Developing Junior Staff in a Hybrid Model (Video & Podcast)

6 min read
Junior Staff in a Hybrid Model

A successful hybrid model depends on effective integration of junior staff. To do so, they should come to the office more often than senior staff to get on-the-job training and mentoring. That’s the key take-away message of this episode of the Wise Decision Maker Show, which describes how to develop junior staff in a hybrid model.

Video: “Developing Junior Staff in a Hybrid Model”

Podcast: “Developing Junior Staff in a Hybrid Model”

Links Mentioned in Videocast and Podcast


Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of the wise decision maker show where we help you make the wisest and most profitable decisions. My name is Dr. Gleb Tsipursky, I’m the CEO of disaster avoidance experts, the future of work consultancy that sponsors the wise decision makers Show and today we’ll talk about developing junior staff in a hybrid model. Now, what’s the context here? We have people like Marc Benioff, the co-founder and CEO of Salesforce, Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of Facebook and others, saying that, hey, recent hires of junior staff aren’t having as high productivity as more tenured staff. And also, recently hired staff aren’t as productive as they were before the pandemic. So Salesforce, Facebook and so on offer flexibility. But the leadership is worried about junior staff development and integration into the team, since they haven’t yet learned company systems policies and practices. And so there is a concern by the leadership about flexibility, harming junior staff integration. Now, this is not an invalid concern, of course, but returning to the office is maybe not the best idea in terms of full fledged return to Office. Leaders advocate for it to address concerns like this of junior staff integration. But that’s not a great solution. Because full time return to the office is likely to have a lot of negative effects on junior staff. For example, an ATP study showed that 71% of Generation Z would consider another job if forced to return to the office full time and 56% of employees 45 to 6054, would consider looking for another job. So clearly, there’s a stronger desire among Gen Z to spend at least a substantial amount of their time working remotely. So we need to balance benefits and concerns. We need to find a way to find a way to retain the benefits of flexibility, like higher productivity, no question about retention. Oh, yeah, absolutely. And it helps with cutting costs, but supports junior staff growth at the same time. To do so companies need to use a targeted approach. Instead of painting with a broad brush. It needs to be customized to the needs of junior staff, and not just have a traditional onboarding program, and think that’s enough on the job train, so think about on the job training, it’s key to development to have an on the job training program that accounts for the needs of staff working in a hybrid modality that involves senior staff working with recent hires to quickly respond to their questions and concerns, which is the essence of on the job training. They need to observe the performance of junior staff and provide feedback and suggestions for improvement. The solution is a hybrid on the job training program, where newer staff come to the office more often than most staff, but only for a good reason, where they work on their individual tasks in the same office space as a senior staff member who could provide them with guidance on their work in a small group setting, so not having all the senior staff come to the office, but having the individual senior staff come to the office to work in a small group setting with junior staff. So hybrid on the job training is best done in small groups, where one senior staff is specifically dedicating their time to training 60 junior staff. And you want that minimization of demands and junior staff, and you want them when they come to the office to know that hey, I’m not going to be so efficient on my own work, I’m going to be focusing on mentoring, training junior staff, and then also junior staff in that small group setting get benefits from peer to peer learning because junior staff will sometimes answer each other’s questions with senior staff providing answers and explanations as needed. So peer to peer learning, when you look at adult learning, is incredibly important for adult learning. I’ve had to set up, help 24 companies transition to hybrid work, figuring that out, but returned to Office. And in 22 of those cases, we set up mentoring programs, we set up job training and mentoring programs. So this is very important to do. challenges and considerations on the job training does impede the efficiency of senior staff as I mentioned. So it needs to be the focus of senior staff when they come to the office, they should not assume that they’ll just be able to be highly productive during their individual work. It requires them to come to the office and work on their tasks. So requiring them to come to the office commuting takes away from productivity. The distractions take away from their productivity, so it should be considered in their performance evaluations as an activity they do as a service to the company. Training responsibilities should be distributed among a number of senior staff known as good on the job trainers, so that they’re just not going to be able to all pile on to one senior staff member who is known as a great trainer and who just gives up their time. That’s not great. Especially honestly, this is a gender issue. I’ve seen women spend too much time on this work, when it was considered to be non promotable work. It’s just service work. So it really needs to be distributed and having gender considerations in mind and it needs to be considered for performance and promotion. Now, you also need to mentor junior staff, it’s a separate 10 distinct opportunity to develop and integrate new employees, which complements onboarding, onboarding this generally the first 90 days mentoring is the first three to five years. It shouldn’t be face to face, if possible, especially early onward in the relationship to develop a relationship that helps build trust, and allows recent hires to be more vulnerable. So building that trust, and you can do more mentoring, virtually others still having some ideally want to face to face meetings occasionally. And that there should be a mentoring team for each mentee, there should be three mentors, one senior staff from the colleagues immediately not their supervisor, but a senior staff member, and two from outside the team, someone from the same business unit and someone from business units, at least one, if possible, should be in a different geographical area. Why? What’s the benefit of having three mentors? Well, the senior person from the same team helps the new employee with on the job learning for what the team is actually doing specific to the team’s tasks, and also help them learn about the team’s dynamics. The other two mentors are needed to overcome what we know is a decrease in cross functional connections across staff. For more recent hires, they don’t have as many opportunities to meet and start because they’re working more time remotely in a hybrid mode. So it really helps to build those weak ties when they have mentees across different business units, even the same business unit but different teams. It helps them promote the integration into the company culture, and helps them with professional growth when they have a number of mentors and sponsors inside the company. And having three mentors is really helpful also for decreasing the burden on each one. Mentors can be busy at one time, the other two can take up some of the slack and vice versa. Now, that’s mentoring. Another activity that’s valuable is digital co working for junior staff. Digital co working in virtual settings, is something that enables on the job learning and promotes collaboration. What does it mean? It involves team members spending an hour to an each day working on their individual tasks, or the video conference call? Here’s how it works. At the start, which call you join a video conference call for a team of six to eight people. Each participant shares their plans, what they plan to work on, you turn off your microphone and you keep your speakers on. They are very optional. Now during the call, everyone again is working on their individual tasks. But if you have questions, you can turn on your microphone and you can ask those questions. And the case of questions more experienced team members of course will respond they can use screen sharing or a virtual whiteboard to share what’s going on. So this really helps get junior team members on boarded, learn about what the team is doing and helps them build bonds. It helps the whole team build bonds and connect and collaborate with each other. But it’s especially helpful for junior team members to learn how to complete tasks to learn how the team dynamics work. So that’s the benefits of digital coworking. It helps to replicate that experience of working alongside coworkers in a shared office space. And it assists with on the job training for recently hired staff. Alright everyone. So here are the key takeaways on supporting the development of junior staff. Marc Benioff and Mark Zuckerberg has concerns about junior staff in a hybrid setting are valid and returning to the office. However, Monday through Friday, nine to five for all staff, or even the large majority of the week is not the solution. The best solution is a structured program with a narrow targeted approach to developing recent hires, and the program should include on the job training, mentoring and digital coursework. Alright everyone. I hope you’ve benefited from this episode of the wise decision maker show and developing junior staff in a hybrid model. Please make sure to subscribe to the show wherever you check this out and leave a review. It helps others discover the show and helps us improve the show. Alright everyone. I look forward to seeing you the next episode of the wise decision maker show. In the meantime, the wisest and most profitable decisions to you, my frien

