Hybrid working creates various challenges for employees from less privileged backgrounds. Kris Eskesen, Head of University Partnerships at Sanctuary Graduates, offers advice.
Tom Freeman, Managing Director at Sanctuary Graduates, sat down with Tom Lyas from Browne Jacobsen, Emily Hodgson from W Communications and Samson Wendes from The Social Mobility Foundation. It was a fascinating discussion, covering lots of tips and examples on how best to both recruit and retain less privileged employees.
One of the interesting points that came out of the session was around hybrid working – whilst there are various benefits for employees, hybrid working creates many challenges for less privileged employees.
Many of these employees do not have access to a quiet working space and may be sharing their ‘home office’ with various other family members. They also may not have a strong WiFi connection, meaning that video meetings become difficult.
Here are five clear ways in which you can support hybrid workers:
1. Data is key
Employers need to know the socio-economic profile of their organisation in order to put steps in place to support less privileged employees. Provide a variety of mechanisms to encourage and enable employees to disclose data year-round, and collect data from applicants and your current workforce.
2. Leadership and culture
Appoint a senior individual with an informed and respected voice to advocate socio-economic diversity and inclusion internally. Ensure your anti-discrimination policies clearly incorporate and relate to socio-economic background, and that managers understand this.
Ensure IT systems enable any applicable job in the organisation to be deliverable remotely; subsequently aim to reduce required travel to headquarters and provide access to IT equipment. Ensure senior leaders communicate the effectiveness of remote working and that inclusion efforts are apparent at all levels of management.
4. Engage with employees
Create opportunities for employees to engage with the narrative on socio-economic diversity, for example:
- internal events, webinars and podcasts
- physical and online forums for employees to share views and experiences where appropriate
Share evidence and practice from across the sector. Ensure managers at all levels are offering training and progression conversations and making sure that employees, particularly those less privileged, are receiving the support needed for hybrid working
5. Personalised approach
Managers need to be constantly asking themselves what they are doing to support less-privileged hybrid workers. Employers need to acknowledge that employees have unique demands and challenges and need support in individual ways. There needs to be a personalised approach, which has a focus on wellbeing, in order for the less privileged employees to thrive.
For more advice on how to implement this advice and support your less privileged employees, please check out The Social Mobility Commission’s Employer Toolkit.
Read more advice and data on hybrid working