HOW TO BUILD A HYBRID WORK STRATEGY IN YOUR COMPANY

The great HR dilemma.

What work model are we going to implement in my company after the pandemic? Many HR managers are now asking themselves that question. The dilemma between returning to the pre-COVID model, keeping teleworking as the preferred option or implementing a hybrid model is a constant in our companies.

In the accompanying graph, I make a brief differentiation between the characteristics of a COVID teleworking model and those that a post-COVID model should have.

To help you reflect, here are some clues about what a good management model should contain.

Finding the ideal implementation strategy

The next step is that you have a good implantation method. I remember that a few years ago Fortune magazine published an article stating that only 10% of companies manage to implement their strategy successfully. So that this does not happen to you, I suggest that you spend some time writing your implantation model. By way of example, I list some elements that this model must necessarily have:

  1. Scope and modalities to apply.

    Not all companies can telework or not all people in the same company can work with the same model. It is very important that you clearly identify exceptions and that you determine the possible modalities (ranging from one day teleworking to full teleworking). In all cases, attendance shifts must be recorded so that there are no collapses or "valleys" of attendance at the office.

  2. Work hours and flexible hours.

    New ways of working involve new ways of managing time as an element of consideration in the employment relationship. In addition to the hackneyed issue of time control, you must establish synchronous work periods -all working in that time slot-, asynchronous work periods -time flexibility- and digital disconnection periods and their conditions -obligatory in some countries-.

  3. Rights and duties of employees.

    The new scenario will mean the adaptation of their rights and duties, which is why they usually need a collective agreement with the unions. We refer to aspects related to occupational health and safety -how and under what circumstances the job evaluation is carried out or how new occupational risks, such as techno-stress, are managed-, information security, data protection and right to privacy and the complex issue of possible compensation for teleworking expenses (by the way, mandatory in some countries).

  4. Device management.

    It is not a minor issue. First, you must decide if the company will take charge of the devices for remote work or it will be the worker himself who provides them (BYOD model, acronym for 'bring your own device'). In the first case, you will have to decide if that device replaces or complements the office device. If you replace it, you will have to think about a new configuration of the spaces - hot desk without assignment of position? - and if it complements it, you will have an extra expense that will have to think about how to rinse to meet the budget.

  5. Performance management.

    Are you sure your performance model will work in the new environment? Performance management systems are based on competencies, in turn based on behavioral evidence. The problem is that many times these behavioral evidences require the observation of behaviors by the manager.​​ Without physical contact, that observation declines, and therefore is less.. The new models are based on constant individual and collective feedback. Spend time on this, it is one of the most strategic aspects in the medium term

  6. System governance and legal aspects.

    One of the critical success factors in the implementation of a hybrid or remote work model is to ensure that its access and operating conditions are predictable and known to all. That happens, in addition to what is established in the first point, to decide whether it is HR or a collective body that resolves the incidents or to write a model annex to the employment contract -in some countries it is mandatory-.

Manage Change. The pending challenge.

When you have defined -and written- the new model, you will have to manage the change correctly, so that implementation is assumed and shared by the entire organization. Apart from the fact that you may require a collective agreement with the unions (in that case the model can be a good draft), I recommend that you start by training your leaders. Without your proactive collaboration the model will not work.

Author: Ricardo Alfaro Puig

Related articles by the same author:

https://managerslab.com/en/keys-to-implement-teleworking-in-your-company/

https://managerslab.com/en/claves-para-implantar-con-exito-el-teletrabajo-en-la-empresa-2/

https://managerslab.com/en/five-key-financial-aspects-of-telecommuting/


HOW TO ENHANCE COLLABORATION BETWEEN WORK TEAMS

Breaking silos in the 21st century company

When a company grows large, it needs to be structured into departments in order to be more efficient. It then begins to put together a series of procedures that the entire organization has to follow. So far so good.

The problems start when those departments super-specialize. Then they tend to focus exclusively on what they do and lose the global perspective of the organization. When this phenomenon becomes general, the famous 'silo effect' appears. Then, they begin to work in isolation, without transfers or flows of information between them. According to a study by PwC, half of the companies work with silos.

The antidote to reducing or eliminating silos is collaboration. In this hyper-connected world we live in, collaboration has become a true management obsession.

Three manifestations of business collaboration.

The current remote or hybrid work does not help to eliminate silos between different teams or departments. This is so because social interactions between people are reduced as presence is reduced. But, on the other hand, today there are very few processes or projects that remain in a single department.

In this environment, it is imperative that leaders promote collaboration. First of all, between colleagues, because it's not about competing between departments, it's about cooperating between colleagues. And secondly, and there is the key, within the teams. In this sense, you should bear in mind that there are three types of collaboration or cooperation.

  • Intra-departmental collaboration: Between members of the same team. It is the easiest to get because you all belong to the same tribe.
  • Inter-departmental collaboration: This is more complicated because it affects different tribes. Here the work that is done between leaders is important
  • Open collaboration: This is the future of business. Alliances are sought to win, between different companies. 

Three ways to break silos in a hybrid organization.

One of the great challenges for companies is to break down the walls that exist between departments. For them we propose three very simple formulas, applicable to any organization.

