A senior consultant specialising in internal communications and managing change, Annique Simpson is passionate about creating true inclusion by helping make sure we "listen with the intention of taking action". In this inspirational interview, she shares the practicalities of how to do this, as a leader or line manager, how to avoid the common pitfalls, and how to make sure people don't feel they have to vote with their feet, to make their voice heard. We're talking about:
What Inclusion Really Means With Hybrid Working
What We Cover In This Interview:
- Who is really controlling the hybrid employee experience
- The vital importance of employee voice - and how to hear it
- How leadership's priority needs to be engaging with employees to design in work-life balance
- How to connect with people who aren't in the building
- How to predict and avoid the unintended consequences of decisions
Watch The Interview:
Note: the video has captions.
[00:00:06.330] - Clare Josa
Hello, everybody, I'm so thrilled today to be joined by Annique Simpsons for this latest interview in the Lockdown Leadership Conference about #makinghybridwork, and she is a senior consultant specialising in Internal Communications and change communications. And so what we're going to be talking about today is all about how to handle communicating, how hybrid working your organisation. We're going to look at what inclusion really means, going beyond the stereotypes, to look at how to transform that employee voice, really hearing it and turning that into action, how to build communications, whether you're an icy professional, whether your line manager, whether you're a colleague, that mean that you're communicating equally as effectively with people who are in the office and people who are not, and also how to how to predict and avoid the unintended consequences of decisions around hybrid working so that everybody feels included.
[00:01:02.020] - Clare Josa
And we're not creating this two tiered society that we've been talking about in previous interviews. And I am thrilled to have you join us today.
[00:01:10.230] - Annique Simpson
I am so glad to be back for having me along with looking forward to our conversation on Thursday.
[00:01:15.120] - Clare Josa
Thank you. Now, I'd like to start with just how did you get into doing what you do? I know we've talked before and you have a very strong passion for this. Could you give us a potted history?
[00:01:25.470] - Annique Simpson
Yeah, of course. So I've been doing Internal Communications for about five, four, five years now. And I was a conscious effort to go into Internal Comms specifically because I had about three interests that kind of converge into the career that I have now. So and my background is psychology and psychological. And what I went into the workforce after you and you have a passionate about employee voice, I guess, as I know now, but just creating and creating and being part of groups that help employees to have great connexion and communication with them, with management.
[00:02:08.010] - Annique Simpson
So I was doing that socialising in unison and using rep, and I did a bit of a staff, consultative forums. And then also my passion has been writing. So I first started when I was 10 and that's always kind of followed me throughout my academic and academic sort of experience. And so really Internal Comms when I moved into it, was an opportunity to bring those three together. So my love for understanding employees influence on people and their motivations with a passion for writing or a skill set for four comms professionals with internal work study and my desire, I guess, to help to bridge the gap between employees and and management.
[00:02:54.090] - Annique Simpson
So that's how I that's how I gravitated towards Internal Comms and found management a role and switched careers from my previous career working in the health care and health, health and care service. It's a health care service. So that's how I that's where I was before and that's how I kind of moved in, guided by those three passions.
[00:03:14.730] - Clare Josa
What's amazing, so writing your first article at the age of 10, the communication was always going to be in your blood was not unique.
[00:03:21.600] - Annique Simpson
I think. I think yes, I do. I think I remember I wrote a letter and said, you know, this is what I want to be a writer. And I actually do as well as Combes. I'm also a music journalist. So I do have that kind of journalistic part of me as soon as I get through extracurricular activities. But Combs has allowed me to do that. And the more senior that I've got, the most I've got in the higher ranks, I do less of the writing now, but it's always helpful.
[00:03:50.940] - Annique Simpson
And when you back's against the wall and you've got to get a quick message out to have that whole school set for you, that's brilliant.
[00:03:57.540] - Clare Josa
I was I can imagine with a journalistic mindset running your you must have a skill for being able to spot a story, but then communicate it without the emotions.
