69 Percent of managers believe that their company has handled the transition to remote and hybrid workplaces smoothly – but only half (49 percent) of employees agree with this. This is shown by the current global study of the Capgemini Research Institute “Relearning Leadership: Creating the Hybrid Workplace Leader”. […]
The hybrid workplace presents companies with unique challenges and requires a renewed focus on leadership qualities such as authenticity, emotional intelligence (EI), the willingness to change and the ability to create a culture of trust in which employees feel empowered. However, companies still do not support their managers enough to lead effectively in a hybrid work environment.
Leaders are expected to guide and inspire their teams by living qualities such as authenticity and emotional intelligence, granting them the necessary autonomy. However, only 37 percent of employees in non-executive positions stated that their company actively supports teams in making their own decisions. In addition, less than half (47 percent) feel included and heard by their company in the course of the pandemic.
In fact, the pandemic has brought even more focus to the need to take the physical and mental well-being of the workforce seriously. But there is a perception gap between employees and managers regarding the effective handling of the issues of health and well-being during the crisis. For example, 72 percent of managers believe that companies have taken care of the physical and mental well-being of employees, while only 49 percent of employees were of this opinion. In addition, only 34 percent of respondents said that their company is actively working on initiatives to reduce burnout.
Core competencies for managers in a hybrid world
The study shows that the new hybrid working world also requires new approaches to empathic employee management. Trust is of central importance for this change: an overwhelming majority (84 percent) of those surveyed consider the ability to create a culture of trust in which employees feel self-determined to be one of the essential competencies of managers. However, most companies lack appropriate measures to promote a culture of trust and to empower teams. For example, only 34 percent of companies run leadership training programs to develop the skills needed to build a culture of trust.
This also applies to other competencies. Thus, employees see a discrepancy between the most important skills they expect from their managers and their current level of performance. From the employees’ point of view, 75 percent consider emotional intelligence to be an essential quality, but only 47 percent believe that managers are really competent in this area. Despite the perceived lack of skills and characteristics of managers, companies are still not setting up enough training programs to build the skills they need. For example, only 27 percent of companies offer comprehensive leadership development programs.
Adapting methods and processes to the hybrid workplace
However, it is not only the training of managers that is important. Companies must also create the conditions for managers to work effectively. This includes the redesign of processes and framework conditions for the recruitment and performance assessment of managers – these are necessary so that the skills and characteristics required for hybrid work can be adequately taken into account and rewarded. Fundamental changes in such processes are a necessary addition to the training of managers. However, the study makes it clear that companies are not focusing sufficiently on these fundamental changes. For example, only 33 percent of hiring managers say that their company has revised hiring practices to attract managers who have the qualities and behaviors required in a hybrid work environment. And only 36 percent said they have adjusted compensation and benefits processes to reward these executives.
A system-oriented approach is necessary
According to the study, only a small group of leading companies (also called “pioneers” in the study) have implemented comprehensive and company-wide leadership development programs and fundamentally revised their management structures and processes. In contrast to the other companies, the employees of these organizations enjoy a very good employee experience. For example, 80 percent of employees in leading companies believe that their organization has supported them to take their work into their own hands and to develop more autonomy and honesty (compared to an average of 52 percent of employees in other companies).
Companies that comprehensively expand their leadership programs can let their workforce benefit more from them. However, they must create a cultural basis that enables change. This requires a radical revision of processes and methods – this is the only way to attract and reward managers who exemplify the required behavior and who ultimately lead the company into a successful hybrid future.
Christoph Holper, Head of Workforce & Organization at Capgemini Invent Austria, summarizes: “Our study shows a clear discrepancy between the views of senior management and employees in many companies. While technology has facilitated the rapid adoption of hybrid working, in many cases management and leadership practices have not kept pace. It is clear that the concept of leadership for the hybrid workplace of the future needs to be renewed. To achieve this, companies need to empower their leaders to be empathic, authentic and credible. They must invest in building the necessary infrastructure for the development of managers and create the necessary framework conditions such as management processes, management practices and guidelines to support the necessary leadership behavior.“
Capgemini’s findings are based on a two-stage global study that includes large companies in twelve countries in key industries such as the automotive industry, energy and utilities, manufacturing, financial services, healthcare, consumer goods and retail, and the public sector. 1,380 people from 548 companies were interviewed and interviews were conducted with executives from industry, scientists and experts for the development of executives.