Feeling disconnected? How to supercharge your hybrid models

Autonomy, connection, mastery – building relationships in remote work

Feeling disconnected? How to supercharge your hybrid models

As we move into a more digitized model of work, technology is growing ever more important in HR strategy. Once dubbed the ‘paper-pushers’ of the office, HR has grown into a tech guru – shepherding the C-suite through the pandemic with remote tools and online systems. But all of this virtual strategy came at a cost – the rise of isolation and a prevalence towards toxic, disconnected, company cultures. HRD spoke to Meghan Stettler, director of the O.C Tanner Institute, who walked us through how to enhance employee experience and boost culture in remote work with the use of HR technology.

“Looking at the notion of connection, it’s important to remember that connections are created by everyday experiences that reinforce three basic psychological needs,” Stettler told HRD. “Autonomy (sense of ownership), Connection (sense of belonging), and Mastery (sense of usefulness).”

According to Stettler, HR leaders can help leaders shape the daily experiences of remote employees for the better through the policies and programs they champion. These programs should include;


Provide opportunities for employees to lead special projects and allow the freedom to create their own projects.  This tells employees they are valued and skilled, while giving them visibility with leaders and peers they may not normally work with in a remote environment. Additionally, it provides exposure to other areas of opportunities where they can develop new knowledge and skills.


Use recognition to foster a culture of belonging. Ensure recognition is given, received, and observed frequently and communicated broadly so people can know, and appreciate one another – not just for the work they do, for the unique way an individual contributed through their perspectives, skillsets, and personality.  When employees feel like their unique identities are appreciated and valued, they are 2x more likely to feel a sense of belonging.


Adopt the cultural expectation that all employees are leaders and make leadership development available to all.  Because after all, aren’t we trying to get each employee to step up and share the leadership load and think more deliberately about how they can influence results and outcomes?

“When leadership is shared and expected from all employees, then modern leadership becomes the new standard that creates workplace cultures of coaching, development, and connection where people thrive, do their best work, and deliver results,” added Stettler. “When an organization meets those three fundamental needs, the likelihood of improving the employee experience increases 7.5x.”

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