[00:04:06.510] - Annique Simpson
Yes. So I mean, I'd like to think so. And I think one of the things that one of the things that I think a journalistic experience has given me and and there's many, you know, I should say for those who perhaps aren't as close to the problems as those who work in government, there are many people who are journalists who are in the comp space because it has a manual, of course. But for me, one of the key things that I bring in that I take from that experience into Microwins practise is really around getting to the heart of the story and understanding what is important to the audience and putting the audience first, because, you know, in the in journalism audiences is money.
[00:04:47.850] - Annique Simpson
And so there's definitely a drive to a very clear drive in those people in many publications, all of the drive to get to get to the heart of what the audience wants to hear or needs to hear. And I think that is an important part of communications.
[00:05:05.060] - Clare Josa
That's wonderful to hear. So of what we want to talk about today and how we talk to soldiers through with Hybrid working, how the employee experience is dependent on who is in control.
[00:05:17.570] - Annique Simpson
Yes. So Clare Josa the question that has kept me is keeping me up at night in terms of hybrid working, because I think a lot has been said over the past 15, 18 months around and around this new wakan in in the working world and the fact that we are now going to be in it now, employees can pick and choose where they how they work in the organisations where they are and really have the power to to get back their lives from the workforce, from their employers, and be able to make all these sorts of lovely decisions about where they work and what times they work, etc.
[00:05:56.200] - Annique Simpson
. And whilst I think, you know, the the the advent of the technology being delivered, being adopted by organisations, of course, as a result of look down has been, you know, a my way past my imagination and dreams in terms of organisation is kind of getting into the twenty first century. I think it's a bit is a bit of a fallacy. Going around is certainly an illusion of control in the sense of now that we are in a place where we are talking about post pandemic, although not necessarily pushed, and we are thinking about what the world could look like, what the working world could look like for the next two, three, five years.
[00:06:37.580] - Annique Simpson
I think some employees may still be, I guess, pumped up on this thought that they can shake their roles. And actually, we're seeing inside the conversation as the conversation is happening in the media particularly, is really giving quite a bit of indication that that's not really going to be the case. So, you know, the case for returning to the office is quite strong or being quite strongly from this. I'd hate to say you you've got the government who've been encouraging us pretty much since the first lockdown was over to get back into the office.
[00:07:10.130] - Annique Simpson
You know, that seen a few reports around businesses that rely on commuter trade, doing interviews and talking about how much they need of workers back into the city centres, back into back into back to the offices of ongoing operational costs. Some of these businesses are facing. This will drive around getting back to in-person collaboration, in-person relationship building, and then, you know, the more sinister, radical micromanagement, lack of trust. And these are all going to drive us to get people back into the office.
[00:07:43.730] - Annique Simpson
And I think what we are seeing in some organisations like Goldman Sachs came out earlier this year. One is a particular example of this almost revolt and reverse of the working from home spirit and remote working spirit, even even some going as far as Goldman Sachs. I just want to say that Hybrid working would work for less than CEO Hybrid working work, and it's working for them. Working is something that we must get rid of right away. So that's the kind of, I guess, the language in some organisations.
[00:08:18.560] - Annique Simpson
And actually, you know, the CPC IPD come out and said as part of talking about the legality, I guess, and the employee rights around working from home that actually post government restrictions, employees who go back to to the employees are within their rights to be there back to what it was before. So employees have to agree for you to work from home. So we're going on this opportunity for lots of people, you know, for many workers, not all workers, but many workers who were able to work for them, particularly office workers, to be able to do so to almost like a reverse back to previous policies or certainly from a legal perspective, it goes back to previous policies around working from home.
[00:09:00.710] - Annique Simpson
So the employees are the ones that have that final decision. And I think examples of where that is starting to happen is, you know, you've got Apple have come out and said in the CEO a couple of months ago and know out to employees and said, you know, you're going to have to return to work Monday, Tuesday, Thursday. Some employees can work remotely twice a week, and then employees can, with their manager's approval, work up to two weeks a year.
