
That being said, let Precise communicators select their preferred communication method as often as possible. Lessening sources of stress is key to increasing engagement, and the less friction on your hybrid team, the better.
Pioneering: Free Spirited
Pioneering team members love forging their own path, but that can lead to troubles with a hybrid team. Their flexibility with communication formats and style might also confuse and discourage more rigid peers.
Take time to think, plan and/or simply get stuff done. Mark it on your calendar clearly. If you’re managing a Pioneering communicator, help them figure out their communication cadence and productivity. Take advantage of their free-thinking and outside the box approach to find creative solutions.
Succeed With All Styles
Overall, there are three things you need to do for success with all DISC styles of communication in hybrid teams:
- Over-Communicate: With your team partially at home and in-office, you need to make sure that everyone is always on the same page. Make sure the information they need is available over the phone, in-person, and over your shared project management system. If it feels like overkill, you’re doing it right.
- Over-Clarify: A lot of people experienced anxiety from the uncertainty of transitioning to remote work. Offer consistent feedback and make sure that your team has the channels they need to express themselves and any concerns. Clear-up KPIs and job descriptions.
- Over-Appreciate: When we say over-appreciate, we don’t mean that you need to be full of simpering praise all of the time. It’s important to remember that the risk of disconnect and disengagement is higher for hybrid teams if they are not managed properly. Use the knowledge you have about each of your team members’ preferences to show them you appreciate their hard work and effort.
Hybrid teams are the future of the workplace. Use your knowledge of your team’s communication and DISC styles (from the new continuum) to help them succeed in their roles.
If you're not sure where your team members fit across the eight descriptions listed above, then consider our Engagement Report. This is a concise and intuitive report that helps individuals understand their behaviour and motivations.
Note: This article was originally published by TTISI USA on 14 January 2021 by Jaime Faulkner. It has been updated for the Australia and New Zealand market, and it has been shared here with permission.