Fostering connection in a hybrid world

Jan 21, 2024

A hybrid work model’s success lies in strategies like volunteer engagement, recognition initiatives, and focused professional development for employees.

Creating a great employee experience in a hybrid work environment can be challenging. However, these challenges also create exciting opportunities for innovation related to the employee experience. Just as flexibility is key in an employee’s work schedule and location, providing a variety of ways for employees to engage with one another allows individuals to participate in a way that compliments their lifestyle.

Here are a few ways that Mead & Hunt is working to enhance the employee experience to help our team stay engaged and connected, regardless of their physical location:

  • Give employees a good reason to get together. The flexibility of hybrid and remote work allows employees to create a routine that works best for their lifestyle and commitments. However, many employees still enjoy coming into the office to connect with their coworkers if they have advanced warning and can plan ahead. One of the ways we encourage employees to connect is to utilize the Mead & Hunt Cares giving program designed to support the causes most important to our people. Employees are encouraged to volunteer, individually or as a group, with organizations that are important to them. Group volunteer events are a great way to bring hybrid and remote employees into the office for an afternoon to engage with their team members. Some of the events our employees have planned include creek, beach, or trail trash clean ups and volunteering at food banks or community farms.
    Employee surveys show that meaningful and purpose-driven work is incredibly important to employees, especially for millennials and Gen Z. Empowering employees to team up for causes that support their community and passion provides another avenue, outside of their project work, to find this purpose. This opportunity can be particularly meaningful for employees from underrepresented groups who want to make a difference in the communities they identify with and are often under-resourced.
  • Employee recognition. We all like to be recognized for our work, and a simple “thank you” or “great job” goes a long way. But employee recognition isn’t just great for individual morale. Public recognition allows other employees, especially those who are entry-level or new to the company, to learn about service areas outside of their work and identify subject matter experts. It’s also a great way to highlight contributions of employees from underrepresented groups. This representation is especially important in our industry where visible diversity, especially in leadership positions, has progressed slowly.
    At Mead & Hunt, we share employee recognition in two main ways, through our:
    • Company intranet. With our coworker recognition program, employees can select a peer to receive a gift card or gift in order to recognize a professional achievement or success. This year we started sharing a few of these employee features on our company intranet each month.
    • Annual awards program. We have an annual awards program where employees can nominate each other to be recognized in eight different categories. The categories with the most nominees each year include Rookie of the Year, Mentorship, Culture, and Client Focus. Winners are announced in a formal awards ceremony in front of the whole company. This has been in place for nearly 15 years.
  • Professional development and networking. This year our learning and development team expanded in-person learning and networking opportunities through in-person gatherings for each business unit. These day-and-a-half events focus on the group’s strategic vision, growth, operations, and future at Mead & Hunt. They’re designed to expand each employee’s knowledge, connections, and career. There is a strong emphasis on team building and strengthening employee connections to increase employee engagement and an overall sense of belonging.

Lalitha Benjaram, EIT is diversity and inclusion program manager at Mead & Hunt. Contact her at

About Zweig Group

Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.