[00:09:28.670] - Annique Simpson
Working from home in Apple, a researcher who has been quite well known for having a anti remote working policy, which, you know, as one of the the big tech titans, probably sounds a bit strange and know some of the particular question permits that stuck with me in terms of the reasoning why Tim Cook and the leadership team want people to get to work. So he says, you know, for all that we've been able to achieve with many, many of us being separated, the truth is that there been something essential missing from the past year.
[00:10:02.180] - Annique Simpson
Each other is a video conference and calling. Narrowed the distance between us, but to be sure, but there are things simply cannot replicate, and as a result, employees push back with an internal email and said, you're not listening to us. The fact that, you know, there's a massive disconnect between how you use an executive team feel about the actual working experience and how we feel people have been forced to quit. And actually we feel as an employee group that we're having to choose between our family, our well-being and feeling empowered to do our best work versus being part of Apple.
[00:10:34.640] - Annique Simpson
So you've got that very strong disconnect between employees who say, you know, we want more control over how we work and where we work and a leadership team who are saying, but we have to be together, what we want to be together, that's part of our culture, very much at odds with how the employees are feeling. And then you compare that to Twitter, where they said, hey, we've made it work from home. So the control is with you.
[00:11:01.670] - Annique Simpson
So if you want to come back into the office, we welcome you open up. But if you want to work from home and your job allows you to do so, we are more than happy for you to work forever. Very different approaches. One is very specifically controlled to the more control to the employee. So with the caveat, if you could do your job from home and it's safe for you to do so versus you must come in because this is working in with each other physically is part of our culture.
[00:11:28.130] - Annique Simpson
It's why we do. We do.
[00:11:30.700] - Clare Josa
I love what you're saying there, I and one of the reasons why I decided to set the conference up for a second year in a row for the lock down leadership conference is I was seeing exactly what you're describing, which is organisations dictating we need to reconnect in person. Therefore, you will come into the office X number of days a week, but not having a Y behind it, because what people were finding is they were just going to come in, bring their laptops and do the same emails in the offices they'd be doing at home, because there's no coordination, there's no thinking, there's no strategy of what is it we actually want.
[00:12:01.810] - Clare Josa
We want to connect in person. Right. How many days a month or quarter do we actually need to do that to rebuild this team spirit? And how flexible could we be to accommodate everybody's needs outside of that rather than this dictate, as you say, the control of somebody in a committee somewhere decided X number of days a week was the right way to do it without really thinking about the humans, because one of the things we've seen over lockdown is people's values have changed.
[00:12:30.520] - Clare Josa
That's a really big event for values to change, you know, losing a loved one, becoming a parent, those kind of thing, graduating from university. These big life events change what's important to us. And we have a workforce where a lot of the values have changed. Suddenly, four hours a day on a train, sweaty staff commuting doesn't appeal anymore when they could make every school sports day and be home for dinner every night. If we want to keep our best employees and be thriving, we need to really hear the employee voice on what matters to them now, rather than trying to spring back to the old ways of working is that the pandemic has never happened.
[00:13:09.640] - Clare Josa
Yes, and I'd love to hear from you about employee voice. What is it? Because for a lot of us, we'll think, well, that's trade unions. And as a manager, rather than as a comms consultant, as a manager, how can we tap into employee voice like, well, now we want one of my favourite topics, so changes one and replaces the other side. And perfect for this conversation, but as well as just the time that we're in as a as a country as well.
[00:13:37.300] - Clare Josa
So employee voice definition, it's the act of involving listening to and inviting employees to contribute their experiences, expertise, my days, especially when it comes to decisions that need to be made that affect them and the concept of employee voice can be split into indirect and direct mechanisms. So in terms of how you can gather and facilitate employee voice, you've got indirect, which is collective bargaining with trade unions. So it's going through another party and then you've got direct, which is all of the other ways in which employees can voice their concerns.
[00:14:15.310] - Clare Josa
And so things like a pulse rate for engagement, survey sentiment analysis on intranets and enterprise, social networks, focus groups, exit interviews, a very often untapped source of information about how and a way to diagnose the culture and organisation and find out how people are feeling, how things are going. Suggestion's games, team meetings, once one, employee forums and employee resource groups. So there's a whole host of mechanisms through which people can exercise voice. And so that's what it is.
