i3 | June 14, 2022

Hybrid Culture

Jake Sigal
Tips for Young Professionals on the Team

Something strange happened over the last two years: Employees now think they know what’s best for team culture, and some think it’s up to them to call the shots.

Now fully immersed in hybrid culture, they may not know what they’re missing.

Along with inspiration, drive and risk, creating a culture that enables employees to execute work tasks for the team while they learn and grow as individuals, is a cornerstone of entrepreneurship. But learning and growing have taken a backseat in the pandemic-induced “new normal.”

This poses a significant challenge of hybrid work to provide opportunities for young professionals to develop and succeed. For most of us, learning and growing happens in real life. There are so many things we learn in our first three years as a professional. While some of that involved how to operate like a pro in the tech industry, much of it was learning good general habits as a professional.

While this challenge affects young professionals the most, the same issues are true for people who are promoted during their career, and anyone who is making a career change and needs to learn different skills to be successful in a new position.

Here’s my advice for helping young professionals grow in hybrid culture:

1. Show What Good Looks Like

Young professionals don’t have much experience with business meetings. They don’t know how to behave in them. They don’t know what a report that’s ready to ship as a PDF looks like, versus one that’s still in draft mode. Many, don’t even know how to manage their own calendar. I use tools like Loom videos and Google Docs for our standard operating procedure to speed up the learning process.

2. Explain Good Communication Skills

Most young professionals are coming out of college and had a virtual college experience. Make sure your managers are spending one-on-one time with their team members, providing constructive feedback. In real life, these meetings happen immediately after “the meeting.” In a back-to-back virtual meeting world, it’s not as easy to pull someone aside for a quick conversation.

3. Explain Why

This is personally the most annoying thing I’ve had to change about myself. I am now old enough to say, “Back in my day, you didn’t ask why, you just snapped a salute and did what you’re told.” Young professionals don’t have the context and don’t have the ability to ask a senior staff member why. I take the extra 30 seconds to explain to my team why I’m doing what I’m doing. We’re starting a formal mentoring program within our company to give young professionals a time and place they would not otherwise have to ask why and learn.

The bottom line is that hybrid work is here to stay for the foreseeable future. Embrace the change. Don’t compromise what good looks like, and be clear about expectations with everyone on your team.

The next generation is going to need to get the support that we received, but it will be provided in an entirely different format.