A Trend that is Here to Stay
We have written several articles about hybrid workforces lately, and there is a good reason for that! The term”Hybrid Workforce” is not just a current buzzword, research shows that this trend is here to stay. Remote working was gaining traction even before the COVID-19 pandemic, but employers were still concerned about productivity, security, employee well-being, and team morale. However, a recent study found that 78% of respondents feel that working from home or having some kind of hybrid work schedule worked best for them. In addition, 35% of respondents feel that their productivity was unaffected when working from home, and nearly 40% actually felt more productive.
While this is intriguing information, many employers still have so many questions! We have already covered, “Is a Hybrid Workforce the Right Choice?” and “Creating a High Autonomy Hybrid Workforce,” which addressed quite a few questions. Today, we want to answer one of the biggest questions yet: How do I ensure my hybrid workforce is inclusive?
Tips For Creating an Inclusive Hybrid Workforce
The Onboarding Process
- Create a catalog of short videos that describe all aspects of onboarding, such as walkthroughs on how to set up technology and navigate processes. You can also bring together new joiners for a session where they ask questions about the videos in small groups of five people or fewer. This gives new employees the most inclusive experience possible, as well as gives them a chance to bond with each other and ask questions in a safe space.
- In office employees often have an onsite IT technician help set up their laptop, phone, and monitor, troubleshoot any network or software issues, and are easily accessible for questions. For remote employees, give them an option during onboarding to self-select their level of technological savviness. This can help you determine and schedule remote IT assistance so new employees are provided for.
- In an office, it’s easier for new employees to pick up information and the ways of working via osmosis. So, consider implementing a buddy system where you pair new starters with a more experienced employee. This person becomes the go-to for the day-to-day informal questions and company information, which helps ensure that remote employees don’t miss out on the informal learning those in the office benefit from.
Teamwork and Positive Work Relationships
- In the office, an open physical door signaled that it was okay to walk in and speak with your colleague. For remote workers, make use of the trusty status bar to create a virtual open door. A message like “Open for chats!” along with a green status circle gives permission to bridge the distance gap.
- Create a sense of belonging and sense of place with virtual reality and virtual meeting rooms. Get creative and brainstorm ideas with employees on how to bring these rooms to life.
- Foster an environment where all voices are heard, both in office and remote, by increasing psychological safety. This can be done by encouraging civil debate and having hard conversations with employees. Ensure these types of conversations are had in a productive and judgment-free zone so employees know it is okay to have conflicting viewpoints. In fact, conflicting viewpoints often lead to the best ideas.
- Research shows that those who have the most direct contact with managers have the highest promotion rates. That is why it is essential to take note of why certain employees receive a promotion and make sure the reasoning is communicated.
- Keep track of your notes to notice if any patterns are emerging that favor one group over others, and make changes if necessary.
- Create ways to ensure everyone has visibility by sharing the accomplishments of all employees, both in office and remote, either on a public forum, during meetings, or on a messaging system. This allows managers to be aware of everyone’s contributions.