Encouraging inclusion with a hybrid workforce is often a new challenge for managers in historically located, technology-focused businesses.

It is crucial for organizations to establish a philosophy in the workplace, given flexibility, as flexibility helps promote inclusion in a world where no two employees work in the same way.

Cisco survey in April found that while employees believe that hybrid work makes them happier and more productive, the results also show that more needs to be done to take full advantage of the future of hybrid work.

The study found that using these opportunities requires building an inclusive culture, developing employee engagement strategies, and deploying technology infrastructure to bring organizations to the level of readiness of their employees.

Mike Minchu, Head of Acquisition Integration Management and Operations and Interim Head of Human Resources at Bigtincan, explains that plans and budgets to provide a remote or hybrid workforce should be based on systemic data, such as IT tickets and HR, combined with ongoing feedback from the survey by both managers and employees.

“It is crucial that the entire executive leadership team is actively involved in developing and refining hybrid workforce strategies,” he said. “Once supported by all stakeholders, organizations need to continually adapt their approach to ensure that every employee is committed to success and professional growth.”

Pay attention to common topics

Minchew says that based on the feedback from this internal study, companies need to identify and address common themes to communicate with a wider base of employees.

Companies can then formulate workable solutions and then connect to finance to model the cost and affordability of the budget.

All employees should be encouraged to present any unique needs of their managers or HR for consideration, because no business can fix what they do not know, he says

He points out that in all businesses, it is likely that some managers and employees will prefer to work from home, while others will prefer to work from the office.

Regardless of the preferred work styles, leadership needs to interact on a daily basis through the various technologies available – Slack, phone and video calls, text messaging, office collaboration, team lunches or cafes on the go or conference meetings. “To make the most of the flexible and inclusive philosophy in our virtual world, organizations need to stay connected if they want to offer their employees the job of the future,” he said.

In addition, business must prioritize the training of managers and leaders to emphasize the significant value and improved employee engagement resulting from building a diverse workforce. These trainings are focused on building the “muscles” of the manager to actively provide new opportunities to build skills more widely in the workforce.

Minchu explains that initiatives like these require all management to break all old habits of relying on their “useful” people to think more strategically about how to train team members who may not act in their line of sight. .

Optimize remote work

Erin Souza, chief human resources officer at AI Aware, a behavior and management firm, said in the end that the most inclusive cultures would optimize the remote work experience for employees. “To achieve that, you need to create data-driven empathy among your leaders,” she said. “This includes using real data to understand employees and sharing this information with leaders to create empathy that is rooted in the data. It’s a key component of human-centered leadership that can create or destroy a company’s culture. “

She explains that successful companies will introduce listening regimes that are continuous and include feedback that shares what employees hear.

“There’s a huge component of transparency in this – employees need to feel confident to share, they need to believe they’re heard, and when communication is shared from above, employees need to believe it’s authentic,” Souza added.

IT and human resources have traditionally been silenced in their efforts to achieve broader business goals, such as infrastructure and inclusion.

From Minchew’s point of view, this is indeed a shared responsibility – and business should see it that way. This means that human resources to IT funding departments need to partner in their efforts to develop remote work guidelines and cost recovery policies that are standardized but flexible.

“This collaboration allows for customization, so no matter where an employee works, they have access to approved hardware and software that meets both their work needs and IT security policies,” Minchu said.

In addition, businesses need to realize that access to stable, high-speed Internet connections varies greatly across employees, and it is often difficult to participate effectively in video conferencing in the event of an unstable or slow connection.

Encourage access upgrades

Instead of banning those with poor internet access from working from home, Minchu says leaders can instead encourage employees who are interested in teleworking, upgrade where necessary and recoup costs. “When all employees are at the same level of home office technology, organizations can remove barriers to engagement and ultimately improve productivity,” he said.

Souza adds that leaders also need to recognize that all employees are unique with different preferences and that there is no one thing that works for everyone, which means that companies need to offer flexible opportunities for collaboration and commitment. “One element that is extremely important for hybrid workplaces is the concept of virtual inclusion, which provides a virtual component so that everyone who is not in the room also feels included,” she explains.

In terms of leadership, Souza says the CEO and the CIO must work together to ensure that the organization’s culture, integrity and security remain protected. From her point of view, the best way to find out if employees think hybrid work environments are actually inclusive is by talking to them. By using continuous listening strategies, HR leaders can understand real-time feedback on employee engagement.

She adds that it is extremely important to monitor important indicators related to employee retention and development opportunities: Are there differences in which populations receive opportunities? Which populations leave and which remain?

“Detention is a huge indicator of employee engagement. “The talent market is incredibly competitive right now, and retention is the most important thing for any leader.” “Ensuring the commitment of your workforce, both in the office and remotely, is critical and expected.

What to read next:

Work for telecommuting is still growing, especially for technical professionals

How to prevent IT team members from leaving the narrow employment market

How remote workers can sustain their careers in a world back to the office


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