How to Build Trust in the Hybrid Workplace through Managing Change

In today’s episode, we speak with Ket Patel, a certified Change Management Master Practitioner who teaches us how to build trust in the hybrid workplace through managing change. When it comes to managing change, Ket walks us through two main areas of pain when it comes to leading a team from anywhere:  the people side and the technology side.

Change Fatigue in a Hybrid Work Environment

People experience change fatigue when they have to take a normal habit, change that normal habit with an alternative, and then have to keep repeating the alternative habit. For example, many of us grew fatigued with having to use zoom during Covid.  To avoid change fatigue, Ket recommends leaders of hybrid teams keeping things fresh by adding in different activities. One of the best things leaders can do is inject a range of alternative activities to move teams away from daunting, repetitive tasks. 

For example, Ket’s kids were feeling the weight of change fatigue while they were doing school online, so Ket came up with new activities to make learning more fun.  

Fatigue isn’t just about the volume of change, it’s actually about the volume of repetition. 

Control over repetition and fatigue can be gained by breaking down activities into smaller chunks.

Managing Change from the People Side

When it comes to managing change, leaders lead from two sides–the people side and the technical side. Leaders who were successful in the People Side in the office, didn’t necessarily know how to carry that strength into the virtual world. 

Prior to the pandemic, most people experienced a physical boundary between work and home. With the shut-down, work and home lives became more blended and the role of leadership changed. The true challenge for leaders and companies after the pandemic is not adapting to new technology; rather, the real challenge is putting a deeper focus on the People Side of leadership.

What a People-Focused Leader Does Differently 

When a new person enters leadership, their first instinct is to listen to and prioritize the needs of the leaders above them. People-focused leaders do the exact opposite of this. Instead of listening to the needs and desires of their leadership, people-focused leaders listen first to their new team members. 

New leaders can be successful by simply speaking to enough people, asking the right questions and getting a picture of the state of their team. By doing this, they get a systems view of the context, activities, and expectations of their team. 

Managing Change from the Technology Side

When it comes to managing change on the technology side, Ket notes that remote working has encouraged and motivated people to experiment more with technology. Working remotely without their normal tools and resources, workers more willingly turned to technology to get work done. 

Create a Sense of Urgency & Community Around Change

When it comes to implementing change, Ket recommends leaders create a sense of urgency and community around change initiatives.  

One of the challenges organizations face is the need for technology that supports a new way of working. The difficulty is in eliminating existing technology platforms that are familiar, yet insufficient for the virtual and hybrid workplace. Leaders looking to move into future work are embracing risk, letting go of outdated technology, and creating an urgency towards innovative technology systems. 

Leaders should build a community around the change by including stakeholders–such as their employees and customers–and create an “urgency campaign” around technology advances. 

Building Trust in the Hybrid Workplace

People are more open to change when they feel included in the process. Leaders of hybrid teams need to bring in their employees and help them understand their role in the change. Trust can be built by empowering employee involvement, acknowledging obstacles, and demonstrating support during the journey. 

Leaders can’t build trusting relationships overnight, but they can foster trust by building enjoyable environments, establishing a sense of community, and clarifying roles within the larger organization. Successful change leaders have frequent conversations, discuss upcoming changes, recognize people and their individual needs, empower others to make decisions, and listen to feedback from their teams more often.

About Ket Patel

Ket is a certified APMG Change Management Practitioner and Change Management Institute Accredited Change Manager Master Practitioner. He has over 20 years of hands-on experience leading change and transformation within Financial Services, Technology and Consulting industries. Ket has a passion for taking lessons identified from projects, industry and personal experience and helping others find ways to apply that expertise. In doing so, Ket hopes to help ensure change benefits are realised, change resistance is minimised and change is adopted and sustained. Using this approach he strongly believes that not only will the organisation achieve organisational change outcomes sooner and with greater certainty but employees will remain mentally and physically prepared for changes in the future.

Ket is also the UK Country Co-Lead for the Change Management Institute – a professional body dedicated to establishing and promoting best practice in the delivery of change. In his role he works to build relationships with industry bodies and academia in order to raise awareness of the Institute and to share best practices to keep the discussion alive about how we can deliver change better.  His other area of interest is social media and facilitating discussions that help professionals challenge their beliefs and deliver the best change outcomes.  Ket has also recently launched a podcast – The Change Chair – dedicated to uncovering stories from practitioners about how to lead change successfully.

To learn more about how to build trust in the hybrid workplace through managing change, download this episode now.

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