  • Collaborative technology. Today technology is an ideal way to foster collaboration between teams. That's more powerful when you integrate office automation, file management, and communication on a single cloud platform. Right now, you can opt for either Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace. Many companies implement them exclusively from a Tech perspective. But for teams to embrace it and take advantage of its full potential, you need to put together adequate change management, promoting workshops that accelerate its adaptation in transversal business processes.
  • Collaborative methodology. In the first place, you must adopt adequate management by processes and by projects. In every organization, there are departments that work more on processes - they are more in exploitation - with others that work more on projects - more oriented towards exploration-. For both to feel integrated, it is very important that you have a very structured process map - defining a ‘main owner’ for each of them, but also adequate project governance. In the latter case, the adoption of project management technology such as Jira or Monday, for example, will help you a lot.
  • Collaborative leadership. Collaboration needs leaders who promote it with methodology. Training those leaders and creating human capital management projects will help you. In this regard, there are very interesting experiences. For example, a company decided to promote collaboration between functional areas by assigning ‘ambassadors’ from each department so that they could coexist for a time in others. Another experimented in the same way between the lines of operations and the corporate one, with the aim of increasing mutual knowledge and understanding, the seed of collaboration. Another created an internal recognition system for those people who demonstrated that they had made a greater donation of knowledge to the outside of their department. In any case, the HR departments have a very relevant role in this process.

Finally, remember that a company that does not encourage internal collaboration has too many numbers to succumb to internal bureaucracy and end up being uncompetitive. The prelude to his disappearance.


FOUR KEY FEATURES OF THE NEW INTERNAL COMMUNICATION

A model of relationships in hybrid work environments

Internal communication, part of the culture of an organization.

Company culture means how things are done, the personality and behavior of the organization. Until a few months ago, those of us who are dedicated to business management had as an axiom that a culture is only transformed if three elements are combined: strategy, determination and time. This was equivalent to saying that to drive change you needed a solid strategy (built from an inspiring vision), a strong determination on the part of the Management (and from there a cascading commitment) and a period of time to adapt the objectives. behaviors (the amount of time depended on the length of the gap between the current culture and the desired culture).

But in 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic arrived and many things have changed in our organizations. In 2019 few of us could trust that company culture could adapt almost overnight to a new paradigm. And he did, and with it the old axiom fell apart.

But we cannot forget that the change was due to an external cause, related to health, and of a temporary nature. Now it's time to start thinking about a new work environment: the post-pandemic work environment. And how we carry out internal communication in that transition is not going to be a simple matter. Because things are not going to be as fast as during the pandemic, but the reality to be managed is going to be very different from before.

Four characteristics of internal communication in new work environments

Communication management has always been one of the great pending subjects of management. It tends to be perceived as a permanent area for improvement. In fact, many of the problems of labor relations have their beginning in deficits in the communication between the management, the middle management and the employees. Well, if in traditional environments it is usually a complex element, in a hybrid environment it is much more so. Here are four characteristics that you have to take into account. Something like determining how communication should be in this new paradigm.

  • Predictable. In traditional work environments, linked to the presence of employees in the office, a manager can call a meeting at any time. No problem, just leave your office or cubicle and… that's it. Virtual environments are, by their very nature, more flexible. Employees need to know in advance when they are going to be summoned to a meeting. In this sense, routines become more important because they serve as a counterweight to flexibility. Remember that now you need to establish guidelines on which to base the governance of that communication: meetings set in advance, recording and dissemination of their results, communicated in real time but with set guidelines (one day a week, at a specific time each day) . All of this will help us prevent infoxication.
  • Continued. As we show in our post 'The New Management of Working Time', the best leaders hold continuous check-in meetings 1 to 1 weekly with each of their collaborators (48 meetings a year, 15 minutes of in-depth attention to each employed a week, 12 hours a year, what less). It is proven that teams that practice it reduce turnover and improve performance. Why? Because if you reduce the frequency of that check in (let's say once a quarter) the conversation becomes more generic since you don't remember the evidence on which your feedback is based. Remember, combine weekly group follow-up meetings with the entire team with personal feedback with each member. Your priority, as a leader, is to maintain that communicative routine, that of your team; manage the day to day.
  • Personalized. I think we will all agree that during the pandemic the meetings have become more impersonal, getting to the bottom of the issues without prolegomena. But these prolegomena are very important, also in management. In them, personal relationships are established that facilitate trust and agreement. But also, one of the main problems of communication in non-contact work environments is that they lose an important part of language: non-verbal language. Remember, communicate from the personal to the professional. Start by spending time worrying about people, their children, their health, their family ... Adapt the message to the conditions of each member of your team. Make him perceive that he is special and unique. From there, you can build a sufficient level of trust to honestly address any problem or difficulty.
  • Digital. I'm not just talking about tools. I am referring, rather, to the spirit with which an organization assumes the digitization of relations with and between its employees. You will need the technology to be just one channel. So, for example, remember to combine virtual meetings with face-to-face meetings. The former are more efficient for checking tasks and routines, the latter for engaging in brainstorming, innovation or negotiation processes. It is also important to create a multi-channel strategy for employees to communicate with each other and share best practices and reciprocal recognition. There are many technological models to service these strategies.

