Driving inclusivity with a hybrid workforce is a new challenge for managers at historically collocated tech focused businesses.
Flexibility helps foster inclusivity in a world where no two employees work the same way as it is important for organizations to establish a workplace philosophy with flexibility in mind.
While employees believe hybrid work makes them happier and more productive, more needs to be done to fully leverage the opportunities of a hybrid work future according to a study.
Building an inclusive culture, developing employee engagement strategies, and deployment of technology infrastructure are some of the things that need to be done to tap into these opportunities.
According to Mike Minchew, head of acquisition integration management and operations and interim head of HR at Bigtincan, plans and budgets for enabling a remote or hybrid workforce should be based on system data, such as IT and HR issue tickets, combined with continued survey feedback from both managers and employees
The entire executive leadership team needs to be involved in the development of hybrid workforce strategies. Organizations must continually adapt their approach to ensure that every employee is set up for success and professional growth once there is buy-in across all stakeholders.
Address Common Themes
Minchew says that businesses should identify and address common themes based on the feedback from the internal survey.
Next, companies can come up with workable solutions and work with finance to model the cost and budget affordability.
All employees should be encouraged to bring any unique needs to their managers or HR, because no business can fix what they don’t know about, he says.
It is likely that some managers and employees prefer working from home while others prefer to work from the office.
In-office collaboration, team lunches, and on-the-go coffee shops are just a few of the technologies that leadership must interact through daily. He says that to best leverage a flexible and inclusive philosophy in our virtual world, organizations have to maintain connection.
Managers and leadership training must be prioritized to emphasize the value and improved employee engagement that comes from building a diverse workforce. The focus of these trainings is to build the manager’s muscles so that they can provide new skill-building opportunities more broadly across the workforce.
Minchew says that initiatives like these require all leadership to break down their old habits of leaning on their go-to people to think more strategically about how to coach team members who aren’t in their direct line of sight.
Optimize Remote Work Experience
The most inclusive cultures will improve the remote work experience for employees, according to the chief people officer at the company. She says you need to create data-driven empathy for your leaders. Using real data to understand employees and sharing that information with leaders is part of the process. It is a major component of human-centered leadership that can make or break a company’s culture.
She explains that successful companies have modes of listening that are continuous and include a feedback loop that shares what employees are saying to each other.
When communication is shared from the top, employees need to trust that it is authentic, and they need to feel safe to share.
IT and HR have traditionally been separate from each other in their efforts to drive larger business objectives.
It is truly a shared responsibility and businesses must see it that way. In order to develop remote working guidelines and expense reimbursement policies that are standardized, yet flexible, departments from HR to IT to finance must partner with each other.
Minchew says that this collaboration allows personalization, so that no matter where an employee is working, they have access to approved hardware and software that meet both their working needs and IT policies.
It is difficult to efficiently engage in video conference calls on an unstable or slow internet connection, and businesses need to recognize that access to stable, high-speed internet connections varies greatly across a workforce.
Encourage Access Upgrades
Minchew says that leaders can encourage employees to work remotely if they are willing to pay the appropriate cost, rather than forbidding them from working from home. He says that when employees are on a common level of home office technology, organizations can improve productivity.
There isn’t one thing that will work for every person, which means companies must offer flexible options for collaboration and engagement The concept of virtual inclusivity is important for hybrid workplace because it gives a virtual component so that anyone who is not in the room also feels included.
The culture, integrity and security of the organization need to be protected by the CIO and the chief people officer, according to Souza. Talking to employees is the best way to find out if a hybrid work environment is actually inclusive. HR leaders can understand real-time feedback on employee engagement by using continuous listening strategies.
She says it is important to monitor important metrics related to employee retention and development opportunities. Which populations are leaving?
Retention is an indicator of employee engagement. Retention is one of the top priorities for any leader in the talent market. Ensuring your workforce is engaged, both in-office and remote, is critical.
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