As a nonprofit leader or manager, you understand that managing your team’s productivity is essential to carrying out your mission. Whether you’re planning your next fundraising event or soliciting major gifts, there’s a lot you need to accomplish to improve the lives of those you serve—and you’re often making do with limited resources.

If you have hybrid employees or volunteers, it may seem more challenging to cultivate connection and cohesion among your teams. Fortunately, modern technology has made it easier than ever to embrace flexibility in the workplace. In this guide, we’ll walk through five considerations for successfully managing hybrid nonprofit teams. Here’s what we’ll cover:

  1. Communication
  2. Culture
  3. Learning Opportunities
  4. Work-Life Balance
  5. Employee Feedback

By nurturing high-performing teams, your nonprofit will be better equipped to raise funds, strengthen stakeholder relationships, and make an impact on its community. Let’s get started!

1. Communication

While a hybrid workplace model can promote productivity and provide more convenience to your nonprofit teams, it can be more difficult to align everyone on your current goals and strategic plan. With this in mind, it’s crucial to develop clear policies that establish expectations and procedures that cover:

  • Communication channels to use
  • Response times
  • Meeting attendance
  • Data security

Share style guides that encourage efficient, streamlined communications and recording virtual meetings to ensure everyone can access key information. Create opportunities for more discussions by organizing regular one-on-one meetings between managers and direct reports and hosting nonprofit-wide Q&A sessions to review any major organizational developments.

Whether you’re seeking to implement more sustainable practices at your organization or launch a new program, a thoughtful communication plan fosters transparency and builds trust among your teams.

2. Culture

With hybrid nonprofit teams, having a strong workplace culture is more important than ever. According to Hubspot, 66% of employees who report having a close friend at work indicate that this impacts their intent to stay, yet only 34% feel closely connected to their colleagues. But how do you cultivate these connections when team members aren’t spending time in the office together?

Follow these best practices to improve your organization’s hybrid culture:

  • Emphasize your values. Your core values guide your organization’s decisions and unite your team. Call attention to them in prominent areas such as your website and job descriptions. Additionally, send out regular surveys inviting team members to reflect on how they and their teams are upholding your core values.
  • Organize events for team bonding. Provide opportunities for employees to get to know one another outside of work. For instance, you could start a virtual book club, host trivia nights, and celebrate special occasions such as team members’ birthdays or work anniversaries.
  • Practice frequent recognition. Keep your teams engaged and motivated by adopting formal and informal recognition practices. For example, you could give out awards such as “Employee of the Month” or post spontaneous social media shoutouts for team members who go above and beyond.

eCardWidget’s hybrid employee recognition guide recommends creating ways for team members to recognize their peers as well. Consider designing branded eCards that they can send to express appreciation to a colleague or establishing a virtual recognition board for them to post on.

3. Learning Opportunities

Help your hybrid team members feel more confident in their roles by providing them with ongoing learning opportunities. To appeal to a variety of preferences, consider offering several options, including:

  • Cohort-based courses. Enroll your team members in online cohort-based courses that make learning engaging and interactive. These courses allow your employees to benefit from the experiences of other nonprofit professionals, ensuring that they stay up to date on the latest trends and best practices. Plus, taking a course together as a cohort can foster cohesion and a shared sense of community among your team members.
  • Mentorships. Through mentorships, your nonprofit can forge stronger one-on-one connections between team members. It’s a win-win—mentees receive the support they need to thrive in their roles and mentors can sharpen their leadership skills.
  • Lunch and learns. Empower your team members to share specific skills and relevant insights through virtual lunch and learns. These sessions can be optional opportunities for employees to get together and discuss helpful tips for improving their workflows and processes.

Don’t forget to include managers and leaders in your learning opportunities, too! According to Laridae’s nonprofit management training overview, to effectively build and oversee cohesive teams, managers must develop key skills related to time management, communication, and delegation. Look for nonprofit-specific management courses and resources to ensure that your learners can directly apply their training to their roles.

4. Work-Life Balance

Around the world, work pressures continue to rise, with 42% of the workforce reporting that they feel burned out at work. As the physical barrier between home and work dissolves, your hybrid employees must maintain a healthy work-life balance to protect their mental and physical well-being.

To support hybrid team members, encourage them to:

  • Create a dedicated workspace in their homes.
  • Take short breaks throughout the day.
  • Limit communications and turn off notifications after work hours.
  • Use their vacation days.

Taking the time to prioritize wellness at your nonprofit can go a long way toward retaining your hybrid employees and ensuring they start each workday feeling refreshed and motivated to tackle their to-do list.

5. Employee Feedback

Nonprofits are well-versed in collecting and acting on feedback, from post-event to volunteer engagement surveys. Don’t forget to include your employees in these efforts. Send out regular surveys to your team members to learn more about their hybrid experiences. For example, you can ask questions such as:

  • On a scale of 1-5, how connected do you feel with other team members?
  • How productive do you feel working in the office versus working at home?
  • Do you feel as though you’re lacking any tools or resources to carry out your work?
  • What improvements, if any, would you like to see in our hybrid work model?

If you’re not sure how to improve your hybrid team management approach, consider hiring a nonprofit consultant to assess your strengths and challenges. These experts in the sector can provide a third-party perspective into your hybrid policy and training needs. Then, they’ll develop tailored strategies for maximizing your hybrid teams’ results.

The key to successfully managing your nonprofit’s hybrid teams depends on your specific values, goals, and resources. Stay open and receptive to your employees’ needs. You can even consider adopting employee engagement software to facilitate sending out surveys, providing learning opportunities, and practicing recognition.

As long as you’re deliberate about making gradual improvements to your hybrid team management practices, you’ll be well on your way to developing committed and cohesive teams ready to help you enact positive change in your community.