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Virtual meetings and Hybrid work - loyalty affected?

Updated: Jun 9, 2022

Virtual meetings and Hybrid work - loyalty affected?

A few months ago I wrote an article for this blog on “Effective Teamwork in Challenging Times”. I drew attention to the fact that the behaviours that make for effective meetings where members meet face to face, may not be as effective when the meeting is conducted virtually. The implication was that, by emphasizing task accomplishment factors and relegating human factors to a more secondary role, the virtual meeting will stay focused and not exceed the 30- to 60-minute duration that seems to be the limit for team members to stay motivated and concentrated.

All this seemed positive until a recent discussion I had with my team of Associates. One of them commented that, although the virtual meeting may achieve its immediate objectives, it may also be contributing to employee alienation in the long term. He pointed out that research on organizational culture, such as that carried out by Human Synergistics™, regularly shows that behaviours centered around Self-Actualizing and Humanistic factors tend to be even more important than those emphasizing an Achievement, or results focus.

Self-Actualizing and Humanistic factors include the encouragement of enthusiasm and innovative thinking, active listening, coaching and mentoring and taking time to recognize good performance. All these activities entail an investment of time that does not necessarily pay off in the short term, whereas focusing on tasks and time management – some of the behaviours typical of an Achievement focus – tend to deliver results quickly.

The problem is that deemphasizing Self-Actualizing and Humanistic behaviours may well lead to employees no longer feeling that they are part of and important to the organization. This is particularly important in the context of the debate going on in many organizations as to how to formulate and implement a hybrid work model. The more time employees are physically able to work together, the greater are the opportunities to use team leadership behaviours that promote long-term employee engagement.

So, efficient virtual meetings may not be effective in the long term because they may generate counterproductive results on employee engagement. This is a critical factor to consider as organizations decide how to formulate new hybrid work policies.

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