Originally published on info.KPMG.us by Michele Meyer-Shipp
As social distancing and virtual work have become our new normal, here are five suggestions to help ensure everyone on your team feels included and valued:
- Communicate often and in different ways. One of the challenges of working remotely is feeling isolated, especially if you’re used to going into the office every day. Consistent communication ensures everyone feels connected. It’s also important to be cognizant of the different ways people on the team communicate, learn, react, or process information. Be flexible and lean-in to the various styles that work for others to accommodate those differences.
- Ensure everyone’s voice is heard. Engage everyone during meetings. If someone is interrupted, make sure to address it in the moment. Establish platforms for team members to speak up and raise issues without fear or discomfort. Consider allotting time at the beginning of meetings for individual recognition and praise.
- Be mindful of meeting times. Coordinate schedules that consider individual working patterns, calendar availability, time zones and locations. Consider religious observances before scheduling important events and meetings. Be respectful of an individual’s need to step away to manage family matters, as many are multi-tasking with work and caregiver responsibilities.
- Check your unconscious bias. Understand what your biases are and work to mitigate and counter them with acts of conscious inclusion. Focus on bringing people together, especially in times like these. Intentionally seek out ideas and insights from people with different backgrounds, experiences and capabilities; and foster collaboration.
- Offer encouragement and emotional support. Most importantly, be empathetic. Acknowledge that this is a difficult time and listen to anxieties. Empathy is a critical trait when dealing with uncertainty. If newly-remote colleagues are clearly struggling, but not communicating their stress, ask them how they’re doing and offer support. Check your company’s website or talk to HR to find out about the well-being and support resources offered to employees.
Michele Meyer-Shipp is chief diversity and inclusion officer for KPMG in the U.S.