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  • Writer's picturegabriellehalpern

Tomorrow, all professions will be hybrid...

The world of work of tomorrow will be hybrid; hybrid like all other areas, hybrid like the rest of the world. We are indeed witnessing an accelerated hybridization process, which began long before the health crisis and which is being reinforced by it.

Hybrid? The hybrid is that which is motley, mixed, contradictory; this is what does not fit in the boxes, which makes them overflow and sometimes even burst. Fewer and fewer things, people, situations, companies, professions, schools, ways of working, enter our old huts and we face the need to invent new ones. If the term "hybrid" was little used a few years ago - except in biology and in the automotive sector - it is clear that the health crisis has put it under the spotlight. From now on, the events are hybrid, as well as the meetings, the fairs or the trainings.

But we would completely miss the treasure of the hybrid approach if we limit it to a mundane "mix of face-to-face and distance". No, hybridization isn't just adding digital to what I do, it's not just streaming an event, it's not running a meeting or training in front of participants. present in the room and others present behind their screens, this is not an ordinary "multi-channel" ... The hybrid approach is infinitely richer!

Hybridization is first of all the step aside, the leap into the motley, the side road, the encounter with what is most radically different to you. Hybridization is this mythological figure of the centaur, which brings together two entities that a priori have nothing to do with each other - man and horse - and which pushes each to come out of itself in order to metamorphose.

If today, everything is more and more hybrid - these cities which are vegetating and hybridize with the countryside, these cell phones which are at the same time gaming rooms and offices, or even these large groups which 'agilize' to the point of resembling startups - the world of work is no exception and human resources will also experience this great trend in the world to come. Never has a human resources director had to integrate into his business approach issues of information system and innovative digital tools, as if, gradually, the human resources department, the information systems department, the direction of innovation and the direction of digital intersect, hybridize, each forcing a real metamorphosis. We are well beyond the simple "transversality", since it is no longer for everyone to talk about where they are, to coordinate their professional identity with that of others, but rather to go beyond their identity as profession, to get out of it, to make it explode and to imagine a new one with his other interlocutors, also invited to this same work of metamorphosis.

Tomorrow, like all other professions, that of human ressources director will be hybrid. Likewise, a designer will no longer be able to confine himself to his profession, but will have to hybridize it with that of the developer, and vice versa. The sales manager will necessarily have to hybridize with the R&D director, etc. Because the world is more and more hybrid, professions will have to hybridize more and more and this will lead to a complete rethinking of professional training and the philosophy of human resources. This is the reason why the role of human resources managers will become more and more important, and even decisive in the years to come, because of this responsibility which falls on them. It is they, in their capacity to embrace this philosophy of hybridization, who will bring about these hybridizations, which guarantee the resilience and innovation capacity of their organizations.

Rather than systematically training in fields, sectors, disciplines corresponding to his profession, it will be necessary, as the philosopher Elias Canetti advises, to cast his anchor as far as possible, including towards other sectors, other trades, other disciplines, so as to acquire skills radically different from those we already have. And that's how lawyers will learn to code in Python, accountants will learn business, and managers will take anthropology courses. In this sense, employees who are already "centaurs" - with varied backgrounds and skills - must be considered as gems. They will be the smugglers, the crossbreeders, the linchpins between different professions / departments / services, capable of building bridges between these worlds which have difficulty in dialogue. Recruit lawyer-developers, commercial-philosophers, manager-designers, engineer-artists! Value these hybrid profiles, promote them, don't cut off their fifth leg of the sheep and help them hybridize their skills!

Hybridization questions the relationship to others and it is in this sense that it is a particularly interesting approach in the world of work. There are three traps in which a relationship (professional, personal or even ... international!) can fall:

  • the merger where we all seek to resemble each other in a common identity, erasing all singularities: for example, this is often what the famous "corporate culture" seeks to do which risks creating clones, smoothing differences and maintaining employees in a bubble of homogeneity;

  • the coexistence where one is located in juxtaposition with respect to the other, in a form of indifference in which each one remains what he is, in his swimming lane: a phenomenon which happens very often, for example, between two services / departments / trades of a company or public institution;

  • the conflict where one of the two seeks to devour the other or to take precedence over him: this is what happens, for example, when the commercial takes precedence over R&D or the legal over strategy;

The centaur who stages a man and a horse, does not fall into any of these traps and inaugurates a fourth path: metamorphosis, that is to say that each operates a transformation towards the other, leaving him- even, without departing from his singularity, without seeking to devour the other, without being indifferent to him. This "side step" - which may seem surprising, even anecdotal - is in fact a "step towards the other"; that is to say that as long as each service, each department, each profession, each generation, within an organization, whether public or private, will not have left its logic of identity to embrace, understand and appropriate those of others, there will be no transversality. There will only be meetings where everyone crosses paths, but where no one meets, since everyone speaks their language and is locked in their reference points, their representations, and sometimes, their prejudices ... If, on the contrary, this hybrid approach is implementation, the isolation, the difficulty of coordination, the slowing down of collective dynamics, the breaches of confidence caused by teleworking and the current health crisis, will gradually fade away. The subject is not to be in distance or face-to-face, but to hybridize with each other!

Since training and trades will be hybrid, the organization will also have to become so. All too often, companies and public institutions "nest" in a service, a department, a "lab", the agility, flexibility, responsiveness, creativity specific to innovation, while simultaneously maintaining rigid work, devoid of any creativity and obeying only "boxes". So it is with state-owned startups, for example, which create the illusion of a global innovation mindset, but which only places the responsibility on a few individuals within the collective. Hybridization is the opposite of juxtaposition; that is to say that it is not a question of making agility coexist with rigidity, nor of the face-to-face with distance, in the same way that we cannot be satisfied with putting a man on a horse to bring about a centaur! On the contrary, this approach must be the concern of all, including those who believed themselves excluded or considered themselves little affected by any requirement of creativity, such as accounting or legal matters...

The hybrid company or public institution, capable of hybridizing trades, generations, channels and uses, services and departments, professional identities, employees, skills, ways of working, will then be d 'all the more able to hybridize the sectors, the use cases, the populations to which it addresses to innovate, and therefore to face the unforeseeable, disguised as Covid-19, as a computer virus or other ... The world of tomorrow's work will be hybrid or not!

(*) Gabrielle Halpern, "Tous centaures ! Eloge de l’hybridation", Editions Le Pommier, 2020.


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