Brigid Archibald, Managing Director for Qualtrics in Asia Pacific and Japan reports on Creating Equal Opportunities In The Hybrid Workplace.
As employers rush to embrace hybrid work models, there’s currently a belief among many women in the workforce that in-office workers will be afforded more opportunities to climb the career ladder.
New research from Qualtrics found nearly half of respondents believed in-office workers would have a career advantage over those choosing to work remotely. When asked what negative impact working remotely would have on them, almost 1 in 5 women said getting promoted or taking on additional responsibilities, while 1 in 10 said it would impact their future pay rises.
Given these findings, it’s no surprise to learn that 47% of female respondents in the study said they would feel pressured to work in the office when it’s safe to do so.
These findings serve as an important reminder for every employer, leader, and manager not to underestimate the ways hybrid work models can impact their employee experience. Because while there’s no denying the strong preference to work in these types of environments, there’s still much work that needs doing to ensure these models are inclusive and fair for every individual in the workplace.
Closing the hybrid employee experience gap
To address the downstream impact on employee experience created by hybrid work models, employers need to design new and improved workplace policies and training programs tailored for the new environments each of us finds ourselves in. Doing so will help alleviate and address the concerns many women have about the future of work.
One of the most pressing challenges employers need to address when it comes to hybrid models is removing bias from the workplace. To tackle this, employers need to ensure training modules focused on preventing unconscious bias are a key component in their learning and development programs. For example, at Qualtrics every team member is required to complete Unconscious Bias at Work training.
New workplace policies also have an important role to play in ensuring hybrid models are a success. For example, how can an employer ensure its performance and development program is focused on rewarding outcomes? Or as vaccination rates increase and offices reopen, what steps can be taken to make all individuals feel safe and supported when they come into the office?
Participating and investing in programs focused on cultivating diversity, equity, and inclusion is also a valuable way to overcome the challenges faced, such as leadership and development programs for women in the workplace. These types of actions show commitment to solving the issues faced, and help team members to live the desired values. Alongside a number of employee community groups at Qualtrics, we are strong supporters of Startmate’s Women Fellowship program in Australia – this program is helping the technology industry think differently about where talent comes from by creating opportunities for women.
Tailoring the Employee Experience
For hybrid work models to truly be successful, it’s important they represent, consider, and address the diverse world around us.
This is why the most important step businesses and governments can take to ensure their hybrid policies are inclusive of the entire organisation is continuously listening to and taking action on the voice of their employees and candidates. By uncovering and responding to issues that matter when they matter, organisations can co-create training programs, policies, and even third-party partnerships directly addressing people’s needs and concerns. Frequent and transparent communications from the organisation outlining the steps it is taking in response to feedback is important too – this shows people their voice is being heard.
The value of closing employee experience gaps created by hybrid models will have a positive impact across entire organisations. Alongside ensuring everyone has an equal opportunity, diverse and inclusive workplaces are eight times more likely to achieve better business outcomes. And at a time when employees are actively looking to join organisations that align with their needs and values, designing and delivering a great employee experience is a key competitive advantage to attract and retain talent.
Women Love Tech would like to thank Brigid Archibald, Managing Director for Qualtrics in Asia Pacific and Japan, for her article.