As the adoption of workplace technology accelerates, the need for employers to assess skills and identify training needs has grown. Indeed, as the war for talent rages, investing in modern skills has become a competitive necessity for employers. How can remote leaders help this process run smoothly?
Referring to a shared virtual world in which people interact using augmented and virtual reality equipment, the term “metaverse” was coined in the late 20th century but has recently gained prominence.
For employees, the sudden credibility of the “metaverse” is a reminder that they must remain open to new ideas and take command of their own digital skills development. According to one study, 67% of businesses are already unable to keep pace with the pace of digital change due to a lack of appropriate skills2, a situation likely to be exacerbated as the likes of the “metaverse” increase the complexity of technology needed.
Fully remote working is a strategic initiative that requires changes throughout organisations, chiefly in their mindset and culture. Not having addressed or considered these factors, many are simply adopting hybrid working practices (several days in the office and several days working remotely) as a compromise and tolerating remote employees but focussing on a central corporate hub.
Isn’t hybrid the same as remote?
Remote is a strategic, cultural, and operational mindset – not a temporary solution – it is a permanent way of doing things, the default setting; a strategic imperative to thrive and not just survive a temporary situation.
Companies with a strong office culture will have a difficult time translating it into a hybrid model: quick meetings after the meetings where information is disseminated but not documented, social gatherings, and employees forced to champion remote working as it is seen as a perk of their role, roles not advertised as remote but rather remote being negotiated into the working arrangements, out of sight is out of mind when it comes to promotions – all present major issues for the long-term success of a hybrid model. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Remote working requires companies to change their operational practices not just their culture. For example, full documentation of all processes is a foundation stone of remote working. Expecting remote hybrid employees to handle day-to-day duties with less information compared to in-person colleagues will, over time, lead to more mistakes, confusion, frustration, and even underperformance.
The subsequent impact on employee promotion may be unintended but it is real. In 2020 remote workers had an absence rate of 0.9% compared to 2.2% for in-office workers, however, between 2013 and 2020 hybrid workers were 38% less likely to get financial bonuses than in-office employees according to The Office for National Statistics 1.
Why choose remote as your destination?
68% of employees would choose remote working options over in-office work, a huge majority, 85% believe that their colleagues and other employees prefer working remotely rather than working from the company office, and 61% would be willing to take a pay cut to maintain remote working status. Some workers even suggested they would take a 50% pay cut to avoid returning to the office.
What, for many, started as a temporary state of affairs has now shifted the balance of power from employers to employees, 85% of workers would prefer to apply for jobs that offer remote flexibility, while just 15% would apply for a position that requires total full-time office work.
Remote first working is a huge weapon in the armoury of organisations when recruiting and holding on to talent – hybrid isn’t even on the battlefield. Hybrid models continue to restrict your talent acquisition to the same fixed geographical limits as office-based models. Do you want to recruit the best people within 20 miles of your office or within the entire country, or continent, or the world?
PwC recently announced that it will allow approximately 40,000 U.S. employees the ability to work remotely from anywhere in the continental U.S. and Deloitte will allow its 20,000 UK employees to choose how often they come into the office, if at all. In the battle for accountancy talent, what will that mean for KPMG & EY, move to remote-first or lose all their best people to their competitors?
The future is already here
The problem with hybrid working is that it always puts the office before the people, it shouldn’t be an endpoint in your journey. If you need an office-based culture then embrace it, if you need a remote culture then embrace it: just don’t adopt hybrid working and think you have arrived at an endpoint.
This isn’t a new term—it’s been around since the 1960s. In the context of work environments, it is the idea that everyone feels free to express opinions, ideas or thoughts without fear of being rejected, mocked, embarrassed or otherwise put down. Think of it as a safe environment for everyone to be free and open in their engagements.
It doesn’t mean that everyone agrees with every idea or suggestion that is made; it means that when there are disagreements, they are handled in an open and non-threatening way that always focuses on the work, not the people.
The cynic in me thinks that in many ways, this is just a new label for something that project managers have always tried to create—a safe environment where people can give of their best without fear of judgement. In truth, there’s a bit more to it than that. The Wikipedia article on the topic (here) gets into a lot of theory, but one thing …
How to run a hybrid team meeting
- Instal monitors into your conference room can be helpful in displaying those who are remote so it feels like they are in the room with you.
- Always keep someone on standby who is tech-savvy. Then that individual can step in and solve any tech-related issues without jeopardising the call itself. Ideally, there would be someone on both ends of the hybrid team meeting….
- The alternative to this is having each of your team trained on how to troubleshoot the most likely tech issues to arise.
- Don’t forget that any hybrid team meeting is also the ideal opportunity to share info across the team. We advise aiming to share as much as possible. Even if this is just to promote inclusion, and that no member of the hybrid team is being forgotten.
digital leadership skills
Our digital leader 2021 tips
- Apply the four types of Empathy
- Be an advocate for work-life balance
- Create time for social / non-work activities
- Ask for and share feedback regularly
- Offer individual support directly…
- … as part of your regular 1-to-1
- Use empowerment built upon trusting worker-manager relationships
- Instil work meaning
- Always be transparent
- Prioritise ‘connectedness’ over constant messaging
- Use any tech that facilitates ‘remote working‘
- Establish communication norms and expectations
digital leadership skills
How to help remote leaders adapt to hybrid working
Many companies have committed to continuing some form of remote working post-pandemic. Probably, hybrid working.
Digital Transformational Leadership
that said, for graduates and other newly onboarded new employees, 2020 and 2021 have their own challenges. Not just poor broadband, working from your bedroom or other home working distractions.
The major difficulties have firstly been integrating new staff into team and company cultures. Secondly, and aligned with the first is how best to train and transfer knowledge – especially for knowledge workers when there is no one-on-one interaction.
Hiring managers are particularly eager to learn how best to integrate new graduates within remote working set-ups.
Well-being is another priority for HR managers. The need now to facilitate healthy staff relationships among employees. As well as providing all the communication and digital collaboration resources needed to support remote working teams.
Remote Leadership skills
- Many employees report they’ve been as productive or more productive while working remotely. 45% of newly remote workers said their sense of belonging suffered after they started working from home.
- This is why companies need to make a concerted effort to address new employees’ social and emotional needs by introducing them to people across departments. Also, setting up an unstructured time that provides a chance to build relationships without the pressure of deadlines or other stresses.
- Managers who have demonstrated emotional intelligence and a firm understanding of the company’s mission and values should be mentors to new employees.
- Ongoing training and professional development opportunities should be available, particularly to recent graduates and other young employees, who place a premium on education in the workplace.
- There are many strategies for bringing young remote workers on board and helping them feel comfortable in their new roles.
- Hiring managers and HR professionals should remember that the era of remote work doesn’t mean the importance of human connection has diminished.
Establish team roles and team responsibilities
Some of your team will thrive working remotely, whilst other reports will feel less motivated.
It’s important that you check in with each of your team as part of your regular 1-to-1s. This can be simple as asking, How are you doing? to test the water for how well they are currently coping.
Your team will outline their current challenges to you. Then, as the transformational skills leader, you need to constantly reassess their relative strengths and weaknesses.
Our other remote leader skills content
Leader Psychometric Tests to purchase
Hogrefe’s and Hogan’s Leadership Assessments are available
|BOMAT (Form D)|
|Leadership Judgment Indicator LJI-2 (Global)|
|Hogrefe (Sales) LJI-2|
|Leadership Judgement Indicator LJI-2 (Standard)|
|Hogan Personality Inventory|
|Hogan Development Survey for motivation|
|Motives, Values, Preferences Inventory|
Other Popular Senior Assessment Tests are available
- MBTI for personality type
- California Personality Inventory for personality traits
- Transformational leadership
- Emotional Intelligence measures: the Emotional Judgement Inventory
- Resilience measures
- Leadership derailers such as Hogan’s Dark Side
- FIRO B for interpersonal relations
– – – Remote leader – – –
Senior Executive Assessments Projects
- BBC Worldwide development centres and feedback report writing for the leadership group
- BAe Systems development centres and feedback delivery for senior managers
- British American Tobacco development centres (in the UK and Ukraine) and report writing
- BNP Paribas development centres, report writing, feedback, development plan coaching
- King’s College London – development events as part of the change programme
- Director-level assessments and report-writing for Hilton and Radisson hotels
- Executive assessments for various NHS Primary Care Trusts (Chairman level)
- Financial Services Authority – assessing and report writing
- Assessing/report writing for the Department for International Development (Senior Directors), the Ministry of Justice and the Dept. of Health
- 2-year recruitment project for all levels of a shared service centre (the DVLA)
In-depth individual executive assessments are for senior-level appointments. It’s always important to find the right person for a job and to sift out unsuitable applicants. High-level recruitment, it’s particularly important, since a poor selection can prove to be an extremely expensive mistake.
Executive Profile Fit
The candidate goes through a series of tests and exercises, including an extensive interview. The executive assessment uses high-level aptitude tests and a general personality questionnaire. Plus other more specific personality questionnaires, such as those that measure relationship building or conflict management.
Bespoke role plays also feature in executive assessments depending upon the nature of the role, for example, a media-handling role-play exercise if that is pertinent to the job.
General Personality Tests available for Executive Assessments
- SHL’s Occupational Personality Questionnaire (the 32-scale OPQ).
- Kenexa’s OPI.
- OPP’s 16PF5 Personality Questionnaire, MBTI Step I, MBTI Step II and the California Personality Inventory.
- Saville Consulting’s Wave Styles.
- Talent Q’s Dimensions.
Specific Personality Tests available for Senior Executive Jobs
- Hogan Development Survey (de-railers)
- Kenexa and SHL’s Motivation Questionnaires
- FIRO-B (relationship building)
- MBTI for Teams (team relationships) and MBTI for Coaching
- EJI and EIQ (emotional intelligence measures)
- Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode (conflict management)
- SHL’s Corporate Culture Questionnaire and Customer Contact Styles Questionnaire
Korn Ferry Executive Assessments available
– – – Senior Executive Jobs – – –
Pearson Executive Assessments Available
|Raven’s Standard Progressive Matrices (v2.0)|
|Watson-Glaser II (Form D)|
Aon Hewitt Executive Assessments Available
|Swift Analysis Aptitude|
|Swift Executive Aptitude|
|Wave Professional Styles|
– – – Remote leader – – –
Psytech Executive Assessments Available
Hogrefe Executive Assessments Available
|BOMAT (Form D)|
Hogan Executive Assessments Available
|Business Reasoning Inventory|
|Motives, Values, Preferences Inventory|
Cut-e Executive Assessments Available
Leader Assessment – Leadership Climate Indicator
PSI’s Leadership Climate Indicator LCI measures the leadership climate set by individual leaders, groups of leaders, or both. It provides powerful diagnostic information to inform strategic initiatives such as culture change or other organisational development programmes.
Insights generated through the LCI:
Provides leaders with feedback about the climate they create.
Enable senior leadership teams to understand how employees feel being led by them.
Builds openness and trust.
Cultivates a leadership climate that will create a culture of sustainable high performance.
Helps organisations increase employee engagement, well-being and productivity.
Enables targeted L&D and leadership development strategies.