Once you have chosen those four topics on which to build the new post-COVID internal communication, you need to turn it into a plan. It is about making each team more predictable, continuous, personalized, simple and digital in how to communicate with and with each other. And lead by example. Remember that Aristotle already said that speeches inspire less confidence than actions.


THE NEW MANAGEMENT OF WORKING TIME

Does it make sense to continue managing people based on presence in hybrid work environments?

Productivity is the end, working time is the means.

Productivity is the quotient between the results and the time used to obtain them. In this way, the less time it takes to obtain the desired result, the more productive the system is. So it was about doing more with less.

In managing this difficult equation, many companies place more emphasis on the time factor than on the results factor. In these agile times it is a mistake that can have negative consequences.

Pathologies related to the traditional work time management model.

Continuing to manage human relations in the company based on the traditional concept of "working time" can cause some pathologies that do not exactly benefit productivity. Let's see two:

  • Reduce empowerment. If the prevailing culture in my company puts the emphasis on working time, leaders will use their energy to control this factor, rather than the one that corresponds to the result of the work. Many organizations allocate more resources to the day control system than to the performance management system.
  • Aligns the organization at the bottom of the performance. It is like the teacher who every day sets the bar for the level of the subject that he imparts to the lagging student. The rest of the class ends up getting bored. When this happens, people who ‘are there but are not there’ live together. Real work zombies, the problem is that their body is present and their mind is absentee. And those that remain end up procrastinating.

New ways of working and especially teleworking or hybrid work represent a paradigm shift that companies cannot ignore.

 

Four decisions you can put into practice to organize your work time in a new work environment.

In this new context, it is very important that companies make some decisions regarding the working time of their employees.

  • Define a predictable work model. According to the most recent studies, the preferred model to address this new post-COVID stage is the hybrid work model. But we must bear in mind that in this model there is a progressive disappearance of the boundaries between the time spent on work and the time spent on other tasks. And that can affect productivity. The solution is to design a telework governance model. It is about making known who can access the model and who cannot (obviously, a maintenance manager is not the same as a systems programmer, although both can be engineers), which days they can telework and which days they cannot, how they are managed the calls for meetings, how the onboarding of new workers works, how health and safety is guaranteed in the new job, etc.
  • Establish the ‘Pact of Time’. In a traditional work environment all work is synchronous. This means that all people work at the same time in the same space. If the leader wants to call a meeting, he just has to leave his office and call his entire team to the meeting. In a hybrid environment things don't work like that. At the same time you can have members of your team working in the office and at home. But as teleworking provides flexibility, it may be that at that moment the person is accompanying their children to the doctor or is doing the shopping. Flexibility is good, but it must be regulated. Thus, time bands must be established for synchronous work (all working) and others for asynchronous work (in which you can choose when you are going to use them).
  • Manage the digital disconnect. Who more or who has suffered less work stress in their life. Many times we forget that stress, by itself, is not bad. In fact, if we did not have stress we would not last long in this world, because it is what makes us be alert and perceive dangers. The problem is when that stress remains elevated for a long time. Then comes burn-out and with it plummeting productivity. This is something that is explained very well with the Yerkes and Dodson law. According to this, the performance will be optimal if the activation level is moderately high; On the other hand, if it is too high or too low it will negatively affect the result of the task. To avoid this phenomenon, more and more companies are betting on establishing active digital disconnection policies.
  • Train leaders. Many times it is forgotten that all change needs to be managed. It does not occur in automatic mode. It is very important that the company allocate resources to change the mindset of its workers, especially that of managers and managers.

 

Obviously many other measures can be activated in relation to working time. But please, let's forget about reducing them to the famous time control. Let's put the focus on performance.


The Art Of Giving Continuous Feedback

Leadership based on attention versus leadership based on control.

In my early years in the profession, when my boss ignored me, it was a good sign. Everything was going well. On the other hand, when he called me at his office, it was most likely to correct a task. It wasn't good news ...

Years later, I remember the appearance of the first performance management systems. My boss became my manager and that was a step forward. At the very least, he had the opportunity to have a scheduled annual interview about how he was doing.

The problem of traditional performance appraisal.

Over time I lost faith in those performance appraisal systems. Why? Fundamentally for three reasons.

  • Feedback with such a long time cadence is not efficient. The behaviors that give rise to the evaluation are forgotten and the conversation becomes ethereal, soft, without substance. And all the biases that social psychology experts teach us in training these models come into play.
  • The conversation focuses on weaknesses and not strengths. The competency management model itself speaks of gaps, that is, of differences between the correct level and the one you have, and then they assign you a plan for advancement or improvement. This is called, euphemistically, developing your areas of improvement.
  • Manager bias remains, regardless of whether the person or team being evaluated changes. Over time I learned that this is called the idiosyncratic qualifier effect and it means that every manager has a grading pattern (for example, hard / soft). When the person evaluated changes, the meaning of the grades should change, but this is not the case. In fact, according to recent studies, 64% of the qualification depends on the qualifier and not the qualifier

A new model of continuous feedback.

In short, trying to pigeonhole people based on a model is a mistake. What is the alternative?

