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Ollie Erable, Head of Human Resources

Like most HR leaders, People operations managers, and head of departments, the thought of working in a hybrid environment brought Ollie mixed feelings.

It wasn't long before Ollie was belting out in his head, "Enough of this sheet", and no, it's not for the reasons you may think. Ollie quite likes working in a hybrid environment as it allows him the flexibility to pop in and out of the office when it suits him. He spends around 3 days a week working from home and the rest in the office. Many of his colleagues have a similar arrangement. The main downside though, is that the only way Ollie and his team know who's going to be in the office, is by referencing their Excel spreadsheet, Google calendar, and Slack status'. There's really no single source of truth. If Ollie wants to know when the next time his colleagues will be in the office, there's no quick way to know.

Ollie's Approach to Hybrid

As the Head of HR at a face paced SaaS company transitioning into a Hybrid environment, it wasn't long before Ollie realized that their location-first approach to office management was falling short. Instead, he decided to adopt a people-first approach that focused on improving social interaction and bonding amongst employees as this was something they were struggling with. To do this, he adopted a slick Slack app with a people-first approach to social workplace interaction making the facilitation of bringing people together easier. Now, when his colleagues ask, Where's Ollie?, a simple view on a dedicated Slack channel lets his team know when he's working, and from where, providing a single source of truth that syncs with his Slack status, making it easier for team members to coordinate in-office or out of office meet ups.

Which values associated with a hybrid environment do you identify most with?

Curiosity & Flexibility! In a hybrid environment my team and I are constantly encouraged to evolve and grow to reach our full potential. As I am curious by nature, and seek out opportunities to learn on my own, the hybrid environment is somewhere I thrive in. It's crucial that employees working in this environment are proactive and ready to lead, regardless of their position. It's that curious nature of hybrid working that I really love. The other value of hybrid I really identify with is flexibility. Being able to work from home on days my family needs me close, or to have the chance to leave early if I need to run an errand, are incredibly important. Having the flexibility to adapt my schedule is something I place a lot of value on.

As a hybrid team, how do you reinforce company values across the organization?

I have to admit, it's not always easy. One of the main things we do is demonstrate the values from the top down. Meaning, leaders within the company live and breath our company values and set the examples for the rest. Our values are also ingrained into our company culture.

What are 2 of the best practices you use to foster engagement and employee development in the hybrid working environment?

  1. Tuning into what our employees actually need to be engaged, which means being open to their suggestions and listening to what drives them. Actively listening to the needs and desires of your team is one of the main drivers to fostering better engagement across the organization.
  2. We try our best to lesson bias in the workplace when it comes to promotions and advancements. It's easy for the achievements of remote workers to go un-noticed and un-recognized which is why we take the time to give regular shout outs and reward our teams.

How do you schedule who is in the office, making sure that the right people are in together?

Bringing the team together for work and none work related social interaction is something we prioritize. When we transitioned to hybrid, we struggled to find a way to make it easier for our staff to come together for out of office or in-office meet ups. Luckily, we were introduced to a Slack app that helped ease social interaction in the workplace. It's easy to use, integrates with Slack, and is fun! That's big for us. If we're using any gadget, plugin, or tool, it needs to promote engagement.