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As more employees adopt hybrid working arrangements, employers may be questioning the effect on company culture.

According to a 2022 Gallop poll, hybrid workers are doing better when it comes to feeling connected to their organization's culture than those who are either 100 percent remote or in the office full time.

An organization’s culture is the way its employees and management interact in the work environment to achieve its mission and values. It is how people work together.

Gallup’s poll analysis revealed that 23 percent of U.S. hybrid workers strongly agree that they feel connected to their organization, compared with 20 percent of employees overall.

These results fly in the face of the oft-made assumption that when employees are physically together, they develop important social bonds that cannot be replaced by email or virtual meetings.

Why feeling connected matters

The Gallop analysis further explained that employees who strongly agree that they feel connected to their culture are:

  • 3.7 times as likely to be engaged at work
  • 5.2 times as likely to recommend their organization as a great place to work
  • 37 percent more likely to be thriving
  • 68 percent less likely to feel burned out at work always or very often
  • 55 percent less likely to be looking for a job

Hybrid workers might feel more strongly that their organization cares about them as an individual, which makes them feel more connected to the organization's values, mission, and purpose.

That all sounds like good news for hybrid organizations. There is one exception, however: managers. Gallup's analysis found that hybrid managers feel less connected to their company culture.

Why hybrid managers feel less connected

Much of remote and hybrid work planning has focused on helping the individual employee. Early in the pandemic, managers were busy ensuring their teams had everything they needed to be productive, from equipment to schedule flexibility to communications from leadership.

Now that employees have settled into this new arrangement, managers are challenged with interpreting company values and culture in a different type of workplace.

While individual team members may benefit from fewer office distractions, managers might be struggling to create an equitable and engaging work environment for everyone on their teams.

In the past, managers often leaned on other managers in their peer group to help them navigate challenges, but those peers may not be as available as they were when everyone was in the office every day. Managers might feel less connected to company culture because they are missing peer and organizational support, even as they support their teams to thrive in a hybrid workplace.

What can you do to support hybrid managers

It’s possible your organization lost manager-to-manager conversations in the transition to hybrid work. These conversations might have provided managers with innovative ideas, ways to improve efficiency, and social bonding.

To fill that gap, leaders should consider intentional ways of bringing managers together for culture building.

Key to remember: Hybrid work arrangements leave employees and managers feeling different about company culture. Encourage managers to communicate with each other in addition to their team members to help build that connection to company culture for everyone.