Our history has meant that we were, and remain to be, perfectly poised to support our clients with the transition to hybrid working. We are lucky to have a wealth of sector experts who have all been helping their clients navigate this challenging time and master their next chapter of workplace change.

We decided to interview a few of our own experts to get their perspective and advice on key issues facing our clients as the pandemic evolves and learn from their years of hybrid experience.

Suki Reilly, Regional Director for USA East and Canada: on intentional leadership and managing a hybrid team

Suki has been instrumental in MovePlan’s growth journey from helping establish the London-based business in Ireland in 2000 to taking MovePlan across the Atlantic. She set up the US offices in 2005 and has since been partnering with businesses from across a broad range of sectors in mastering workplace change.

Suki’s advice: Be intentional when leading

At MovePlan, we have always worked remotely, and a lot of it has to do with living and breathing the advice we give our clients. People form the most integral part of a business, and we’re all made up of emotions. Over the years, we’ve learnt how to be intentional in our approach. And while this may be a buzzword now, it’s something we’ve practiced for a very long time. But what does this mean?

Business leaders must be deliberate with their communication

— Suki Reilly, Regional Director for USA East and Canada

Business leaders must be deliberate with their communication, making sure that their team is aware of boundaries and expectations. However, this should never be one-way. It’s also very much about listening to employees’ concerns, newer ideas, better thinking. There’s so much we learn when we listen, and it’s what we’ve been doing as a business for over three decades. Communication between leaders and all team members must be open and engaging. Leaders must empower their employees to be honest.

For years, we’ve learnt by osmosis. But the last 18 months have taken that away from us. Business leaders have a much bigger role to play in providing its people a stronger sense of belonging, and one way to do this is by being empathetic and intentional as they lead. Communicate important goals, but also listen – and act accordingly.

Siobhan Byrnes, Regional Director for EMEA: on maintaining culture across hybrid teams

Over the past 15 years, Siobhan has supported clients across the globe to mould their team culture and devise strategies to protect and nurture it. Not only has Siobhan always ‘worked from anywhere’ at MovePlan, but she is also responsible for leading our teams across the EMEA region, ensuring a successful hybrid working environment for employees and clients alike.

Siobhan’s advice: Over communicate to stay connected

When dealing with remote teams you need to over communicate but not micromanage. Business leaders need to ensure they are finding the right path between the two in an engaging way.

If teams see leaders making a real effort with how they communicate, they are more likely to respond in kind

— Siobhan Byrnes, Regional Director for EMEA

From my own experience, communication fatigue presented a challenge. When teams solely relied on one form of communication, it became stale. To avoid this, I recommend being more creative and varied with your choice of medium, using the platforms that best suit your team: Slack, Teams, even WhatsApp. If teams see leaders making a real effort with how they communicate, they are more likely to respond in kind and good communication will become part of the company culture.

In a time when our teams are so geographically scattered, we have never been more connected.

Vanessa Manipon, Regional Director for US West and Asia-Pacific: on growing, inspiring and developing talent across time zones

Vanessa successfully splits her time managing the Singapore and San Francisco offices, with her remit covering much of Asia and the West Coast of America. Through this experience she has learnt a lot about how to inspire and grow remote teams.

Vanessa’s advice: Be non-conventional when developing your team

As a remote leader, I need to stay accessible, this doesn’t mean being online at all times but this means letting people know I’m always a source of support and encouragement even if I’m not physically present.

If an employee feels engaged and supported, they are more likely to grow successfully in that business

— Vanessa Manipon, Regional Director for US West and Asia-Pacific

If you’re not present you cannot pick up the nonverbal cues and informal indicators when someone or something might need attention. It’s important that leaders strive to empower their teams, actively listen to individuals, and give them a space where they can express themselves. This space can be virtual or physical. If an employee feels engaged and supported, they are more likely to grow successfully in that business, which contributes to creating a stronger team overall.

Lindsay Peters, Global Development Director: on nurturing client relationships

Lindsay transitioned into her role as Global Development Director during the pandemic, to this she brought 15 years of experience in building international relationships. Over her career Lindsay has successfully built a network of supported and happy clients.

Lindsay’s advice: Never underestimate small talk

In a hybrid world you lose the casual interactions you have with your clients, the small talk as you walked to your meetings or the elevator trip down.

A client is more likely to want to reconnect if you build a personal relationship.

— Lindsay Peters, Global Development Director

However, these interactions are not lost, they simply need to be implemented intentionally. In your mind mentally allocate 5 minutes of each client call to learn about them. Take the time to learn about their families, their hobbies, and hear about how they spent their weekends. Over enough calls you will learn what your client likes to talk about outside of work, use this information to build a more meaningful and fulfilling relationship, and next call come prepared with something they might be interested in.

A client is more likely to want to reconnect if you build a personal relationship.

At MovePlan we have spent the past 30 years developing the tricks of the remote trade, but it won’t take your team that long. With the support of our expert project leaders and regional directors your business can identify and implement a hybrid workplace of choice with ease.

We would be delighted to speak to you about any of the topics touched upon in this article, do reach out via the following email address to start a conversation: info@moveplangroup.com

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