Every day I believe more firmly in continuous feedback around what you do best. It is a very simple, free system that does not require elaborate software to carry it out. It just requires self-confidence and iteration. Let's see it:

Each week a check-in session must be held with each member of the team. One by one. It's about setting aside 15-20 minutes of your time to ask two questions:

  • What are the priorities for next week?
  • How can I help you?

And it is used to congratulate a job well done, but not in general - that must be done in public. The good work! It should be the beginning of a conversation (How did you think about that? How did you do it?, ...). It's like replaying a winning play.

If this exercise is done 52 times a year -without holidays-, in a predictable and scheduled way, with each and every one of the team members, individual and collective performance will rise. Any impediment will be detected and attacked quickly and interpersonal trust will be greater.

And despite this evidence, there are still managers who do not practice this continuous feedback and limit their interactions to managing emergencies or, what is worse, the scheduled performance assessment process.

The impediments to continuous feedback.

In my experience I have only found two impediments to the practice of continuous feedback.

  • The manager finds it boring or monotonous. Many confuse that practice with control. It's not about practicing spanning control, it's about practicing spanning attention. If the feedback is repeated every week, nothing happens; be paying attention to the employee, and that is leading. If you can't, you should think about doing something else.
  • The manager has too many people in charge. Many organizations lack precisely that, organization. And I'm not talking about the organization chart, I'm talking about efficient team segmentation. Remember that, by definition, small teams are more efficient. agile and with greater capacity to adapt to change.

In short, beyond the typical cascade of objectives, continuous feedback allows companies to cascade meanings and commitments. Worth it.


Three key elements of labor productivity

According to a survey conducted by Gartner of more than 5,000 HR managers in the United States and Europe during 2020, productivity is the second of their concerns, only behind the maintenance of corporate culture. We are facing one of the great pending subjects of management since Frederick Winslow Taylor.

Since the end of the last century, technological advances applied to work environments have not impacted on a significant increase in productivity. In fact, we continue to allocate more and more resources to control work. Thus, since 1983 the number of managers, supervisors and administrators has grown by 112%, compared to a 47% growth in other occupations. This has led, in general, to a greater aggregation of hierarchy layers, proliferation of C-level executives, multiplication of rules and staff teams, with increasingly complex processes and exponential growth of KPIs.

According to wikipedia, productivity is the relationship between the amount of products obtained by a production system and the resources used to obtain said production. In other words, the relationship between the number of tasks completed and the time taken to get them completed. As you can see, there are three fundamental elements in the definition: the time, the results (or completed tasks) and the people (who perform the tasks). From a management point of view, remote work has led to lower levels of supervision. In environments where data was not being used to measure that outcome, management committees have felt they were losing control of their teams' productivity. This has become very evident in the central services of large corporations, precisely the main clients of the new forms of remote work.

For all those who are incredulous of the ability of employees and middle managers to maintain adequate levels of productivity, despite being absent, we have good news and bad news. The good news is that people who were productive in face-to-face settings, in remote settings will be just as or more productive. The bad news is that those people who were not productive before the pandemic, working from home will be the same or less productive.

In any case, if you need to face the problem of productivity in your company, especially with these new ways of working, you should take into account three different types of management. Starting from the most operational and concrete to the most strategic:

Time management

Believe it or not, few companies spend the time necessary to train their employees on the most efficient way to manage work time or time blocking. Thus, they go from one topic to another without focusing on a single task. Going from one task to another without solving the first is a waste of time, efficiency and productivity. It is equivalent to running for the company 'like a chicken without a head' ... High-performance teams, on the other hand, learn to recognize those important tasks and segregate them from the urgent ones. They also learn to recognize and protect the focus tasks (those that generate the most value and that, normally, are the ones that the worker enjoys the most). They also learn to recognize essential management tasks (answering emails, writing internal memoranda, etc…) and allocate them the minimum possible time. And, above all, practice something as difficult as 'Stop starting, start finishing'.

Energy management

One of the most relevant problems of hybrid work environments is the disappearance of the barriers between personal time and work time. In fact, the surveys we carry out with remote workers show that many start their day earlier than in person and, above all, finish it later. It is not that they work longer hours, it is that the distribution of the day is different. The most important thing is to maintain an adequate level of stress during the day. Stress - and lately the associated phenomenon of techno-stress - has a direct correlation with performance and productivity. Thus, a worker subjected to unacceptable levels of stress is an exhausted worker and therefore not very productive.

On the other side of the matrix, a stress-free employee ends up becoming a zombie worker (his body is on the job, his mind and soul are long gone). And it will be very difficult for a zombie to regain its ‘flow’. The important thing is to maintain an adequate level of stress that allows the employee to reach his state of flow, with which he can be focused on his focus tasks

Decision management

This is the most important element. It has to do with aligning what individuals do with what the organization wants. Every organization needs to work with objectives and priorities. It is the way that employees find the meaning, the purpose of what they are doing. In this way, if you know the priorities of the company, you will find the sense of what to do and what not to do. Because if you have 15 tasks and you don't know which ones are more important and which ones less, you will end up not prioritizing them and being unproductive. As we said in the previous section, you will lose energy and end up ‘burned’. In this sense, the OKR methodology can give an efficient answer.

