Setting early talent up for success in a hybrid world

Jun 14, 2023 | Development, Opinion

More support is needed for early talent to succeed in the hybrid workplace, explains Daniel Yuki Smith from Interaction Learning and Development.

Getting off on the right foot, getting to know people and getting on at work in general is much more challenging than ever before in today’s hybrid workplaces.

But what do we need to know and how can we help? This is new ground for employer and employee alike. We can’t afford to ignore it.

The global coronavirus pandemic of 2020 forced all of us to shift our habits and behaviours in many ways. One of the most significant ways was the way we communicate at work.

Working remotely was relatively rare before the pandemic but many of us now work in a ‘hybrid’ way, splitting our time between physically commuting to an office and joining calls via Teams or Zoom.


Hybrid working

There are clearly benefits and drawbacks to being in the office compared with working from home and vice versa.

The discussion around hybrid working is becoming increasingly polarised. Proponents for working from home (WfH) recently faced a setback with the announcement by the UK government favouring the office as the “default”.

This contradicts the government’s earlier plans to make flexible working the default. The jury is out on whether there is an ideal because there clearly isn’t a one size fits all solution.


Support for workers

In research carried out by the University of Leeds, 74% of office workers surveyed would like to receive training for hybrid working. However, only 8.5% had received any specific training for hybrid meetings.

Those respondents wanted the training to include establishing social etiquette, being inclusive, running effective meetings, developing professional networks, coordinating with others and managing time effectively.

This highlights that there is clearly a need for more training tailored to hybrid working.


Impact on early career hires

The trend towards hybrid work has had a big effect on the provision of development programmes. However, combined with the long-term effects of the pandemic, this may also have had an impact on wider issues experienced by early career hires, such as increased mental health concerns.

In fact, 64% of employers surveyed in a recent ISE report said that ‘the number of graduates and apprentices with mental health issues has increased’.

Another important aspect to consider is networking, particularly the challenges faced by new joiners now.

Those just starting out in their careers, having studied through the ‘covid years’ with disrupted exams, have experienced huge gaps in formative social networking opportunities.

Perhaps we have lost some of the richness of human interaction by working remotely? Could a well-considered return to the office be the answer?


Learn more

To find out about the latest research on this topic and to hear more about how this is experienced in the workplace join us at the ISE Student Development Conference on 5 July in London.

Interaction Learning and Development will be running an interactive session with Dr Helen Hughes (University of Leeds) – Early Career Networks: What are they, how are they changing and why should you care?

If you can’t make the event, you can sign up here to receive the output document from our session with highlights of the research findings and other useful early careers information.

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