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Over the past two years, organisations around the world have been thrust into the world of hybrid work. Employers are keen to welcome employees back to the office. But employees are choosing health, family and work-life balance over commuting and in-person meetings. As a leader, it’s important to recognise the impacts of this working model shift, including the challenges it poses to your inclusion and diversity strategies. Left unchecked, poor organisational culture can wreak havoc on business performance.

Hybrid work is here to stay

In the UK alone, surveys suggest that between a quarter to two-thirds of employers intended to introduce or expand hybrid working in 2021. In 2022, the proportion of workers hybrid working has risen from 13% in February 2022 to 24% in May 2022. While working from home can have many reported benefits (like improved well-being), it can also have a detrimental impact elsewhere.

Master Organizational Culture Shifts

For starters, organisations must re-evaluate their company’s culture in the new world of hybrid work. While there isn’t a right or wrong culture – it helps to consider your organisation’s strategy. Next, you’ll need to outline action steps to drive success.

Organisational culture is a key component in attracting (and retaining) talent, driving business performance and meeting business goals. The key to instilling a strong culture in your organisation is to make employees feel connected. For example, many colleagues may not have opportunities to create social circles outside of work. Leaders must ensure employees feel connected, regardless of geographic location.

Think Inclusively

With the rise in hybrid working, it’s important to think about connectedness between employees. But it’s equally as important to consider inclusivity and diversity in the workplace.

According to McKinsey, certain groups of employees like hybrid working enough that they’re willing to quit when it’s no longer an option. These groups include:

  • Younger (18-34 years old) employees (59% more likely to leave than older ones)
  • Black employees (14% more likely to leave than white employees)
  • LGBQ+ employees (24% more likely to leave than heterosexual counterparts)
  • Women (10% more likely to leave than men)
  • Employees with disabilities (14% more likely to leave than employees without disabilities)

To foster inclusivity in a hybrid working model, leaders must nurture inclusion practices including work-life balance support, team building, and mutual respect.

It’s clear that in a diverse workforce, leaders need to take the time to build relationships. We must do away with cognitive bias that crops up the moment we log into a video conference call. There is no room for stereotyping or judging others based on their background, disabilities or sexual preferences.

Before launching my executive coaching practice, Nomena, I spent many years in the male-dominated financial services industry. I witnessed countless women colleagues emulating their male colleagues. They were driven to this behaviour through a lack of inclusivity, poor opportunities for mentorship and stalled career progress. In my current practice, I believe in authenticity. Work should be a place that encourages each one of us to show up with confidence in who we are.

As employees continue to voice their support for hybrid work, leaders need a strong diversity and inclusion strategy. Moreover, leaders also need to rise to the challenge of fostering strong organizational culture. If you’re interested in learning more about balancing organisational culture and hybrid work, please get in touch.