[00:14:49.840] - Clare Josa
And I guess just to to to tackle that before I get into the how is really the benefits of doing it. So why bother asking employees what they think will? You know, first, it's a key and it's been found time and time again to be a key enabler of employee engagement and also high organisational performance. And so for anyone out there who hasn't read Engage with success, report by Clocker McCleod. I recommend that you do that because it is great to great resource around how to engage employees.
[00:15:20.710] - Clare Josa
And Employee Voice has its own chapter with case studies as well as fantastic. You've got an employee wellbeing course because employees are you give them the ability to to speak and be listened to. Well, negative emotions around the working environment are likely to dissipate because they're not going to be frustrated or angry or less frustrated, less angry, frustrated, etc. but also the sense that they're not kind of trapped in a box where they can't say anything and they can't effect change or be part of the changes happening.
[00:15:53.290] - Clare Josa
And then for the organisation's perspective, no constructive, optimal decision making in your organisation. If you're bringing together all these ideas of people, this diversity of thought that a lot of people talk about, well, if you're accessing the in the the intelligence, the the experience, the just the ideas, life experience of the employees, you are going to have more ideas on the table to be able to test, to look through, to to interrogate and and to apply.
[00:16:21.580] - Clare Josa
And then employee retention of employees leave. And actually leaving is is is a type of employee voice will be is not vocal in the trees in the. The definition of the dictionary definition, but it is a formal Boyzvoice and it's probably the most extreme version and the one that causes the biggest challenges for organisations. So that's kind of the case of making for employee voice. As for, I guess, how can a line managers, managers, leaders out there really have?
[00:16:51.170] - Clare Josa
So I think the the main thing really around employee voice is this intention to listen. The true intention to listen, I think sometimes and to listen, to hear and to apply. So one of the worst thing, one of the common things that happens in organisations, certainly my experience that undoes a lot of the benefits of employee voice is when action is taken as a result and or because everything that employees say that you connexion. But there is an explanation as to the why, why or why not.
[00:17:26.560] - Clare Josa
And there is a fee and also the feedback loop. So people, you know, are screaming in the wind. You tell the organisation the good things are bad, things are happening and you hear nothing. Especially with this particular child and service, because, you know, sometimes they can take a full six month run from question design through to action planning. And some from you know, often from the point where the explosive is close to action plan is radio silence about this, I suppose, if it didn't happen?
[00:17:59.930] - Clare Josa
Well, that's just the way to do that, just erodes trust in the process, a good way to trust in the process and also to create I guess it was all of that great, bad feeling, I guess, around amongst employees, because they've taken the time to share their feedback and taking the time to tell you what's working, what isn't working. And that reciprocation of, I guess, respect is not really there because you're not telling them what's the working on the actual plans.
[00:18:27.670] - Clare Josa
This is the next steps cetera. So there's this. There's this. That is the the closing. Think I came up with it, but certainly closing the feedback loop, listening to understand. And here are two things that the managers could do and I think also listening regularly. So creating opportunities not just when or before, during or after the organisational change, of course, is very important at those points, but also listening throughout an employee's life cycle, throughout throughout the year, throughout the years.
[00:19:07.220] - Clare Josa
It's so important because it's great when you ask people's opinion about big things. But often, as you know, the big things are much rarer than the everyday experience of going to work. And so actually having channels, whether they're digital or whether they're quick, you know, how things how how are things going? And you want as part of the one to one regular one to one, which I've experienced, is not that regular. I mean, I'm used to having them the person and having them, you know, once a week, once a fortnight, but have been in places where it's like, should we do it once a month?
[00:19:40.370] - Clare Josa
Is that are you really going to be able to track how employees are feeling with that level of regularity? I think there's a question mark there. So it's it's working with the employee, whether that's sort of one to one basis, their line manager or with a team basis team meetings with organisation work at the right cadence that really allows you to to regularly check up on how individual employees in the population as a whole are doing, feeling, thinking, ideas that they might have.
