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The Rise of the Hybrid Workforce and the Hybrid Workplace

The world of work is undergoing dramatic changes before our eyes. While geographical and industry-specific differences might exist, the macro shift in today’s open talent economy is global and applies to almost every industry sector. It requires employers and employees to come to terms with a new environment, in which flexibility and adaptability have priority over job security and long-term (if not lifelong) employment, structured environments, and standardized roles and responsibilities. (The Economist ´s Future Works event, 2020) 

One of the big global megatrends is the rise of a hybrid workforce and the hybrid workplace. It places new demands on broadening the scope of talent management processes and raises the need to increase focus on having strategies for interacting with external workforce in addition to focusing on managing and developing internal talent. 

These are some of the features indicating we are undergoing a dramatic shift in the way we work and the way we lead

  1. Organizational boundaries are becoming more blurred in the networked economy.
  2. Employees will work more in teams–many of an ad hoc nature.  Individual work will decrease.
  3. Work relationships will include more external elements where individuals who barely know each other will have to work together.
  4. Informal groups of people outside the direct control of a company will impact its success or failure. Social media groups are one example of this change.

These macro shift in today´s open talent economy places new demands also on company´s talent management processes and strategies. 

  1. Building talent hubs of both internal and external employees broadens the concept of talent pools and may give access to specific niche expertise. 
  2. The need for flexible needs-based access to talent seems to increase. 
  3. Agile and light talent management processes to be executed throughout the organization, put´s new demands on leadership. 
  4. The trend is to broaden the scope of talent management. 
  5. Companies that are able to attract and are agile in using a hybrid workforce strategy are likely to be the winners in the changing world of work. 

Broadening the scope of talent management and building talent hubs – some focus areas

Focus on both internal and external workforce and re-define scope of talent management processes

The rise of the hybrid workforce and the hybrid workplace places new demands on leadership

Talent hubs and networks to ensure access to needs-based talent: how to engage with external talent becomes a differentiating factor

Implications on leadership

  • Leading a hybrid workforce and a hybrid workplace put´s emphasis on building leadership capabilities and a great leadership culture for leading virtual teams of different locations and employment types
  • Having skills in virtual facilitation has become an essential competency for any leader. Successful facilitation occurs when you develop interpersonal relationships to inspire commitment, form collaborative partnerships and develop strategic operations by creating dialogue and running effective meetings
  • According to CCL research, some of the specific limitations of virtual teams include some people participating more than others, difficulty in dealing with conflict, and trouble developing trust
  • This becomes even more complicated when you work with people you have never met before
  • A critical success factor is the ability to install affinity and trust in the virtual world of work
  • While leaders can work to improve their communication in general, there are a number of improvements that leaders can start today that will have a big impact on their effectiveness of their virtual communication and their ability to install trust in leading a hybrid workforce in a networked talent economy (CCL research)

How does your organization score on critical success factors for leading a hybrid workforce and a hybrid workplace? How are you developing your leaders to meet the challenges and to leverage the opportunities?

Sonja and Ann-Marie, Leader Potential Group´s organizational consultants.