5 Ways to Make Your Hybrid Workplace More Inclusionary
Employees thrive in organizational cultures that value and respect their individuality and diversity. Binding employees with financial motivations and organizational goals isn’t enough to attract and retain top talent. Professionals are losing touch with office culture and their peers due to work-from-home and hybrid models.
In such scenarios, leaders have much to gain by embracing inclusionary workplace cultures that allow every employee to thrive and grow. But hey, what is an inclusionary culture, and what does it entail?
The word inclusionary refers to a system that provides equal opportunities, resources, and tools to people from diverse backgrounds. It’s a workplace culture that fights marginalization and discrimination at its roots. It carves out equality for professionals with mental disabilities, physical deformities, and those from minority communities.
Keep reading to explore strategies to transform your hybrid workplace into an inclusionary, close-knit community.
1. Formulating A Strategy
All hybrid workplace models are erected on the same premises, although the infrastructure and strategy are unique to every business. When half the employees work in the office, and the other half are home-bound, problems can ensue. Leaders must establish a comprehensive communication strategy to overcome these problems and support undisturbed productivity.
Are you a visionary entrepreneur who struggles with communication? You’re not alone, but the hybrid model demands savvy communication skills to ensure its success. We advise exploring communication skills courses to learn innovative communication techniques. Returning to the classroom may seem a time-consuming exercise. Still, it will help you embrace communication styles that support inclusivity.
You can always hire a communications expert and delegate these responsibilities to a competent and skilled professional. But as the leader, you cannot promote your vision through someone else’s communication abilities. Therefore, it’s wise to harness your skills and embrace communication styles aligned with your organizational vision.
2. Adopting the Right Tools
Businesses require a cutting-edge infrastructure to enable rapid internal and external communication and collaboration among hybrid teams. Companies invest in a vast host of tools and software to promote ease of coordination between office and home-bound employees. Many businesses develop in-house solutions to allow employees to communicate and coordinate, tracking deadlines and maintaining accountability.
Project management tools and solutions are instrumental in eliminating barriers to efficient coordination. Setting up the right communication infrastructure is crucial for internal and executive communication. The right tools allow C-suite executives to stay connected with their managers, employees, and external stakeholders efficiently.
It’s crucial to assess the needs of your business before investing in software and tools. Finding the right fit for your communication needs lies at the heart of effective communication.
3. Establishing Inclusive Decision-Making Processes
Decision-making delays are common culprits behind lost opportunities, dismayed clients, inefficient project management, and other organizational problems. You see, when we delay decision-making, we lose opportunities that help the business grow and expand.
Most opportunities in the corporate world demand speed and efficient decision-making. For instance, delays in deciding upon a project proposal can encourage the client to look elsewhere for a speedy solution. Likewise, angel investors are likely to overlook your startup if you can’t finalize your presentation and schedule a date.
Decision-making is likely to get more challenging in hybrid models as team coordination and feedback are apparent challenges. However, executives can overcome these challenges by embracing inclusive decision-making processes. But first, executives must identify people who can make significant and valuable contributions.
Adding too many people to the decision-making loop will only result in a waste of time. It’s crucial to reduce the execution time by identifying talented professionals who have the most to contribute. Executives need to devise a team of problem-solvers, data analysts, financial experts, and forecasters to support savvy decision-making.
However, excluding the workforce from decision-making doesn’t imply their feedback isn’t valued. Businesses can allow all employees to contribute to the decision-making processes by giving their input and opinions. But this endeavor demands a strategy that doesn’t lead to execution delays and inefficiencies.
4. Applying the Observe, Orient, Decide & Act (OODA) Loop Process
The OODA loop offers a comprehensive, four-step approach to speed up decision-making without losing organizational participation. It’s a process that supports inclusivity and allows executives to filter actionable information for speedy and accurate decision-making. The OODA loop revolves around observing, orienting, deciding, and acting.
It’s a process that emphasizes the role of data in decision-making processes. First, businesses must invest human intelligence in observing, orienting, and identifying the best decisions. Once a decision is reached, it’s crucial to act promptly unless data presents new opportunities and outcomes.
The OODA loop strategy benefits organizations in sharpening their competitive edge and overshadowing rivals. It’s highly efficient in scenarios where businesses are embroiled in fierce competition and must react quickly to shifting dynamics. Inability to respond to shifting circumstances faster than a competitor can create scores of disadvantages. Therefore, embracing the OODA loop approach allows businesses to thrive in complex and volatile environments.
Business survival lies in the decision-making prowess of an organization, and it’s crucial to align hybrid models with effective strategies. You see, the hybrid approach is likely to cause delays, but the OODA loop can help overcome these delays to support efficient decision-making.
5. Fostering Team Cohesion
Employees bond with other professionals, creating in-groups of people with similar qualities, struggles, and opportunities. But how do these in-groups impact the company? More often than not, they impact negatively as in-group loyalty makes other employees feel excluded. It’s normal for group members to exclude non-members from crucial information, opportunities, and resources.
These issues are likely to exacerbate in the hybrid model. Groups and team leaders can marginalize and discriminate against non-members by showing reluctance to delegate and share resources. Team members returning to the office can create a ‘group within a group,’ excluding members working at home. Home-bound employees are usually seen as less contributive and reliable than those working in the office.
Entrepreneurs must foster and cultivate team cohesion to break all and eliminate all in-groups. Employees must harbor strong ties with the organization to ensure a smooth flow of information and resources.
Communication lies at the heart of an inclusionary hybrid workplace that encourages individuals to actualize personal and professional growth. Leaders must tap into their communication skills to analyze and address the challenges of leading a hybrid workplace.
The hybrid workplace is a partial return to normalcy, but it still deprives professionals of peer support and contact. Businesses must fill the gaps by providing streamlined solutions that support collaboration between employees across all departments