[00:20:10.760] - Clare Josa
And then, as I mentioned before, closing that feedback loops, there are things you can do that are low cost and said, hello, how are things how are things going at team meeting suggestion boxes? I mean, there's so many ideas. And actually, I could just recommend another report that I think would be quite useful. It has really practical tips for organisations is a report by the research group Dr Kevin Rock. A couple of other researchers as well spoke the Who's Listening report.
[00:20:41.900] - Clare Josa
And it's aimed at leaders and communicators and it has practical, practical tips, case studies and just and also a handy breakdown of the different types of listening and listening as a spectrum of activity. The report, Who's Listening and is in conjunction with the International Association for Business Communicators as well. So if you can do that, you'll be able to find that people can find me and be more than happy to share the link. But yeah, that's a great place to start if you're starting your listening journey, a journey into understanding and accessing and facilitating employee voice, a great papers, one I use regularly, which sounds amazing.
[00:21:19.790] - Clare Josa
And one of the things I love about what you're saying is that that listening. Yes. Is the big stuff, but it's also the little stuff. What I'm hearing a lot from my clients, my students, is I don't want to get on a tube. Yeah. I just don't want to be a sardine in that confined space. And then I get to the office and because of social distancing, we don't have our team desks anymore. So it's hot desking.
[00:21:40.640] - Clare Josa
Say I'm using a keyboard from somebody who the day before I don't know if they wash their hands, you know, and there isn't enough there aren't enough games in the workplace to be able to sanitise. And another big thing that's coming up for people, it's not so tiny. It's so many of us have got used to standing desks while we've been working from home. And we don't like working sitting down anymore. We like that feeling of confidence and groundedness and being able to move our lower backs and actually is a yoga teacher.
[00:22:06.650] - Clare Josa
I know that standing for working actually boosts creativity. It boosts the flow of the cerebral spinal fluid that may be dictated to me. What you're talking about the control of you for coming in this number of days a week, the fear that triggers for the commute, the fear that triggers with hot desking, and then the frustration it would trigger with people because they don't have a sense that they've been able to give some people bless their hearts. I've been sitting on their desks with a laptop, in their dressing gown, in the background, created these fantastic working spaces that they wish they could now have in the office.
[00:22:39.530] - Clare Josa
I'm not saying we need to pander, but we need to be thinking about big strategy and about the fine detail to meet everybody's needs. The other thing is the other thing you said that I think is incredibly important, I want to make sure everybody listening or watching live on the replay. His court is closing that loop, listening to hear in order to take action. Even if my question is, I'm sorry, we can't do this. And here is why.
[00:23:09.830] - Clare Josa
Because otherwise you are breaking the psychological contract of having asked for that feedback.
[00:23:15.170] - Annique Simpson
Absolutely not. Absolutely. Thanks. I mean, it is really about listening. And, you know, you and I have spoken about it in the lead up to this event around the simplicity of some of these things. I think doing things in the workplace conflict or the workplace or the workplace as a concept, not as a as a location feels, is very much like any other you know, it's very cool. It's a group of people meeting together.
[00:23:50.780] - Annique Simpson
It's a group of people coming together to what was common goal. And I think if we start to unpick every thought, to see it as a lot of these things that I'm saying the other people in the industry are saying around the value of listening and being heard, diversity, inclusion is another one. These all are concepts that we understand in our private personal life. We know what it's like not to be included in things, irrespective of what demographic groups we and we align ourselves to.
[00:24:21.380] - Annique Simpson
We know what it's like to be left out. We know what it's like to not be listened to as individuals, as you know, mothers, fathers, cousins, sisters, family members, friends. We know what it's like. And so it's it's not different in the workplace. I mean I mean, there is different in a sense of the workplace creates other sorts of has other angles that we don't necessarily have other elements that we coming in in in our own life.
