The thing about D&I initiatives is that they don’t exist in a vacuum. You don’t carry them out for the sake of it, but because it’s part of becoming a bigger, better, faster organisation.
Creating a diverse, inclusive workplace is a major priority for a lot of organisations. For others, right now it’s about learning how to make a hybrid model work. But here’s the thing: it should be both, and they should be tackled in tandem. Because if you get it right, hybrid workplaces are a powerful tool for diversity.
40% of workers are expected to stay working remotely, with a large swath of companies either opting for remote-first models or committing to hybrid work. Though while there are good reasons for that, it does hold some risks.
It’s important to be realistic. There are some considerable risks to be aware of here: both in terms of creating new biases, and furthering existing inequalities:
How do you stop managers giving points for attendance? By training them to focus on outcomes. That means KPIs that quantify success, so they’re easy to measure. Only then can you keep the playing field levelled, and ensure progression stays fair and equitable.
You’re going to need a new approach to culture, to keep remote and office-working teams connected. Think about ‘away days’, organisation-wide meetings, awards ceremonies, and other occasional mass gatherings so everyone has that shared experience.
People want freedom and flexibility – but you may need some rules in place to make it work. Does everyone come in for a strategy session once a month, with ample notice, to stay aligned? Work out what has to happen in or out-of-office, and enforce that…. and only that.
Everyone’s made an unlikely work friend before. Those chance encounters are unlikely to happen organically now, but you can manufacture them – pair up employees to chat, rotate teams for cross-company tasks, and encourage hobby clubs to form.
When people are at work, make it an inclusive space for all. Consider desk configurations and de-gendering the toilets, make an effort to celebrate all major holidays, and make it a space of mutual respect and understanding.
Your employees know best. Check in regularly on their feelings around hybrid working, around inclusion at work, and on their overall engagement. Create a listening strategy backed by world-leading surveys, and you’ll learn how to make it work for your organisation.
We can help you with the listening part: