- Jim Citrin, senior director of Spencer Stuart, discussed hybrid work at a “Talks at GS” event.
- Citrin and Darleen DeRosa discussed the RAMP model in their book, “Leading at a Distance.”
- Managers need to prioritize building relationships and processes across their hybrid workforce.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Jim Citrin literally wrote the book on how to lead in a hybrid workplace.
Citrin, senior director of executive search firm Spencer Stuart, is the co-author alongside consultant and colleague Darleen DeRosa of “Leading at a Distance: Practical Lessons for Virtual Success.”
At the recent Talks at GS event earlier this month, Citrin spoke with Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon about a key concept from the book: the RAMP model. RAMP stands for relationships, accountability, motivation, and process. And according to Citrin, the model can help leaders navigate the changing landscape of work — specifically, hybrid work.
As vaccination rates increase and companies become more comfortable moving employees back into the office, debate swirls over the future of hybrid work. While most C-suite executives are eager to get workers back in the office, employees have a different idea — with the majority favoring either remote or hybrid-work environments.
“When you’re leading a virtual team or a hybrid team,” Citrin said, “having a relationships aspect is more important than ever before.”
The RAMP model brings cohesion to any workplace
The RAMP model teaches leaders how to build connections between their employees, and create essential best practices. By focusing on all four pillars of the model, leaders can use the RAMP model to build an inclusive hybrid culture, Citrin told Solomon.
“Particularly in a hybrid world where some people are in the office and some people are outside,” Citrin said, “if you just let people do everything, run amok, then nothing can get done.”
According to Citrin, the four aspects of RAMP work in harmony in a hybrid workplace. For example, the relationships and processes pillars are essential to fostering the middle two, accountability and motivation.
When employees form connections with their colleagues, the thinking goes, they will care more deeply for their company and the work they are producing. This relationship-building can then inspire workers to feel like they are “tapping into the purpose” of their work, and makes them more accountable and motivated.
For example, by ensuring a smooth hiring and onboarding process, talent teams give candidates and new hires a strong chance at forming relationships with their colleagues. Their feelings of empowerment can then turn into stronger performance.
Don’t over-rely on any one pillar
The four pillars of the RAMP model work together to build community and efficiency in a hybrid work environment, so over-emphasizing one pillar, while overlooking another, could make a company less effective, Citrin said.
Unfortunately, this is often the case. During the writing of “Leading at a Distance,” Citrin and DeRosa contacted 600 virtual teams and 1,000 CHROs. What they found is that leaders tend to favor either the relationship side or the process side. However, Citrin said, “it’s really important to keep that as an even scale.”
When there are strong relationships and processes in place, employees will feel cared for and the company can thrive, Citrin said. In a workforce where employees are scattered across computer screens and cubicles, teams must account for all aspects of hybrid work.
“You want to really be associated with a company, with a firm,” Citrin said, “that you’re really proud to be a part of, that represents your values.”