How to create a hybrid culture that drives competitive advantage

Culture 12 January

How to create a hybrid culture that drives competitive advantage

Being authentic and intentional lie at the heart of developing an inspiring environment that will attract and retain talent

“I don’t think it’s ever been harder to be a manager,” says Dawn Sharifan, VP of People at Slack, a messaging app for business. In a world of hybrid working, of seismic social change and advancing technologies, the responsibilities and expectations of leaders are considerable. But there is immense opportunity too, for the best to use their own capabilities to gain a crucial edge.

“Now more than ever, what creates competitive advantage is the talent that you’re able to attract and retain,” Sharifan adds. “I’ve never seen a talent marketplace as tight as it is today – but a manager or leader can be an attractor of talent.”

Flexibility with a framework

Slack’s Future Forum research revealed that flexibility – in when and where work gets done – ranks second only to compensation in priority for employees. But there is a balance to be struck: empowering employees and giving them choice versus having a robust enough framework to ensure clarity and also that when teams come together physically the interaction is meaningful. Establishing norms, like flex team agreements, about when people come together is a useful starting point but with the freedom of choice to be on site more often if employees so choose.

“What people have really been missing is the celebration and the connection and the community,” says Sharifan. “So why do we get together? Because it's Thursday or are we actually working on something? There has to be an intention or purpose.”