“They strive to create ‘serendipity’ and happy coincidences. This happens through socialization,” translates author and community management expert, Rachel Hood Simard.
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Waking up in the morning. toOrganizations already have all the necessary cards to succeed in the world of hybrid working, confirms Rachel Hood-Simard, who has nearly thirty years in the field of marketing communications on the web.
The key is to create a community and environment where its members — or employees — can nurture the bonds that unite them. In other words, for readers of her September 2023 book, Sociable, Building a Strong Corporate Culture in a Hybrid World, leaders should draw inspiration from the approach of community managers to social media.
“Early in 2018, I started making this analogy. Often, when I would accompany leaders who had just hired Bedouin employees and who lacked opportunities to socialize, I would remind them that if we could do it online, there was a way To do this in business.line.
Regardless of the nature of the community for which they are responsible, these managers must ensure that the culture, and that bond between members, is actually transferred there. It goes without saying that remote working and hybrid mode did not make the task of corporate management teams easier, as the author admits in her book, who were not accustomed to doing it virtually before March 2020.
She invites them to follow the formula she has developed over the years for managing virtual communities, which is to find a balance between the “four sociocultural dimensions.”
Hence, leaders must understand “the relationships between community members, the experiences that bring them together, the stories shared by members that convey common values, morals, and interests, and the spaces in which members interact.”
She points out that what often stumbles in this matrix is understanding the role of spaces. “We are not trained to think of digital as a space. We have to change our perspective, and ask ourselves how I can adapt this environment so that relationships, experiences and stories are shared.”
The book serves as a starting point to begin this thinking, as Rachel Hood-Simard points out, in order to better understand one's culture, how it is experienced by employees, and how it is conveyed, no matter where they are.
For employers who want to bring their team members back to the office because they miss the synergy of face-to-face, she says it's entirely possible to find them remote.
“They struggle to create “serendipity” and happy coincidences. This happens through socialization, moments outside of cooperation and scheduled appointments,” translates the expert.
She cites, as an example, those employees who come together virtually to work, camera off and microphone off. “Our mirror neurons are activated and this allows us to focus,” she says. “It's a 'counter-meeting', where it allows you to have little moments at the beginning and at the end to have discussions over the coffee machine, and create that synergy.”
The expert points out that the real challenge – and it is the same for all virtual communities – is that we are still struggling to be “social” virtually. The problem is that this learning is rarely among leaders' priorities.
For an organization to stand out and create a sense of belonging among its employees, even in a hybrid situation, it goes without saying that the management style adopted is worth its weight in gold, recalls Rachel Hood-Simard.
That's why she pushes leaders to apply “social leadership,” an approach based on empathy, kindness and hospitality, qualities that community managers must demonstrate.
This particularly involves “adopting a giver rather than a taker stance,” being humble, but also caring about your colleagues, she explains in her book.
So, beyond the tools used to allow employees to collaborate remotely, the key will be to ensure that encouraging behaviors and shared values “allow all group members to feel included and valued,” as Rachel Hood-Simard writes.
To work remotely or not to work remotely, this is the question that is causing turmoil in many companies.
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