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Dr. Gleb Tsipursky was lauded as “Office Whisperer” and “Hybrid Expert” by The New York Times for helping leaders use hybrid work to improve retention and productivity while cutting costs. He serves as the CEO of the boutique future-of-work consultancy Disaster Avoidance Experts. Dr. Gleb wrote the first book on returning to the office and leading hybrid teams after the pandemic, his best-seller Returning to the Office and Leading Hybrid and Remote Teams: A Manual on Benchmarking to Best Practices for Competitive Advantage (Intentional Insights, 2021). He authored seven books in total, and is best know for his global bestseller, Never Go With Your Gut: How Pioneering Leaders Make the Best Decisions and Avoid Business Disasters (Career Press, 2019). His cutting-edge thought leadership was featured in over 650 articles and 550 interviews in Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, USA Today, CBS News, Fox News, Time, Business Insider, Fortune, and elsewhere. His writing was translated into Chinese, Korean, German, Russian, Polish, Spanish, French, and other languages. His expertise comes from over 20 years of consulting, coaching, and speaking and training for Fortune 500 companies from Aflac to Xerox. It also comes from over 15 years in academia as a behavioral scientist, with 8 years as a lecturer at UNC-Chapel Hill and 7 years as a professor at Ohio State. A proud Ukrainian American, Dr. Gleb lives in Columbus, Ohio. In his free time, he makes sure to spend abundant quality time with his wife to avoid his personal life turning into a disaster. Contact him at Gleb[at]DisasterAvoidanceExperts[dot]com, follow him on LinkedIn @dr-gleb-tsipursky, Twitter @gleb_tsipursky, Instagram @dr_gleb_tsipursky, Facebook @DrGlebTsipursky, Medium @dr_gleb_tsipursky, YouTube, and RSS, and get a free copy of the Assessment on Dangerous Judgment Errors in the Workplace by signing up for the free Wise Decision Maker Course at