Tips for Managing a Hybrid Team

Jul 10, 2015

By Katy Tynan

Work is changing. An increasing number of companies are shifting from using a workforce primarily comprised of full-time employees to hiring a mix of employees and contractors. With a variety of compensation plans and work schedules, how do you keep everyone motivated and working together?

Ultimately, a well-run team which is a blend of employees and free agents has to operate as a ROWE. What’s that, you ask? It’s a Results Only Work Environment. The most well-known company to implement a ROWE was Best Buy. The concept is deceptively simple – judge people on the work they do, not where or how it gets done.

As with every major shift in process, transitioning from a team that works together full-time in one place to a more varied set of work schedules can present some challenges. No matter how well your communication tools work, there are some things that get lost in translation. Here’s what you need to do to make it work:

  • Shared Goals – If your team members are being judged solely on their own performance and are allowed to create a totally flexible schedule, it can put a big damper on teamwork. If I’ve finished my work for the week and am planning to head out for a long weekend, why should I stop and help a team member with a project that doesn’t actually count towards my own goals? You will still need to foster a sense of teamwork and collaboration, and reward people for supporting one another wherever possible.
  • Shared Rewards – If you plan to use financial incentives to encourage collaboration, make sure everyone shares in the rewards. A team that wins together works together.
  • Virtual Community – Working with people in different locations and with varying schedules can make it hard for a true sense of community to develop. Create a space where people can share some information about their hobbies, their kids, or other aspects of their lives so you can all get to know each other beyond just the deadlines of the day.
  • Staying Connected –Remote teams are highly dependent on technology, and sooner or later a time will come when something disrupts the flow of information. Whether it’s an outage in the main office or some other situation that causes one or more people to be without their tools, contingency plans are a must for remote teams.
  • Addressing Issues – Don’t let frustration fester – address issues quickly and clearly to prevent a small irritation from becoming a big mess.

Managing a hybrid team of employees and contractors is both art and science. As with any teambuilding process, the focus is on clear goals, open communication, and a strong sense of respect and alignment among team members, no matter how their jobs are structured.

For more management tips and insights, check out Katy Tynan's website.

About The Author

Katy Tynan is an expert in the future of work. She is the author of How Did I Not See This Coming: The New Manager’s Guide to Avoiding Total Disaster (ATD Press, 2017) and Survive Your Promotion (Personal Focus Press, 2010). Tynan is the founder and chief talent strategist at Liteskip Consulting Group.