How to design for diversity in the workplace and promote inclusivity for hybrid teams
Hybrid workplace

How to design for diversity in the workplace and promote inclusivity for hybrid teams

Inclusivity and diversity have never been more important. Businesses with strong inclusion and diversity practices and ethos ensure they can outpace their competitors by respecting and appreciating the unique perspectives, needs, and potential of every employee. Diverse and inclusive workplaces earn a deeper sense of trust and higher level of commitment from their employees, as they feel valued and respected.

January 24, 2022

Another reason for supporting diverse and inclusive hybrid teams is to help maintain positive relationships between staff. If your workplace feels siloed from each other, a potential team divide could develop. This could be from your in-office staff developing incorrect perceptions regarding remote workers' level of output and productivity, or even from communication breakdowns that can occur through written communication such as emails and instant messages.

To overcome these challenges, it is important for employers to put in the effort to manage their team in a way that is inclusive, in order to allow a sense of belonging, and to allow for clear, free-flowing communication. This will help support employee wellbeing, which is proven to improve productivity, strengthen morale, and support an organisation's growth.

What does it mean to be an inclusive workplace?

Simply put, an inclusive workplace is one that values the individual and group differences within its team, helping people feel welcomed, known, valued, and safe to bring their whole, unique selves to work. Inclusive workplaces are ones that not only accept everybody as they are, but acknowledges and respects the differences and needs of every staff member.

Inclusivity requires leadership support and grassroots energy, which means hiring diverse teams that are looking to grow, building processes and routines that support inclusivity initiatives, and equipping senior management with the knowledge and skills to help ensure the business and their teams are genuinely being inclusive and diverse in all areas.

What makes a workplace diverse?

A diverse workplace is an inclusive environment that provides equal rights and opportunities for all employees, regardless of gender, age, sexual orientation, background, physical ability, religious beliefs, and so on. Hiring practices that seek out diverse talent help build out varied teams, which leads to greater results and empowered innovation.

What are the benefits for employees and employers?

The benefits of a diverse and inclusive workplace are extensive and impactful, from growing the success of the business and its reputation, to helping ensure people remain happy in their roles. Diversity and inclusivity in the workplace leads to:

Engaged employees

Research has found that engagement is an outcome of diversity and inclusion, proving that the link between workplace diversity and employee engagement is pretty straightforward: employees who feel included are more engaged at work. One way to transform employee engagement is to equip them with the tools to feel looped in at all times, whether from home or in the office. Implementing workplace management technology will help staff feel connected and informed about the office and business, even when working remotely, and will streamline staying connected in the office.

Innovative ideas and solutions

It’s been found that inclusive companies are 1.7 times more likely to be innovation leaders in the market. This is because in a diverse workplace, people are exposed to different worldviews and multiple perspectives. When people collaborate, these different perspectives combine in new ways, producing innovative results.  

Increased creativity

Bringing together people who see the same thing in different ways means fresh ideas, healthy debate, and new perspectives, all which improve the creativity of your workforce.

Speedy problem solving

Diverse companies make better decisions faster, which gives them a huge advantage over competitors. A study by Harvard Business Review discovered that diverse teams are able to solve problems faster than cognitively similar people. Due to the varied scope of ideas able to be presented by employees of diverse backgrounds and experiences, the best solution can be found sooner.

Higher profits

A huge research study conducted by McKinsey & Company across 180 companies found that companies with more diverse teams were also the leading financial performers. Staff happiness at work and a diverse range of backgrounds make them hugely competitive and successful across every industry.  

A good company reputation

Businesses that build and promote diversity and inclusion are viewed as desirable places to work, as they are seen as welcoming, progressive, people-centric, and socially responsible. Workplace diversity also makes your company look more interesting. Young workers expect to see diversity in leadership teams in particular, as it shows equal opportunities for growth. A diverse workforce makes it easier for customers, business partners, and potential employees to relate to your company, which leads to new opportunities.  

An increase in staff retention

Companies with greater diversity and inclusion efforts have lower turnover rates, as staff who feel valued, heard, and respected are more likely to stay with a company for longer. By committing to diversity and inclusion, your company creates a safe workplace, and a sense of belonging that people want to remain part of.  

Attracting top talent

A Glassdoor survey found that 76% of job seekers identified that a diverse workforce was an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers. Diversity in the workplace boosts the company’s brand and presents the business as a more desirable place to work. Workplace diversity attracts top talent from diverse talent pools.
How to improve diversity and inclusivity in hybrid teams

There’s no escaping it, the era of hybrid work is upon us. This new model of work, where staff can work from the office, from their lounge rooms, or from Bora Bora as long as they have a WiFi connection, presents some unique challenges around workplace culture.

Here are some tactics for building and supporting a diverse and inclusive hybrid team:  

Have a clear diversity and inclusion structure/policies

Ensuring you have detailed policies and expectations around diversity and inclusion makes it easier to implement and monitor success. Having these helps employees show up every day without fear of being their true selves. It also sets an expectation for the whole business to follow. This fosters higher degrees of engagement, productivity, and innovation that contribute to increased revenue.

Let your staff have a voice

The best workplaces thrive on an equal exchange of ideas, and the best workplace cultures are built by listening to the people who live, breathe, and lead it. When employees feel they have a voice and are being heard, they are more likely to contribute and offer opinions or suggestions.

Find a culture add, not a culture fit

During the hiring process, it’s easy to feel that the person who reminds you of the rest of the team will be a good fit. However, this often leads to teams with similar backgrounds and experience, and eventually you end up with an office of clones. Diversity helps provide a range of skills. Finding someone with something different and unique to offer the team ensures diversity, new ideas, and a refresh for the group dynamic.  

Foster communication between teams

Hybrid workplaces don’t offer the same level of organic opportunities for relationship building as in-person office spaces do. Encouraging conversation between employees who may not cross paths normally helps build a space where people feel they belong. Whilst people may roll their eyes at the term ‘team bonding activities’, something quick and easy to connect remote workers and office workers, like randomly paired video “coffee chats” 15 minutes a week, will help people gain new perspectives, will foster positive relationships, and form a sense of belonging in teams. These connections will also help lead to better collaboration and teamwork. It’s also important that all staff keep communication respectful, which is key to reinforcing inclusivity in the workplace.

Ensure all resources are accessible

Employees should always have access to the same information and resources as everyone else. Ensuring all meetings and communications are available to attend remotely can help with this, as can providing a central drive for all assets and resources. This will help streamline hybrid team models, and support your staff to achieve their best results.

Pay attention to patterns and insights

Using data and insights about your team's patterns and habits can help to best understand how to assist your staff in feeling included and valued. Nura Space has a variety of easily accessible tools around wellbeing, safety, and analytics, designed to help improve the employee experience, and help teams feel understood and valued.

Provide learning and development

Giving employees access to learning and development opportunities shows that the company cares about their ideas, goals, and growth. Potential learning opportunities are extensive, and could range from industry upskilling, to workcentric wellbeing practices, to education around diversity and inclusion.

More than ever, employers should be prioritizing diversity and inclusion, and investing in a range of resources to make sure their staff are equipped to achieve and succeed. A focus on diversity and inclusion is not only a smart move for your business, but also the right thing to do for your employees as people.

You can find out more about how Nura Space can help diverse and inclusive hybrid teams succeed right here.


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