[00:24:47.780] - Annique Simpson
But it's very cool. It's not very different. So the so the impact of listening to someone and saying I'm creating this space, whether it's a formal space with a message or just sticking to the one to one and having them and not using them as a space to talk about what delivery? Because I think that happens a lot. You get a look at it's like, have you done these calls? Have you met these targets? Have you very much focussed on the task of actually creating a space?
[00:25:15.020] - Annique Simpson
And there's nothing wrong with doing that, of course, but creating a space to say, how are you? How are things going? What, what, what Blocher's do you have? Or, you know, just creating that space for the person to say how they feel if they want to. It's no different than having that in the benefit. The benefit of others are similar at the very core as having that in your private life, is having that in private life, in your personal life, in your life outside of work.
[00:25:41.180] - Annique Simpson
And I think for me, that's what I try to do with my practises is is look at it. Try to take out of the work setting and try to get down to the nub of it, and that's why that's why I spend most of my time doing is this is the issue in the workplace. But what really gets picked for delay is commercials. And I'm don't saying there's unimportant commercials, politics and lots of what is at the core, because if we solve that often enough, that other stuff fades away.
[00:26:09.990] - Annique Simpson
Eventually get to the root of the problem. You solve the actual problem, not the problem that is being presented to you through the lens of work.
[00:26:18.060] - Clare Josa
I love that because that's that's how I live and breathe with my clients. It's never the surface level symptom that was actually the issue. And if we fix that, it's a sticky plaster and sticky plaster fall off. Yes. And it doesn't mean that we have to turn into therapists as leaders, but it is about understanding what is really true and what is it that, you know, where is the thorn that's causing the rest of the problem? How can I look at fixing this deeper issue?
[00:26:43.620] - Clare Josa
That's fantastic. Now, I can't believe how time has flown one little bit of brain activity. And I've got one question I really want to ask you to wrap up our discussion today, show you and I talked about things like how to make this communication so inclusive down to the practical stuff, like communication is often posters in the lifts. What about the people who aren't in the office that week who won't see the posters? There's a topic that I know is really important to you that's very, very close to my heart as well.
[00:27:15.090] - Clare Josa
You know, the whole what is inclusion, really, when we're looking at Hybrid working and how can we predict and avoid the unintended consequences of the decisions that we're making?
[00:27:28.620] - Annique Simpson
So inclusion in a hybrid working world environment really is around, which I think is powered by by two things. It's an understanding and acceptance that everybody is different. And therefore, whilst you cannot, as an organisation, as a leader, be able to cater to everybody's different, you need to understand that as a result of that, there are going to be some people will be unhappy and so and they will do what they need to do to make themselves happy.
[00:28:03.450] - Annique Simpson
Sometimes I stay in the organisation and cause all sorts of havoc. Well, sometimes to leave, but you need to be comfortable with that fact. And I think sometimes some organisations, people struggle with that and not struggle with that in terms of doing everything to make everybody happy. Actually struggle with that kind of the opposite way of life will be quite hard. This is the rule. This is how we're doing. And this that kind of come out of control management style almost as a response to people pulling and pulling against an actual example that I spoke about earlier is a great example about that, where you've got these very clear leadership, leadership very clearly say come to what works and saying, actually, no, we don't want that having a set of demands as to what they do want.
[00:28:48.060] - Annique Simpson
And that would be interesting to see where they land up to that. And then there's also. Really thinking about so that's one of the drivers, I think also really thinking about really thinking about the best way. So you got everybody will see something different. Every, you know, some want to do hybrid working someone to work from a much of a sense of come into the office. And I know folks and I think really it's it's from a communication perspective, it's providing as much information in as many different ways to individuals to be able to make an informed decision.
[00:29:22.490] - Annique Simpson
I think that's that's going to be crucial. And I think also. In terms of leadership communication perspective, does the how do we create fairness, a sense of fairness and sense of fairness? A key part of inclusion, because if you want the environment, it tends to be one which is equitable. So not necessarily the same for everybody, but allows everybody, gives everybody the same chance, which is a difference between quality and inequity. So this to this that I guess comes from looking at fairness and how people can how managers can start to look at what we talked in length about, listening to employees properly and trying to collaborate with employees.
