CFOs and other business leaders: Are you prepared for increasing your organisation’s budget for improved inclusion in a hybrid work setting?
According to Gartner, organisations that effectively manage the transition to a hybrid work environment and employ sustainable initiatives can boost inclusion by 24%.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the ways organisations fostered inclusion were designed for a mostly on-site world, including employee resource groups (ERGs) and their sponsorship of in-person events, the advisory firm observed, adding that hybrid work affects four of the elements that make up inclusion—fair treatment, diversity, belonging and trust.
Gartner recommends HR leaders and also other business leaders to enact sustainable inclusion initiatives that focus on addressing elements of exclusion that employees experience on regular basis via the following strategies:
Microaggressions training and reporting
To address unfair treatment in the hybrid work environment, leaders should start by creating awareness of, and equipping employees with, the skills to identify and address microaggressions.
Microaggressions are verbal, behavioural or environmental indignities that insult traditionally marginalized groups.
Current training and development efforts largely focus on unconscious bias; however, to truly drive inclusion, all employees need to understand how to empathise with the experiences of marginalised groups, how to spot microaggressions, and more importantly, how to prevent and disrupt microaggressions from happening or escalating.
Diversity mentorship programs
Addressing the lack of transparency and career support of underrepresented talent is key to fostering inclusion in the hybrid work environment.
The most pervasive challenges to increasing diversity are organisational in nature – lack of transparency on career paths, next steps to promotion and lack of mentors/career support make it difficult for underrepresented talent to ascend to more senior positions.
Employers need to provide a viable networking infrastructure that enables underrepresented talent to build growth-focused networks and for mentors to better understand the barriers to advancement they are facing.
“At the office it’s easy to introduce yourself to a senior colleague when you bump into them, but in the hybrid world, organizations must ease the effort required to participate in networking programs and help facilitate connections,” said Ingrid Laman, vice president, advisory in the Gartner HR practice.
Financial and physical well-being programs
Belonging correlates to employees feeling that their organisations care about them and invest in their overall well-being.
Gartner research shows that candidates and employees place a premium on being cared for by their organizations.
To foster belonging in a hybrid work environment, organizations must identify the needs of different types of employees in order to continue to invest in the right mix of financial and physical well-being programs.
Employees who work remotely or in a hybrid arrangement may need to leverage physical wellness programs to prevent them from feeling isolated and overly sedentary. Employees whose families may have been adversely impacted by the pandemic may need to leverage financial wellness programs.
Reporting diversity metrics
Providing transparency into, and reporting on, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) progress is one way to improve trust.
Over the last 18 months, many organisations formally and publicly committed to increasing diversity, improving inclusion and addressing inequity.
Organisations now need to create transparency on how they are progressing towards those goals. Metrics focused on representation, talent mobility, turnover and inclusion help employees—and leaders—understand the current state of their organisation and the opportunities for improvement, and hold individuals accountable for progress.