Working with blended teams: Benefits and best practices
It has been proven time and time again that teams don’t need to physically be in the same space to be able to work together. Especially following the pandemic, many companies have been leaning towards creating blended teams; a combination of staff that works in different arrangements. As a result, there’s also been a significant rise in companies hiring contingent and remote workers.
Are you also considering making the shift to a blended work environment? Then you’re in the right place: This article will describe what blended teams exactly are, mention their top benefits, and relay the best tips and practices for making them work for your business.
What is a blended workforce?
Before moving on with our curated list, it would be best to clearly define what “blended teams” are. A blended team is a staffing model example where employees of different backgrounds and types come to work together.
A blended team can consist of full-time employees on payroll, or part-timers and/or freelancers who are paid in a contract-based system. They can also work in-house or independently and on-demand. In short, it’s literally a business where talents blend together.
The benefits of blended teams
There are many reasons why many businesses are opting for the blended workforce model. Let’s review some of these top reasons to make the shift towards blended teams:
An agile workflow
Blended teams gives organizations the ability to form a more agile and responsive team, and consequently, a more productive workforce. You’ll be able to quickly eliminate time restrictions by hiring freelancers or contingent talents. You can also fix specific problems by onboarding people with varied skill sets and specializations. For example, you can quickly outsource a project and hire freelance SEO or marketing professionals if you require extra support in that department.
This agile workflow and environment are bound to inspire every talent as well, whether they’re a part of your team contingently or not. Once they witness the work efficiency you manage to produce, they might be even more motivated to contribute something of their own!
There’s no denying that certain work arrangements work better for people with disadvantaged backgrounds, and blended teams can lead to increased diversity in your staff as a result.
Of course, a blended working model doesn’t automatically guarantee more diversity within your staff. However, opening up possibilities to integrate different types of employees and work relationships can increase your access to a much more diverse talent pool.
Keep in mind that this possible increase in diversity is just that: A possibility. If you want to truly achieve a team that’s blended, your company will still have to make an extra effort to establish an environment of equality in the workplace.
Better employee retention rate
Perhaps one of the best parts of blended teams is that they lead to a rise in adaptability and flexibility at work. And when you arrange your team dynamics to be more flexible, it leads to a better employee retention rate.
After all, you will be creating a work environment that accommodates your talents’ needs better, which will make your company much more desirable in comparison. This will also ultimately build a stable core team for your business. A flexible work culture can be key in creating a productive workforce.
The financial benefits of blended teams are undeniable. It can be so much more cost-efficient for businesses to work with contingent talents for certain projects.
Hiring remote workers, whether international or local, will ultimately work for your budget. The costs for sourcing, the hiring process, training, etc. will be lowered when you work with contract-based staff. If you feel like this would benefit your finances, you should also consider taking the step towards a blended workforce.
Fresh perspectives and ideas
Outsourcing and including contractors in your team is a great way to bring in fresh perspectives and ideas, which can significantly help your business skyrocket. Since they have different backgrounds, skills, and expertise than your in-house team, they can offer unique insights to aid your projects–which makes blended teams a great way to forge a multivocal business environment.
To be able to properly take advantage of this, you should be encouraging everyone to voice their opinions without judgment. After all, your staff’s wide range of ideas would be of no use if they feel unwelcome to speak them.
How to make a blended workforce work for you
Here are some of the best practices to help make blended work possible within your staff:
Have a solid communication structure
A blended workforce staffing model has many advantages, and yet, interaction and collaboration can quickly become a challenge in remote teams. In many ways, your employees’ productivity largely depends on their quality of communication with their coworkers.
In a 2021 survey done among ConnEctEd Teams, 64% of participants said they felt connected to their teammates, and a significant part of this was reportedly tied to using varied tools of communication. Even though not everyone is physically in the same place, it’s important that you’re able to maintain personal communication among your workers.
As a solution, you can consider having different communication channels dedicated to different teams, varying types of urgency, etc. It’s also important that you foster a supportive environment where feedback and constructive criticisms are appreciated. In the end, your team is the best at identifying their needs, so make sure you consult them before committing to your platforms as well.
Seize technological opportunities
To stay on top of your team communication, collaboration, and project management efforts, you’ll need to make technology work for you. Online collaboration tools and virtual meetings will be your best friend while guaranteeing a stable blended work environment.
Besides communication, tech is also essential for you to secure remote workers. There are many tools available online for you to find contingent workers and easily manage them. Ruul’s solutions are geared exactly towards this purpose, seamlessly connecting businesses with solo talents with its ever-growing talent management and payment features. Sign up to take your business to the next level!
Clearly define expectations, goals, and responsibilities
Even though adaptability and flexibility at work is extremely important, it’s equally valuable to have a well-defined set of ground rules within your blended work environment.
Clearly establishing expectations, goals, and responsibilities is essential to manage remote workers along with your full-time staff. This way, everyone will know what to aim for, which will ultimately affect employee efficiency and carry your business to the next level.
Invest in training and upskilling
You might be looking at blended work as a “one and done” scenario: You outsource independent workers, they help your project, and they leave. However, this will make it significantly harder for you to build long-term relationships with other professionals, and possibly close the door on many future partnerships.
Instead, you should still invest in training every talent within your blended teams, and include them in your upskilling efforts. In addition to making the team feel more interconnected, this can also help your business in the long run.
Nurture an inclusive company culture
Throughout the entire process of building and strengthening your blended team, don’t neglect the importance of integrating contingent members into your company culture. They should know going in how your company operates, and what their place in it will be.
No matter their differences in work types, commitments to your business, or time zones, your blended team members are, after all, still part of a team. Inclusivity in the work environment will increase employee engagement and retention, as well as keep everything in alignment.
Discover blended teams for yourself
A blended workforce can bring many advantages to your business: A more diverse and multivocal work environment, an increase in productivity, a decrease in costs, and many more. Now that you’ve learned of its many perks and how to best operate them, it’s time to discover blended teams for yourself. Going in, make sure you create a thorough plan on how to make the shift, and you’ll be good to go. Good luck!
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