[00:30:05.550] - Annique Simpson
So, you know, where you can get those ideas, get the work of the employees to build your new future, to build you and try to get them to be part of it. As I mentioned, for acknowledging employees views and that they have different views. And you can say that this may not that this doesn't necessarily work for everyone, but here's why. What for us as an organisation and people can make a decision. I think that's another thing I'd say as part of this kind of control command management is the sense that people that have free will, people have free will, and they can choose.
[00:30:33.750] - Annique Simpson
And it's OK, you can lay everything on the table that you think they might want and they might choose something else. And I think the more the House leadership and particularly the common person, because, you know, most of my most of the judgement in terms of how successful I am is this is whether I change people's behaviour, which, of course, I can only I can only do that to a point because people decide whether they want to change their own behaviour.
[00:30:58.740] - Annique Simpson
So I think it's almost like letting go of the need to to the everybody's going to do exactly as you want them to do, to feel exactly as you want them to feel. You can try as much as you can, but there is a point where people need to make their decisions and communicating for the benefit of your audience, not for you. And I think that's inclusive as well as really understanding who are your employees, what are they thinking and how can I then what do they what their preferences are on communication and how can I as a leader, I as a communications manager, professional, meet them where they are because ultimately communication is in the recipient, not the communicator.
[00:31:37.320] - Annique Simpson
And so that focus is really important. I think when you do have bad news, when you do have difficult news, is really giving employees a chance to process the information. Give them a chance to think about what it is that you're telling them, whether it's, you know, you have to come into work three days a week, give them some time to process it, give you the opportunity to share their views, to voice their concerns that they're happy to come back.
[00:32:01.310] - Annique Simpson
And that's not all doom and gloom. I believe we need to be all negative and doing and that's particularly important during times of change, which as we know now, it's a constant cycle of change, not least because of changing the guidelines and then telling them the why. Why not one decision that is crucial to the inclusive practise inspective, because people need to understand we're right if we are rational, traditionally, our core theoretical rational beings would like to unite us because, see, we like to have that steady flow.
[00:32:36.230] - Annique Simpson
It helps us to understand information. So if you can give those rationales and I think one of the one my last point, I guess, around inclusive environments in hybrid setting really is around this notion that you can create and I mentioned a bit earlier, but just to really hammer home the point that you can. Create the aim, I think, when it comes to inclusive practise, hybrid or otherwise in hybrid working, which otherwise is really to create a space where people can come in and feel like I can be as much of myself as I want to be at work and still have all the opportunities that I should be able to get because of the work through the what I do.
[00:33:20.410] - Annique Simpson
And some people grab that with both hands and rush into it. Head first, really be part of your environment, your working environment of workplace organisation. That's fantastic. Others may be completely resistant to the sense of really breaking down the barriers between work and life. But still do a good job. And that's OK. And I think the more that we were OK with the fact that some people just don't want to share things about themselves of what they just don't want to do any of the extra work, work and connectivity outside of doing their job.
[00:33:57.810] - Annique Simpson
And I think that we need as a society, as a working society, should really get comfortable and be accepting of those people that because they're doing good work and being themselves and and they should feel safe. The PSYCHOLOGICAL SAFETY is as much about catering to those people who all want to be reserve and hold things back on a personal level versus those who really want to grab all the opportunity to be part of the working environment. And the other thing is, I think one would either I think we would risk alienating those people who want to come into work and making them feel bad about it when actually they're doing a good job.
[00:34:38.130] - Annique Simpson
And if they're doing a good job, then that should that should be the basis on which we make judgements. I guess so. And that and obviously in the hybrid working to working from home environment, that can feel even more resistant from a management perspective because, you know, you can't see the person and now they're not really engaging in after work drinks, for example, of the in games. But that that shouldn't be a reason to to think that they're doing anything wrong or untoward.
