Employers are experimenting with managing the changing face of work and employee feedback is of course essential. So, will universal design principles and the practice of co-design come to the fore in designing work? Perhaps. Regardless, it’s the way to sustain and build diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
Most employees currently working in a hybrid model want it retained. A report by McKinsey found this was the case across the board. They also found that marginalised groups wanted it more than others:
- Employees with disabilities were 11 percent more likely to prefer a hybrid work model than employees without disabilities.
- More than 70 percent of men and women expressed strong preferences for hybrid work, but nonbinary employees were 14 percent more likely to prefer it.
- LGBQ+ employees were 13 percent more likely to prefer hybrid work than their heterosexual peers.
However, the McKinsey report highlighted potential pitfalls:
- Hybrid work has the potential to create an unequal playing field if not done correctly.
- Companies need to prioritize the most critical inclusion practices: work-life support, team building, and mutual respect.
- Marginalized groups are more likely to prefer a hybrid work model and would be more likely to leave if it was not available.
Hybrid good for inclusion
In their survey, 75 percent of all respondents said that they prefer a hybrid working model. Only 25 percent said they prefer to be full time on-site. An employee who might be hiding a disability, gender identity or sexual orientation can avoid declaring it. Concealing this information takes a toll on employee wellbeing and performance. Until workplaces are truly more inclusive hybrid works well for many groups.
As employers navigate their way through new ways of working they shouldn’t mistake hybrid as flexibility. Some organisations were able to manage issues of isolation and mental health during the pandemic. Nevertheless, these issues remain across the business landscape, particularly for some traditionally underrepresented groups.
The title of the report is, How can hybrid work models prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion?
The article was re-published by the World Economic Forum with permission. Will universal design principles and the practice of co-design come to the fore in designing work? We shall see.
Inclusive Job Descriptions Toolkit
Diversity, equity and inclusion are the current buzz words in the workplace, and it all starts with recruiting. So, how inclusive are job descriptions? Using gender inclusive language, meaning cisgender inclusive, now seems normal. Now we need to think about language for all marginalised groups. Grand Valley State University Libraries has an Inclusive Job Descriptions Toolkit to help.
The toolkit is focused on university recruitment, but the information can be used in other contexts. They use the acronym IDEA – Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access.
The first part of the toolkit outlines best practices and the second part provides an equity lens for reviewing the job descriptions. The appendices include additional language and job description templates.
The toolkit lists the components of a job description some of which are specific to the university context. However, all job descriptions should give an employee a clear guide to the role and what is expected of them. A job description answers the question “What does this role do?” The next section gives guidance on writing inclusive job descriptions.
Writing an inclusive job description
Inclusive language reduces the likelihood of applicants from self-selecting out. Biased language can occur unintentionally and can have a negative impact on recruitment efforts. For example, a job being suited to a recent graduate may signal a desire to avoid older workers.
The section on tips for writing job descriptions has many of the usual points for clear communication. For example: conciseness, simple gender inclusive language, and avoiding acronyms. Other tips are on phrasing such as moving from “excellent communication skills” to “ability to communicate clearly and effectively”.
The toolkit lists gender, race, and ableist coded words that most people wouldn’t consider as non-inclusive:
- Female-Coded Words: Agreeable, empathetic, sensitive, affectionate, feel, support, collaborate, honest, trust, commit, interpersonal, understanding, compassion, nurture, and share.
- Male-Coded Words: Aggressive, confident, fearless, ambitious, decisive, head-strong, assertive, defend, independent, battle, dominant, outspoken, challenge, driven and superior.
- Racially Coded Words: Excellent English-language skills, clear-spoken, native English speaker, cultural fit, nice, polite, Latino/Latina, professionalism
- Ableist-Coded Words: Energetic, athletic, able-bodied individual, talking with students, walking through the building
The section that follows gives examples of how to make changes to phrasing. The section on ableist phrasing could do with some improvements, but it gives the idea.
Equity lens for diversity and inclusion
Applying an equity lens is a reminder that an organisation cannot embody IDEA without reviewing and updating their job descriptions and recruitment practices.
“It is explicit in drawing attention to the inclusion of marginalized populations, typically communities of color, and can be adapted to focus on other communities. … An equity lens will not tell you what action to take. Rather, the lens helps you discuss and reflect on the equitableness of the action and decision-making process.”
The document can also be found on the Library Reports and Communication webpage. Grand Scholar Works is a service of the Grand Valley State University Libraries. Michigan USA.
The Future of the Office in Australia
Sourceable reports on the changing face of the office – the place where hybrid work is possible. The article has a real-estate focus but includes a nod to access and inclusion:
“… employers are facing rising pressure to address environmental, social, and governance issues in their offices and policies. Buildings that are inclusive and accessible for all workers have become more prominent in the industry, with popular features of new office buildings including prayer rooms and gender-neutral facilities.”