I like to think that working is like handling Chinese dishes (some of us remember that game that consists of keeping the greatest number of dishes rotating on top of a pole). The important thing is not so much wanting to keep an unlimited number of dishes turning -which is also impossible-, but rather learning to recognize which dishes are made of porcelain -the important ones-. These are the ones that should keep rolling. Plastic plates, if dropped, can be repositioned and re-rolled.

Finally, don't forget that being productive is a quality that can be learned and improved. Don't skimp on providing workers and their leaders with the skills they need to improve performance.


HR in the face of cultural transformation

One tribe, one culture.

 

In the article ‘How to identify the new digital tribes’ he referred to the need to know and listen to the members of the tribe before starting an experience of cultural transformation. It is an essential exercise before undertaking a transformation project.

One of the biggest mistakes organizations make is approaching the challenge of cultural transformation as if it were a sales campaign. They have skipped that previous phase, active listening. And when they meet halfway they realize that it doesn't work. They find strong resistance to Change, if not directly attempts to sabotage the initiatives by the Tribe. So promoters perceive that they are wasting time and money. When this happens, they either persevere with more executive implementation methods (increasing resistance), or they modify communication strategies (increasing levels of skepticism in the tribe).

What do we mean when we talk about corporate culture

 

To understand why cultural transformation projects often fail, we must deepen our understanding of the parts that make up a corporate culture. Effective culture is a permanent systemic framework over time that identifies how an organization is your DNA.

Much has been written about the elements that compose it, sometimes in a very theoretical way. From my point of view, the most important factors that make up an organizational culture are three:

  • Beliefs: Are those general ideas that constitute the common heritage of the entire tribe. They manifest in common current purpose, beliefs about a past, and shared projections about a future.
  • Values: They are collective perceptions about what is desirable for the common good. They must set the pace of the organization and the behaviors of all members of the tribe.
  • Behaviors: They are the behaviors of the members of the tribe. The way things are done. They must be consistent with values, when they are not, cultural bankruptcy crises occur. Parts that make up these behaviors are liturgies or rituals (systematic and programmed activities that are carried out in the company to mark certain moments or events), corporate language (the way messages are transmitted) or myths (stories told in the form of anecdote or 'fable' about past events that reflect metaphors of values).

Confront the cultural gap.

 

An essential element in the management of corporate culture is to identify the difference between the effective culture and the desired culture to achieve the adaptation of the company to the current or future environment. This is a first level challenge because it is one thing to write a strategic plan and another to transform the beliefs, values ​​and behaviors that have survived throughout the history of our organization and that have led us to be what we are. Corporate culture, by its very nature, tends to endure over time. Changing it to adapt it to a new strategic framework is not an easy task. This is what I call putting the strategy to work

A fairly common problem when dealing with the transformation of corporate culture occurs when one or more managers confuse the concept of effective culture with that of perceived culture. This occurs when they understand that the tribe's set of beliefs, values, and behaviors coincide with their own, or with those of the management team. To put it graphically, sometimes the mindset of the Directorate does not coincide with the mindset of the tribe.

This gap constitutes one of the most serious organizational pathologies that a company can suffer. In this scenario, managers tend to project their perceived culture onto a tribe that looks at them as if they were aliens from another planet. And curiosity turns to fear when they come to think that they can abduct them to their flying saucer to inoculate them with the vaccine of the new desired culture. This vaccine usually comes in the form of corporate conventions, communication programs with spectacular videos and presentations full of attractive slogans.

 

A new way of approaching transformation

 

Based on the segmentation proposed in the previous section, you will have to deal with a part of the tribe that will tend to maintain a high level of performance (innovators and early adopters), another that will maintain a medium level of performance (pragmatists and conservatives ) and another that will tend to maintain a low level of performance (skeptics). The first group will constitute 16%, the second 68% and the third another 16%, of the total of the tribe. In this way, from the perspective of the level of performance regarding the assumption of changes, the composition would be as follows:

  • High performance: Innovators and early adopters. 16% of the tribe.
  • Average performance: Pragmatic and conservative. 68% of the tribe.
  • Low Performance: Skeptics. 16% of the tribe.

The former will adopt any change because leading it and assuming it early is his way of being. You have to try to achieve an ecosystem that retains that talent because it is essential to maintain the innovative character of any organization. The second constitutes a silent majority. Their attitude will change depending on whether they perceive that the change brings them any benefit. The third group, the skeptics, is a lost cause. They will only change when there is no other choice, regardless of HR action. As my friend Marcos Urarte says, here you will find ‘amargeitors’ and ‘saboteitors’. And if you get rid of any of the seconds, a 'amargeitor' will replace it immediately.

From a numerical point of view, it would seem that the drive towards change should be carried out on that silent majority that are pragmatists and conservatives. After all, they represent two-thirds of the entire tribe. But things don't work that way. The problem with the silent majorities is that they are cynical, they ask themselves things like: what do I get in exchange for making the sacrifice of change? What if the change doesn't work? What can happen to me then? Consequently, they are resistant to change until they verify that a significant number of tribal members have assumed the change.

According to the Everett Rogers principle, this will not happen until we have achieved that between 155 and 18% of the tribe have assumed that change. In other words, the turning point occurs when the assumption of the change has achieved a market share of between 16% and 18%. That turning point is what Jeffrey Moore called the abyss (chasm). Any change management strategy must aim for a sufficient level of adoption by tribal members to bridge that gap at an early stage.

