When we first unveiled Flex with Purpose, our hybrid workforce model that blends remote, hybrid and on-site teams, we knew that a strong foundation in diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) was critical to its success. By keeping employee experience at the center of this model, we could reimagine the future of work with the potential to sustain lasting relationships between employees and leaders and with the flexibility to meet individuals where they’re at.
Diversity and inclusion make hybrid work is the second paper of our ongoing series focused on DEI and hybrid work. In the paper, we turn to leaders in diversity — chief diversity officers (CDOs) and DEI experts — to learn how organizations across industries are navigating this hybrid landscape. While these conversations emphasize that every journey toward the DEI-founded hybrid future is unique, they also underscore shared practices across leading organizations.
“The impact of the pandemic and remote work was significant for employees and leaders across industries, but the CDOs we spoke to all navigated this everchanging landscape with agility and responsive strategies,” says KPMG U.S. Chief Diversity Officer Elena Richards. “Our shared values of diversity, equity and inclusion have spotlighted shared practices for supporting our people through difficult times as well as finding new ways to thrive in the hybrid workforce.”
Through this second installment in our series, KPMG reimagines the future of work using KPMG’s own experience and insights as well as those from leaders in diversity across real estate, education, insurance, specialty retail, pharmaceuticals, finance and manufacturing. Key insights include:
- Embracing hybrid: It’s here to stay. The greatest misconception about hybrid work is that it’s a temporary fix, but employees across industries are making their desires for more flexibility known. Being an employer of choice means listening to employee needs, assessing pathways forward and investing in steps that help remote, hybrid and on-site employees succeed.
- Envisioning a total workplace ecosystem: What happens when the purpose of an office has fundamentally shifted and productivity can happen anywhere, not just in an office space? The total workplace ecosystem recognizes that employees have new relationships to the office, requiring an intentionally and meaningfully structured hybrid environment.
- Supporting managers: A good manager can make or break the hybrid experience given their day-to-day interaction with employees. How are organizations providing more resources and coaching so that managers have the tools to succeed in this evolving environment? Providing support to managers through a DEI lens can help ensure employees feel like they belong in the hybrid workplace.
- Embedding DEI into policy: Educating managers and creating concrete policies push conversations about DEI from lip service to core strategy. Is DEI tied to leadership development and integrated into new practices and programs? Being intentional with DEI, especially in staffing strategies, meetings and mental health, can create strong cultural practices that empower employees.
- Focusing on equity and connection: Where can employees voice concerns, build connections outside their immediate teams and foster their sense of belonging? From surveys and listening sessions to business resource groups (BRGs) that bring employees across the world together, providing space for connections helps employees advocate for themselves, set culture and supplement formal avenues of mentorship with informal ones.
Our third, and final, installment in this series on hybrid work will cover how technology is advancing DEI in a hybrid work environment.