The Lens Shift on Inclusion

By August 9, 2021Inclusion

Seven Lenses to See How Everyday Work is Changing – A Series

Hi, this is Evan Ishida with Thrive at Work. We’ve been talking a lot about the hybrid workplace and what it’s going to take to create places where people want to show up, be their best, grow, whether they’re home, remote, or in the office. We think it’s going to take teams, leaders, and organizations to see through a new lens; think about it as a pair of glasses. With those glasses, we need to start seeing things a bit differently than the way we did before the pandemic or even working into the pandemic. The hybrid workplace appears to be here to stay. A lot of people are expecting that when they’re choosing employment, growth, and career development opportunities for themselves.

1 – Create Conditions for Belonging

We’re putting out a series of videos as you may or may not be following. The one I’m talking about today is focused on inclusion. What we’re seeing and hearing much more today, than let’s say even a year ago, is this heightened focus on creating a sense of belonging. That to us is where people feel heard, seen, and valued, whether they’re in the office, remote, or working different kinds of schedules.

2 – Psychological Safety

Organizations that are hyper-focused on this are doing things like creating practices of psychological safety that are truly embedded in the way leaders interact with their teams or the way teams interact with each other. A lot of times people hear psychological safety and they think about failure. They tend to think “That’s making it ok to fail so we can learn, grown, and innovate from there” and that’s certainly a part of it. It’s also about creating a space where people can show up and be their full selves. This connects to another lens we’re thinking about around wellbeing. This helps people show up and talk about their work-life and balance.

Teams are asking questions like:

  • What are the things in their worlds that are pulling their attention from something else?
  • Where’s an area they might need help?
  • Where can they offer help?

Creating safety to bring those realities to the table. That helps create that sense of belonging; it’s a skill and a practice that could be embedded in a number of different areas.

3 – Business Model Integration of Inclusion

The other piece we’re seeing relates to the business model integration of inclusion. We’re proposing that teams and organizations really think about where they can integrate practices of inclusion into their work.

Thinking about work design:

  • Are we thinking about the people that are in the office, the people that aren’t in the office, and the people that might be in the office only a few days?
  • Are we rethinking the way we design our work flows and our communication protocols so we make sure everyone has a chance to contribute in their best way possible, wherever that can work?
  • Looking at jobs and responsibilities – Which ones really need to be here and which ones don’t?

4 – Micro-practices of Inclusion

In regards to micro-practices of inclusion, we talk a lot about planning and inviting. We’re looking at leaders and teams that practice inviting people into decision making, inviting voices into crafting and planning the future together. This creates a place where people feel like they can support what they’ve helped create. They feel like they’ve been heard and seen.

Thinking about micro-practices:

  • How are we inviting people to meetings?
  • What ways are we communicating?
  • How are we keeping people up to speed?
  • When conversations start to take place in the hallways (as they might do in a brick-and-mortar office), are we thinking about the people who aren’t in the office who we might want to bring in?
  • What technologies are we using?

Be looking at ways to make sure everyone can see and feel the work and be a part of it. We’ll talk more about that in our technology lens as well.

New Lenses of Inclusion

Think about these new lenses of inclusion: psychological safety, integrating practices of inclusion, bringing people into decisions, work in new ways, as being new ways of extending our thinking about inclusion to that of being valued, seen, and heard, and creating a sense of belonging.

Reflecting Back Over the Old Ways

We’re going to move beyond Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) training classes; millions of dollars are spent on training. It’s great for building awareness, but it may not get us there in the new hybrid work environment thinking about how we integrate all of that work together.

We want to be thinking differently about how we promote, how we recognize what’s good, what it takes essentially. Create a new definition of what it takes to succeed in organizations by recognizing the differences at the table, that recognizes and is sensitive to the different realities that employees have in their own world. In our wellbeing lens, we’ll talk a bit about designing work around life as opposed to designing life around work.

That’s inclusion, that’s belonging. Thanks for listening. Stay tuned for more of our videos on the new lenses for creating the new hybrid work environment. Thanks again.

If you’d like to connect with us to talk more about these lenses or about the way that work is changing, please get in touch with us by booking a call, head to our website, follow our blogs, or join us on LinkedIn. We look forward to seeing you next time.

Evan Ishida

About Evan Ishida

The work I love is designing solutions and experiences that help people learn, collaborate, create, and innovate together. As a proud Ohio University Bobcat, I began my career as an internal consultant, and team leader in large global Fortune 200 corporations where I focused on learning and development, instructional design, communities of practice, and learning technologies.