There is much to celebrate about the speed and success with which higher education institutions pivoted to online learning and teaching. This took place at different times in national and regional HE contexts around the world. Now, as we begin to move towards a future where remote working will no longer be an exception, the sector is considering how to achieve a purposeful hybrid balance between virtual engagement and in-person collaboration.
Our Hybrid Higher - hybrid working and leadership in higher education member benefit is a rapid, generative project bringing together senior colleagues with responsibility for planning future work and operational models to discuss the 'hybrid' question and co-create possible solutions. The project will be of interest to senior leaders undertaking the following roles, PVC/DVC/HR and OD Directors/Heads of Planning/Estate Directors, Chief Operating Officers and senior leaders involved in workforce planning and development.
Through facilitated discussion with colleagues from across the sector we will develop a picture of the challenges and opportunities involved, share insights, and consider how to achieve a purposeful and effective hybrid working balance.
The Hybrid working in HE initiative is an Advance HE member benefit and is open to colleagues at Advance HE member institutions. Information on Advance HE membership can be found via the link below.
The aims of the project are:
- to enable high-quality conversations
- to share information, inspiration and intelligence
- to explore ideas and co-create possible solutions and approaches
Key project principles:
• Good practice is good practice,
• Well intended measures/policies may have unintended consequences,
• Where people work may be less important than how people work,
• Balance is key to decision making – for example, balancing the needs of staff, students, and communities,
• Listening to the ‘less heard’ voices (inclusion),
• Project participants are experts in their own context.
The four overarching questions:
• Workplace – how important is the workplace as a destination?
• Welcome – how important is the workplace as a community?
• Wellbeing – how important is the work context (setting) for physical and mental health?
• Workforce – how sustainable is hybrid working for organisational growth?
As part of this project, two webinar work shops took place on 16 and 17 June during which participants were invited to share insights and collaborate, culminating in a leadership intelligence report exclusively for Advance HE members. The workshops featured a carousel of speakers to provide stimulus for our thinking, followed by three parallel sessions of facilitated group discussion.
The three focus areas for discussion were.
1. Operational effectiveness
2. Leadership, team cohesion and motivation
3. Fairness and inclusion.
Leadership intelligence report: Drawing upon the information, inspiration and intelligence generated by these workshops a Hybrid Higher leadership intelligence report will be produced for Advance HE members within three weeks of the workshops taking place. Please register your interest using the web form below to be notified when the Leadership intelligence report is published.
Below are the details of the three carousel speakers who provided stimulus for our thinking during the workshop.
Juliette is a Chartered Occupational Psychologist and CEO of Real World Group (a University of Leeds spin-out company). She has helped establish Real World Group’s assessments of Engaging Transformational Leadership, based on uniquely proven research involving tens of thousands of people globally. She consults up to Board level with organisations worldwide.
Juliette has authored a number of articles in practitioner and peer-reviewed journals, as well as book chapters on leadership, teamworking and diversity & inclusion. She is currently undertaking a doctorate exploring effective leadership of hybrid teams.
Roshan has been UCEA’s Deputy Chief Executive since August 2017. In her role she engages with members and various stakeholders on a range of employment matters alongside being responsible for UCEA’s organisational effectiveness, business operations and governance.
She currently sits on the UUK Advisory Groups on addressing Staff-to-Student Sexual Misconduct, Mental Health in Higher Education and Mind’s Mentally Healthy Universities Advisory Group. Roshan’s previous experience in the areas of employee relations, HR and organisation development was gained through work in the not for profit and private sectors, local government, the NHS and Probation Services. She has undertaken extensive consultations and negotiations including in Higher Education as part of UCEA’s National Negotiating Team, and has led on successful employee engagement, cultural transformation and restructuring programmes. Roshan is a Chartered Fellow of the CIPD and possesses a Master's degree in Management Studies and a first degree in Chemistry.
In a non-executive capacity, Roshan sits on the Board of Dance City, a North East based organisation offering formal dance training up to post-graduate level.
Dr Simon Inger
Simon Inger originally trained as a geologist and worked in a variety of research, lecturing and consultancy roles at the Universities of Leeds and Cambridge, before switching tracks to learning and development at the University of Bath. He specialised in supporting early career academics and researchers, including at national level, before generalising to become Head of Staff Development. Simon had an “OD epiphany” courtesy of Roffey Park’s Organisational Development Practitioner Programme, and now loves to work where human behaviours meet the rest of the organisational system. He is deeply committed to the idea that great organisations are built by including everyone in the building.
In 2018, Simon became Co-Chair of the Organisational Development in Higher Education Network, an independent membership organisation dedicated to enhancing OD practitioners and practice in the sector.
Hybrid Higher: Hybrid working and leadership in higher education
To support the HE sector to engage with the potential and the uncertainty brought about by the prospect of large-scale hybrid working, in June 2021 Advance HE launched a rapid, generative project to explore the hybrid question.
The Hybrid Higher initiative brought together senior colleagues from across the sector with responsibility for planning future work and operational models. Through facilitated discussion in two webinar workshops colleagues worked to develop a picture of the challenges and opportunities involved in hybrid working, to share insights and to consider how to achieve a purposeful hybrid balance between virtual engagement and in-person collaboration.