As employees and businesses continue to adopt flexible arrangements, including a combination of in-person and remote work, the focus is often on enabling job functionality from a technical perspective. But we also need to focus on invisible things like ethics. Skillsoft’s Compliance Senior Solutions Vice President Asha Palmer offers tips for creating an ethical and equitable environment no matter your team’s location.
How can an organization empower employees while preparing them to make successful ethical choices? raise your voice When things go sideways? The key lies in building a team of ethical leaders who lead with emotional intelligence, active listening, and personal accountability. But how will this change in today’s era of hybrid work?
Leaders use different tactics to encourage their teams to do the right thing. CSR at Work Report found to have the greatest impact on the organization’s corporate social responsibility priorities. Strategies often boil down to some common theme. To build a more ethical leader, show your team what good behavior looks like, be transparent about mistakes, and give team members the opportunity to be role models. It includes providing the time and space to make informed and measured decisions.
Let’s look at three more considerations.
Applying Ethical Leadership Principles
Previously, leaders could influence their teams directly within the office. But more organizations than ever before are moving to remote work. McKinsey survey says 58% of Americans work from home at least one day a week. But before hybrid employees can do the “right thing,” employers must show them what good behavior looks like from home. And give them the opportunity to be role models in their homes. While acknowledging that they have their own personal lives while working from home.
Managers must adapt their leadership style by creating new practices, fostering a sense of purpose and instilling a sense of belonging in each employee. Additionally, companies may require a leader with 2-3 years of experience successfully managing a hybrid work team given the unique challenges this poses. Finally, organizations should give leaders the opportunity to experiment to create better best practices and explore new ways of thinking.
Addressing Hybrid Work and Creating Equity
Hybrid work isn’t new, but the inequalities it can cause are drawing attention. If models are not carefully crafted and leaders are not properly trained to navigate this new world of work, organizations risk a toxic culture, creating a mix of haves and have-nots. There is a risk that a schism will form. Disadvantageous compared to civil servants. Now more than ever, organizations must pay critical attention to inclusivity and hybrid equity. Otherwise, you face retention risks and employee engagement and happiness decline.
Hybrid equity is another key DEI challenge, requiring managers and supervisors to understand how to foster psychological safety in which all employees feel equally supported. Leaders within an organization need to understand that virtual leadership and direct leadership require different skill sets. Organizations are responsible for providing the necessary resources to acquire that knowledge. To get through this, we are starting to see a trend in organizations adopting positions such as Chief Remote Work Officer and Chief Workforce Officer, leaders dedicated solely to ensuring consistent labor equity. However, regardless of title, this equality mindset must be consistent at all levels and each employee can access training opportunities to navigate this environment.
Leaders should also employ the following tactics:
- Find ways also to create direct touchpoints with remote employees
- Provide an open and secure line of communication
- Tap into a larger talent pool
- Democratize promotion pools to ensure remote workers are not subject to stigma.
Tackle Inequality Head-on
Employees bring unique strengths and talents to the workplace but can lose visibility in a hybrid environment. To empower them and promote their success, many leaders have adopted components of the DEI program to promote respect, diversity, and equity among their employees.
Steps to help leaders be aware of the DEI across hybrid teams include:
- Ensure all team members have equal access to information and communicate effectively with each other. This may include video conferencing, instant messaging, email, or other tools that facilitate real-time communication.
- Establish clear expectations about how team members are expected to participate in meetings, contribute to projects, and communicate with each other. Make sure these expectations are fair and consider the different needs and constraints of your remote and in-person team members.
- Provide training and resources to help team members develop the skills and knowledge they need to work effectively in a hybrid team environment. This may include training on virtual communication, project management tools, or other related topics.
- Create a culture that values diversity and inclusion and encourages all team members to contribute their unique perspectives and ideas. This may include setting up affinity groups and other initiatives to build connections among team members and foster a sense of community.
These steps ensure that all team members have a fair and inclusive experience in a hybrid team environment, regardless of location or work style. Even with a dwindling physical office presence, these steps will help employees demonstrate integrity, do the right thing, and succeed as ethical leaders in a hybrid workplace.