Improving Productivity by Creating a Culture of Inclusivity and Trust

How to sustain workforce engagement and cultural cohesion in remote and hybrid working environments.

Friday, August 27, 2021

By John Thackeray


At this time of hybrid working environments, in homes and increasingly back in offices, a prerequisite for an effective, productive organization is a culture of inclusivity and trust. A hybrid workforce model, with concepts of trust and shared purpose at its heart, can help the organization break down longstanding assumptions that get in the way of productivity and performance.

Trust, as one of the most important ingredients in this model, can be facilitated by delivering creative management strategies and instilling clear behavioral standards. This trust requires management strategies that emphasize behavioral standards such as accountability, transparency and communication, thereby creating a culture in which employees feel safe, appreciated and empowered within an inclusive environment.

Specifically, the management strategies include:

  • Leadership communication and visibility. Create new ways to engage informally with your employees. By defining and embracing new behaviors that are observable to all, and by deliberately making space for remote employees to engage in informal interactions, leaders can facilitate social cohesion and trust-building in their teams.
  • Team rituals to cement a strong bond of personal relationships, enabling team members to have fun in a safe environment, thus improving morale. Maintaining team norms and smooth onsite-to-remote transitions give employees a cohesive experience that feels designed and shared, not random and haphazard.
  • An open and safe environment that lets employees' voices be heard, e.g. by means of a virtual “Lunch and Learn” or a “Fly By” opportunity with an executive.
  • Ensuring procedures and policies that are consistent, resilient and fit for purpose in the hybrid workplace. The importance of on-boarding has never been greater for team- and trust-building, setting out and reinforcing cultural values in terms of expectations and requiring considerable procedural changes from previous practices.
  • Measuring performance on outcomes. Instead of focusing on tasks or hours worked, focus on the outcomes and the quality of results. By focusing on results over style, regardless of location, a more productive, engaging and meaningful work culture can be developed and shared. Success is evidenced by means of clear and transparent key performance indicators (KPIs).

To conclude, to be more productive, a culture must embrace the hybrid model with a mindset of shared ownership and trust, principles that in turn complement the existing values of the organization

John Thackeray Headshot

John Thackeray is a risk and compliance practitioner and writer. His firm RiskInk helps firms control their risks by writing policies and procedures to mitigate those risks. As a former senior risk executive at Citigroup, Deutsche Bank AG and SociÉtÉ GÉnÉrale, he has had firsthand engagement with U.S. and European regulators. He holds an MBA from the Chartered Institute of Bankers and was a Lecturer in Banking, Economics and Law.


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