To do this, you must design a strategy to achieve the adoption of the group of early adopters. If you succeed, a sufficient percentage of pragmatists will follow them and you will get across Moore's Chasm. Do not worry about conservatives and skeptics, it will not be worth it because you will lose precious time. Remember that pragmatists only change if someone has changed before, and that conservatives will change the same way, only later.

 

The challenge of falling in love with an early adopter.

 

So, focus your efforts on identifying and convincing early adopters.

If you want to build the shift towards hybrid work environments, or if you want to keep your organization riding the wave of innovation, you are going to have to manage the change. And in this process the early adopters will be the main prescribers. That is why you will have to identify them and adopt specific HR strategies so that they 'buy' your employee value proposition. We will talk about that in a future article.


How to identify the new digital tribes

The challenge of listening to your tribe

 

A tribe is a group of people who share values and beliefs. The people who make up your business organization also form a community that shares values and beliefs. They are a tribe, your tribe.

Although it seems obvious, the first thing a good tribal chief must do is know the members that make it up. Once you know them, the next step is to listen to them. Remember that leading is learning by listening to the opinions of collaborators, especially when those opinions do not coincide with those of the leader.

The digitization of society has brought about important changes in the constitution of the different groups that make up the tribe, as well as in the underlying relationships between them. It is something that you must take into account when practicing active listening.

 

'Old fashion' segmentation of the tribe.

Until relatively recently, dominant workforce management practices prioritized three types of personal variables when segmenting workforce demographics:

 

  • Formation
  • Gender
  • Age

In fact, at the end of the last century it became very important to label groups of people according to their date of birth. In fact, it was a true philosopher's stone for segmenting the leadership and development strategies of people in many organizations around the world.

 

  • Silent generation. Born until 1945.
  • Baby boomer. Born between 1946 and 1964.
  • Generation X. Born between 1965 and 1979.
  • Generation Y or millennials: Born between 1980 and 2000.
  • Generation Z or cenntenials: Born after 2001.

 

Today, this way of segmenting has become outdated, due to the impact of an important disruptive factor: human life no longer has segregated life stages in relation to work.

 

A life with overlapping stages.

 

Until a few years ago, the human development model had three clearly differentiated stages, fundamentally segmented by age.

  • Childhood and youth: Education.
  • Maturity: Work
  • Old age: Retirement.

In recent years there have been two phenomena that have changed this paradigm.

 

Access to information.

 

The first is what I call the democratization of access to information and content. Since the appearance of the smartphone in 2007, there has been a universalization of access to information and content. Knowledge has been democratized and information has been atomized. This has caused age targeting to no longer make much sense. Today, not only are digital natives avid consumers of digital content, and even people of the silent generation remain digitally connected. The appearance of COVID-19 has been one last shock.

 

Life expectancy.

 

The second has to do with extended life. Human progress has lengthened life expectancy, as well as the number of years in good health. In this way, in the last 100 years that life expectancy has increased 2-3 years per decade. In this way, in 2050 the age pyramid worldwide will be inverted. At the moment 1 in 12 people are over 65 years old. In 2050 it will be 1 in 6 (450 million, only in China).

 

Digitization of work.

 

The third has to do with the digitization of the world of work. The application of AI and robotization are already rapidly transforming work environments. This ends up happening in three different directions, with also very different consequences:

  • Present disappearance of routine human work. Whether that work requires analytical tasks or not, it is clear that it will be taken over by machines. The human component in that environment will have more precarious conditions, because it will have to compete against low cost and high efficiency machines. If you want to see what level of robotization a specific profession or job has, be sure to visit the site https://willrobotstakemyjob.com
  • Future disappearance of non-routine manual work. We are talking about professionals such as taxi drivers, UBER drivers or even truck drivers. Also of the cleaning staff or guards. There are two groups that will prevail in these segments: people associated with professions that have to do with the arts or craft professions and those associated with caring for people in settings in Western countries.
  • Empowerment of analytical non-routine human work. People who carry out these types of activities will occupy prevalent positions in the pyramid of labor classes. This means that your talent will be scarce and in high demand. As is happening today, they will be able to choose which employer they want to work for or if they want to put their knowledge at the service of their own project. Entrepreneurship is going to be common among them because technology allows it to be separated, to a certain extent, from capital. Thus, in the pre-digital stage, if you wanted to be an entrepreneur, you needed a capitalist partner, because the entire value chain used to require a prior investment. But in the 90s, young technology companies began to be born at the hands of young entrepreneurs who organized themselves in the garage of their homes. Today, technology makes it possible for them to make a project viable from a laptop and a small investment in digital marketing.

A new way to segment your tribe.

 

The above factors - access to information, improvement in the quality and quantity of life and radical digitization of the world of work - are already causing a profound transformation of the traditional three-stage model of life today. Now, a person can live several stages at the same time. You may be training and working at the same time, working for someone else and starting a new business at the same time, or you may be partially retired and continue to collaborate and bring your experience to an organization. We have gone from having a solid and compartmentalized work life to having a liquid work life with fuzzy contours.

