Hybrid has become a bit of a buzzword in recent years, but it’s likely you’ve been feeling the pressure to make remote working a permanent option for your recruiters.
I know the stress of finding that balance: How do you create a working environment that keeps everyone at my recruitment agency happy without it being to the detriment of your business?
So, it’s fair to say that bringing in a hybrid working model has been great for business, and I’ve never looked back. Here are some of the most important things I learned along the way…
1. You don’t need to see your staff to trust them
As business owners, trust is everything to us. How can you be sure that your recruiters aren’t using time on your clock to do online shopping or watch TV in their pyjamas? The short answer is, you can’t!
But you just have to work out a new way of creating trust within your organisation. It’s not about how many calls they make every day, but about the business they generate.
By focusing on outcome instead of output, you’ll stop caring about whether your team are working from home in their pyjamas as long as they’re getting results. And the by-product of this is that you’ll be rewarded with staff who feel accountable and take pride in the results they generate.
2. Employees thrive when given choice
We all know some people love to work remotely, and some need to be in an office environment to get into BD mode. Everyone is different, and going hybrid really made me realise how important it is to give your employees the freedom to choose what works for them.
They’re adults – and it’s likely they got into recruitment because they’re naturally competitive. So if working from home isn’t getting them the numbers they need on the board, they’ll realise this themselves.
Allow your recruiters to choose which environment they work best in and this will improve their performance. Just as people work in different ways, they deliver in different ways too – when you let them go hybrid, you’ll see the stars shine.
3. Your processes aren’t as efficient as you think they are
When you’re running your business under a hybrid model, everything relies on two things: Good communication and watertight processes.
As the last few years have already taught us all, there’s nothing like suddenly having to operate remotely to put your business processes to the test. And while this wasn’t easy on anyone, it’s actually been brilliant for taking a step back and assessing the business objectively. This gives you a chance to take a step back and really look at how your business functions. Suddenly, you can see gaps you didn’t even know where there and work out ways to tighten things up.
Working remotely tests how your business runs through your processes; it tells you in black and white how scalable your business is rather than everyone just talking about what they think.
4. Hybrid makes everyone more present
It’s a bit of a paradox, but since going hybrid, we’ve noticed how much more present and productive everyone has become. For example, in the first year of being a hybrid business, staff sick days reduced by 52%!
Lateness has also become a thing of the past. Gone are the days of blaming the traffic when you show up late to meetings. Almost two years into running daily stand up meetings, people still apologise for being just a minute late (1 minute late is now ‘late’ in the world of Zoom!).
There’s something about joining on-screen meetings that makes everyone become more courteous when it comes to time-keeping. And with fewer excuses to be late or absent, productivity improves too.
5. The office is more important now than ever
One of the most interesting lessons we’ve learned since going hybrid is just how important it has become to have a space for people to collaborate and socialise when they can.
When you’re in the office every day, it’s natural that you take face-to-face human interaction for granted. But now that we’re in the office much less than before, you can see how much everyone benefits from getting together in the Hub – it gives everyone a buzz that just wasn’t there before.
Choosing to renew the lease on our office in Glasgow in the middle of lockdown (and get the whole office space redesigned and refurbished!) never felt like a risk to me because my business is full of ex-recruiters and we’re social creatures. And with a hybrid working model, we get the best of both worlds.
Wendy McDougall is Chief Fish of Firefish Software. In her spare time, you'll find her playing squash or feeding her inner geek with the latest technology!