[00:35:06.640] - Annique Simpson
Is that trust really and that trust and allowing people to be who they are. And that truly is inclusion.
[00:35:13.260] - Clare Josa
Absolutely. And on Friday, we're going to be talking to Joanna rawboned about the difference between introverts and extroverts, which Tizen have reached, the point you just made there in a case where a lot of us know I'm a very strong introvert, although I love being on stage, I get my energies required time. So if you've got members of your team who previously maybe did join in with stuff outside ours and now they're not, it could just be that their introvert battery is empty or they don't have the wrap around childcare they used to have after school.
[00:35:41.730] - Clare Josa
You know, it doesn't mean they've disengaged, but we still need to have that conversation to find out if there's something wrong and what I love about what you said there and without judging. So we need to go into these conversations with no assumptions, without overlaying our filters, just genuinely with curiosity, find out what is happening to that human being and whether they need us to do something to support them.
[00:36:05.880] - Annique Simpson
I couldn't agree with you. That is it in a nutshell. And, you know, inclusion opening the door. So many people will walk with someone, but keep that door open for them. And that's the that is the challenge, I think, particularly after losses, civil rights protests, global protest is really keeping the door open for those who want to and open in the same way that is open for everybody else. Who is he does engage who are fully engaged to say who are part of the majority of other people that you can see, the people that you can see.
[00:36:42.990] - Annique Simpson
And I think that's important, particularly for environments where people are working 100 percent of the time, because I know there's a lot of writing coming out around has been for some time for a little bit of time during the pandemic about career opportunities and how they will change because of the people from whom, and particularly in organisations where you are given the choice. So expect to control. It's that it's that illusion of control potentially, is that even if you say to people, yes, you can work giving Twitter as an example, you give people control.
[00:37:15.720] - Annique Simpson
But it be interesting to see what impact that has on people's career development and career opportunities because, yes, as an organisation, you might say, yes, of course you could choose where you might have come out last week, say pretty much anything what you like, but how does that translate into people's assessments of a person's work, assessments of their their culture fit? And what will that mean for that person's career in the organisation? Because the company can say what it likes is as an entity.
[00:37:48.090] - Annique Simpson
But we know that line managers and local management is where the true power is, is, is in terms of an individual employee's experience. Might be interesting to see how that is navigated, but I guess we would see that for for years to come.
[00:38:01.140] - Clare Josa
Absolutely. But in our communications, we need to be looking out for the warning signs of us getting that balance wrong. And I need to wrap it up there because we can talk for days. It's so fascinating and so important. And your passion and wisdom in this subject has shone through. Everybody who's joined us live today. Thank you so much for being part of this. Everybody watching the replay or listening to the replay. Annique, what's the best way for them to get in touch with you so you could find me between Twitter and LinkedIn on Twitter?
[00:38:29.850] - Clare Josa
I'm Anique Underscore Simpson and Kiwi Simpson, as you'd expect, and Annique Simpsons Watlington as well as the best places to find me. The blog, which is Annique Simpsons dot com. So just my name and he says Wordnik other for this many of us out there.
[00:38:46.980] - Clare Josa
So it's been amazing to talk with you and me. Thank you so much for giving me your time. I cannot wait to hear what action people go and take with what you've shared today.
[00:38:57.760] - Annique Simpson
I think you'd great to talk to you.
Watch Each Interview For The 2021 Lockdown Leadership Conference
Get your free ticket here:
Take Action Now!
If you do one thing as a result of this episode, make it this! What one action could you take today to communicate inclusively with hybrid working?
For My Organisation
How can we make sure that those who are working from home have the same information as those in the office, day-to-day?
Where could I speak up to make my voice heard, so that I feel included and engaged with the hybrid working plan?
Loved This? Want More?
Practical Inspiration For Soul Led Leaders
Catch each episode and get my weekly Soul Led Leaders email, with extra strategies, bonus resources, and accountability for your Soul Led Leadership journey.
Spam stinks. Your contact details will only be used to send you the Soul Led Leaders newsletter and related events.
And you can catch past episodes here: