“They struggle to create serendipity, serendipity. This happens through socialization,” translates author and community management expert Rachelle Houde Simard.
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WAKE UP MORNING. LCompanies already have all the cards to succeed in a hybrid work world, confirms Rachelle Houde Simard, who has worked in online marketing communications for almost thirty years.
The key is to create a community and environment where its members – or employees – can nurture the bonds that bind them together. In other words, she summarizes for readers reading her book “Sociable, Building a strong corporate culture in a hybrid world,” published in September 2023: Managers must be inspired by the approach of community managers in social networks.
“I started drawing the parallel back in 2018. When I accompanied executives who had just hired nomadic employees and were lacking opportunities to network, I often reminded them that if we could do it on the web, there was a way to do the same in business says the community management expert on the website Line.
Regardless of the type of community they are responsible for, these managers must ensure that the culture, that connection between members, is actually conveyed there. It goes without saying that teleworking and hybrid mode have not made the task of business management teams any easier, the author admits in her book, who were not used to doing this virtually before March 2020.
She invites them to follow the formula she has developed over the years for managing virtual communities, namely finding a balance between “the four sociable cultural dimensions”.
Therefore, leaders must understand the “relationships between community members, the experiences they share, the stories shared between members that convey common values, morals, and interests, and the spaces in which members interact.”
What often gets stuck in this matrix is understanding the role of spaces, she notes. “We are not trained to view digital as a space. We need to change our perspective and ask ourselves, how can I adapt this environment so that relationships, experiences and stories are shared.”
The book serves as a starting point for this reflection, says Rachelle Houde Simard, to better understand one's own culture, how it is experienced by employees and how to convey it, regardless of where they are.
To employers who want to bring their team members back to the office because they lack the synergy of face-to-face interaction, she responds that it is certainly possible to find them remotely.
“They struggle to create serendipity, serendipity. “This happens through socialization, moments outside of collaboration and set deadlines,” translates the expert.
As an example, she cites these employees who come together virtually to work with the camera on and the microphone closed. “Our mirror neurons are activated and this allows us to concentrate,” she reports. It’s an “anti-meeting” that allows you to have little moments at the beginning and at the end to have coffee machine discussions and create those synergies.”
The real challenge, the expert emphasizes – and this applies to all virtual communities – is that we still have difficulty being “sociable” virtually. The problem is that this learning is rarely a leader's priority.
In order for an organization to stand out from the crowd and give its employees a sense of belonging, even in hybrid mode, the leadership style chosen is of course worth its weight in gold, remembers Rachel Houde Simard.
That's why she urges leaders to adopt “social leadership,” an approach based on compassion, kindness and hospitality – qualities that community managers must demonstrate.
This includes, in particular, “taking a position of giver instead of receiver”, being humble, but also taking care of your colleagues, she explains in her book.
Therefore, beyond the tools that enable employees to collaborate remotely, the key will be to ensure that the behaviors and shared values promoted “make all members of a group feel included and valued,” writes Rachelle Houde Simard .