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Strategies for promoting inclusivity
How to address unconscious bias
How to create a diverse and inclusive workplace
They are the relational connections between people in society. In some ways, they work like the synapses that connect neurons in the brain. As neurons fire in connection with one another, they develop and strengthen the neural pathways between them.
Similarly, formal and organic touchpoints between colleagues can help create strong relationship networks in organizations, which naturally evolve and change as the business changes. These relationships support organizational structure; fuel innovation, culture, and the spread of information; enable strategy, and often help make change “work.”
Apprenticeship happens more easily, naturally, and organically in a fully “in-person” work environment; it can be harder, and require more intentionality and planning, in a virtual or hybrid world. Teams become more diverse and geographically distributed as remote work increases, and team members’ roles and needs quickly evolve.
Leaders must focus on connecting the dots in the teams around them and identify informal leaders to do the same. Practicing intentional apprenticeship helps nurture and reinforce the relational ties that bind, thus creating a virtuous cycle.
Unique approaches for specific groups will be key to rebuilding organic connections, as the pandemic has influenced us in different ways. Younger workers, new employees, and introverts have reported more difficulty in contributing to the team, and in feeling engaged, due to the loss of spontaneous connections and interactions.
To increase the emphasis on human centricity, one technology corporation is leveraging real-time data to iterate approaches that work for specific groups around office re-entry, facilities management, workplace safety, and contact tracing and care management.
Do not forget how much has been achieved virtually. People have built the muscle to reconnect previously lapsed connections with long-distance family and friends online during the pandemic; virtual hangouts and other creative ways have emerged to meet social connection needs.
While many employers may be ready to return to significant in-person presence, nearly three-quarters of employees would like to work from home two or more days per week. Organizations should expect and prepare for a mix of virtual and in-person teams.
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