In my opinion, the most relevant element to segment types of workers (members of the tribe) is to do it based on their attitude towards the Change. And if we connect it with the theory of diffusion of innovations that Everett Rogers built in 1962 applied here to labor sociology, we can find a new way to label them. The main objective of studying their prevalent behaviors and building an absolutely customized employee value proposition (PVE). This is especially relevant in hybrid work environments.

 

New tribal groups.

 

According to this dynamic, any employee can fit into one of the following groups:

  • Innovative or enthusiastic. They represent 2.5% of the tribe. They are risky and adventurous, they like to be at the forefront of everything. They're responsible for introducing the innovations to the rest of the tribe.
  • Early adopters or early adopters. Represent 13.5% of the tribe. Highly respected as opinion leaders. Their support for innovation plays a key role because if you succeed, you ensure that the silent majority of followers embrace the trend as part of the status quo.
  • Silent Majority or Followers. It includes two subgroups:
    • Pragmatists (or early majority). They represent 34% of the tribe. They take their time to embrace innovation, and they do not do it if they do not observe the experiences of others (early adopters) and do not perceive it as a tangible benefit for them.
    • Conservatives (or lagging majority). They represent another 34% of the tribe. They are resistant to change and very insensitive to pressure from other groups. Although, instead, they are very sensitive to those of their peers.
  • Skeptics or Traditional. They represent 16% of the tribe. Highly resistant to change. It is very difficult to influence them with internal communication campaigns and they only assume innovation when there is no other remedy. They may never even assume it.

 

Based on this new segmentation, we are going to study how to ensure that certain dynamics (they can be new processes, new technologies or simply new instructions) have options to be assumed as their own by the majority of the tribe. This is as much as saying that these dynamics have become part of their own culture. The journey of cultural transformation begins!


You can be a digital nomad.

The new tribe that will change the world of work

Digital nomads are a growing tribe, projected to become dominant among knowledge workers. They are people who take advantage of the digital revolution to build their professional development in a single concept: the application of technical knowledge from anywhere and at any time. In fact, it's not a new group segmented by their age, but by an acquired competence that they turn into a competitive advantage.

They are also known as knowmads, a term that was born in 2011 by the hand of John Moravec. The concept is a neologism that combines the words know and nomad.

The key concepts of digital nomadism

If we could define the members of this tribe by three key elements, they would be the following:

  • Relocation.

    Who would not like to work from a paradisiacal beach. Or, being less ambitious, from a second residence, 3 days a week, avoiding the long lines on Friday or Sunday afternoons.

  • Geo-arbitration.

    It's about becoming rich without being rich. Something that a large part of digital nomads get. How? Well, getting income from more expensive places and living in cheaper places An extreme example would be to get a job in a technology company in San Francisco-USA (with a per capita income of $ 65,000) and live in Chiang Mai -Thailand- (with a per capita income of $ 17,000).

  • Minimalism.

    Another of the main concepts associated with digital nomads. By their desire not to live anchored to a fixed place, they tend to travel through life with less things and do not acquire long-term commitments, such as mortgages.

Actually, the application of the three previous concepts frees these people from the burdens and they can make decisions with greater freedom. As a result, in the development of their professional careers, they may choose to start their own business projects (start-ups, for example), but also to stay in “traditional” organizations. Let's see ...

Digital nomads working for others.

One option is to change jobs (and be able to even work less). In fact, there are platforms that allow you to find jobs remotely (such as We Work Remotely, Angel List, Remote | OK or Remotive, among others).  If you can maintain your income and reduce your fixed and variable expenses by living in a cheaper place, you can save the differential or simply work fewer hours and do things that you could not do before because you did not have time. It's about making that permanently postponed fantasy come true. Therefore, they tend to have dominant values ​​such as innovation, curiosity, intuition, proactivity and are open to learning and unlearning quickly. They become entrepreneurs of their own life. What sounds good?

Another option is to keep the previous job, renegotiating its conditions, and dedicate more time to the family or to parked hobbies. It is the option that will have the most development in our country, where few can abandon everything, catch a plane, and go to live on the other side of the world. These people, usually with a more mature profile, choose to leave their homes in a European city, with a high cost of living, and work from a village. Nowadays, good communications allow you to live 200 km from your company's office, if you only have to go there on time (say, one day a week).

You can get a home for a lower price, take your children to a school where they grow up, surrounded by the values ​​in which you believe (and if necessary, with online reinforcement classes) and live the lifestyle you want to live. As Howard Thurman used to say: "What the world needs is people who have come to life." We are not facing a utopia, it is something that is already happening. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many towns in Spain have seen the number of registered people grow.

‘Nomad friendly’ companies.

Companies are beginning to perceive that these professionals are here to stay. As a general rule, they are people who can decide on their own career path and who they want to work for. It is a very valuable talent for any company. For this reason, its emerging values are beginning to be taken seriously into account by headhunters, HR departments or scale-up entrepreneurs. If a company wants to have access to them, it must adapt its corporate culture to those dominant values, beyond the application of remote work.


Five ways to avoid presenteeism in your company

Oddly enough, in the middle of the digital revolution, time continues to be one of the main criteria for measuring work. Perhaps it is reminiscent of the first industrial revolution, when workers had to stay in factories doing repetitive manual work. If they were not, they did not produce, but they produced, they did not exist.

