Managing the Cultural Pitfalls of Hybrid Work

The authors offer 11 strategies for leading more effective hybrid teams based on data from a recent survey of marketing leaders.

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Three years into the pandemic era, hybrid work models abound for business professionals. In the March 2023 edition of The CMO Survey, of 314 marketing leaders, 57% said that they work from home remotely at least some of the time, while 39% do so all of the time.

Here’s the good news: Recent peer-reviewed research shows that hybrid work reduces attrition rates by 35% and improves employee satisfaction. Consistent with this result, data from The CMO Survey finds leaders confident in driving team productivity via both remote work and in-person office work, with 50% reporting no change in worker productivity levels.

However, it’s not all smooth sailing. Over a third of leaders report that remote work has weakened culture, a crucial driver of growth and innovation. Further, 45% of marketing leaders find that younger employees struggle to integrate within their companies in remote work settings. Consistent with this, negative mentions of remote work in intern reviews grew by a staggering 548% between 2019 and 2021 on Glassdoor. Gen Z and millennial employees working exclusively from home feel that they’re missing out on vital mentorship, coaching, and socialization.

Despite these challenges, remote work isn’t going away. Many C-suite leaders value hybrid work because it reduces capital and operational expenses and enables organizations to scale faster into new business areas and regions. For businesses that want to expand internationally, the flexibility of virtual work means that they can cost-effectively recruit individuals from the markets they want to expand into. Marketers are often early hires in a new market.

So, what can we learn from research and remote working practices to empower leaders across enterprise business functions to build a thriving culture where teams can flourish? What does this look like for marketing leaders? We offer 11 suggestions to help leaders build a winning hybrid work culture.

1. Develop new mentoring and coaching models. To ensure that remote workers have access to the same opportunities for informal coaching and mentorship as their in-person colleagues, organizations must develop new approaches.

One option is rethinking the onboarding process. Onboarding is an important means for building connections, which can foster a healthier workplace culture. In fact, great onboarding experiences can increase employee retention rates by 69%.



1. Special thanks to Jonathon Cummings for sharing these ideas.

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Comment (1)
Rebecca Early
On spot article.  I found the data point "50% reporting no change in worker productivity levels" most interesting.  I've seen these strategies implemented and believe they are quite effective.  The question that I'm pondering is, why are so many companies performing poorly.  My informal investigation led me to looking at the stock market.  Myself and others believe that the sharp declines in the market are not due to low market confidence or flakey investors.  When companies don't perform the market demonstrates natural law.  When I read50% reported no change in worker productivity levels, I gained confidence that the other %50 could be seeing what I've seeing which is a devastating effect on effectiveness and quality.