Today, in most work environments, the brain is more important than the hands. It is already very difficult to measure the effectiveness of our work in terms of time. We are moving towards organizations totally oriented to results. It doesn't matter when you work, it doesn't matter where you work, it doesn't matter how you work. It is only relevant that you achieve the objectives (or that you carry out the tasks that you have entrusted, if you prefer to see it that way), and since each time those objectives or tasks do not depend only on you, it is more necessary than ever to do it collaboratively. Without losing the social component of work.

A thief named time

When in the middle of the digital age a company continues to maintain the time factor as a measure of a job well done, it is leading its working people towards presenteeism. Who has not heard, before a promotion from a colleague, something like: It cannot be denied that Pedro is a hard worker, he has put in many hours. Behind this phrase hides a perception that is still very frequent in some organizations. Both 'being' and 'doing' matters. On the contrary, surely we have also lived the story of Ana, an effective collaborator who prefers to work while her children do their homework in the afternoon, and also after dinner. She is rarely seen around the office, and she has never asked her boss for a meeting just to have a half hour face-to-face with him. Ana always achieves the goals that are set for her, but she is not 'present' in the moments that generate confidence in the eyes of her managers. But your productivity is not rewarded when it comes to promotion

 

Five steps that take your organization to another level.

To fight against the scourge of presenteeism, you must achieve a company culture in which the "result of work" factor overcomes the factor "time you need to achieve it." Next I am going to give you five tips to get it. You may think that they are very disruptive, don't worry, you can surely find a way to adapt them to your organization.

  • Incorporate a policy of 'work where you want'.

    Think that we take for granted that work happens in certain places, at certain times and with certain types of people. But it's not like that. Ideas do not necessarily arrive during office hours. More and more cognitive abilities increase when you practice your favorite sport, while watching a series on Netflix or accompanying your children to school. The digital work environment is becoming more liquid and less robust. It's nothing new. Many of the companies that lead the markets and the market capitalization (Apple, Google, Microsoft, etc.) were born in small garages, in spaces away from expensive and elegant corporate buildings. If the company of the digital age is not able to recognize it, it is going to have very good people wasted

  • Recognize people by 'doing', not by 'being'.

    Do not hesitate to incorporate a promotional model that does not take physical presence into account. One of the problems of performance appraisal is the so-called 'halo effect'. It occurs when we unconsciously make an erroneous generalization from a single quality of an object or a person. In order to objectify the evaluation of a candidate for the promotion, you must have data, not perceptions. In addition, it is very convenient that this assessment is not made by just one person, your boss. All companies should socialize that decision. When the assessment is made by people who do not ‘coexist’ for the candidate, the quantitative value of that coexistence loses weight.

  • Train your people to manage time efficiently.

    This is not a contradiction. To avoid presenteeism you have to give time the value it has, not as a unit of measure but as an element of self-organization. We are facing a scarce good. If we remove inactive time from the equation (the time we spend on sleep, let's say 6 hours), we should have a total of 16 hours of active time left. But not all have the same value. There is a percentage of those (let's say a quarter, 4) that go to obligations that do not generate value by themselves. We talk about getting dressed, having breakfast, going to the bathroom, going to work, etc. We have a maximum of 12 hours left, and we have to divide them between our professional life and our personal life. The problem is that technology has blurred the barriers between personal and professional life. Now, those 12 hours should be divided between reactive time (the one that does not depend on you, such as attending meetings or accompanying your children to the doctor) and proactive (the one whose use depends on you, either to work on a professional project or in organize a bike outing with friends). Well, it's about maximizing that proactive time. For this, it is important that you establish efficient decision protocols and that you train your people for an efficient use of time.

  • Incorporate the value of the example.

    In a presentist organization, the culture of presence is determined by the time that managers ‘are’ in the office. The problem with these behaviors is that they generate inefficiency and tend to persist over time. Because we tend to rattle off what those who came before us did (‘if it went well for them, it will go well for me’). The problem is that times have changed. The new generations have broken with the traditional values ​​of hard work for a single company as a way to get a good retirement. Today, the battle for talent demands that the values ​​of our organization be adapted to the values ​​of the generations to come.

  • See that decisions are made at the lowest possible level in the organization.

    It is more than just delegating. It's about knowing what should be delegated and how. I divide work activities into two groups: repetitive (in turn divided into necessary and unnecessary) and thinking (in turn divided into creative and non-creative). As well; Unnecessary repetitive activities must be eliminated (delegating them is prolonging inefficiency), necessary repetitive activities and non-creative thinking activities must be delegated, and creative thinking activities cannot be delegated, they must remain at the highest levels of the company. However, repetitive jobs corresponding to necessary operational activities are progressively taken over by technology, so they will not soon be delegated to humans.

Presentism and corporate lies

Lastly, keep in mind that a culture of presenteeism makes people liars. Yes, you read that right, liars. Have no doubt that even an efficient worker who works in a work environment controlled by time, can lie so as not to feel judged for the delay. The clock distorts the engagement. You cannot be motivated to solve your organization's problems with commitment and authenticity if you feel that even when you do it well, you are going to be judged solely by the amount of time you have invested in it.