In the era of hybrid work, how do you ensure that people of all backgrounds can show up as their authentic selves, whether virtually or in person? How do you make everyone feel included when some of your team is together around a conference room table while many others are working from home?

On the latest episode of the WorkLab podcast, the guest is Ritu Bhasin, a consultant and coach who focuses on DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) and empowerment. You’ll learn her smart tips for how leaders can uncover their unconscious biases, work on those biases, and be more intentional in the hybrid era. Leaders also will have to develop new strategies to overcome what Bhasin identifies as the DEI conundrum: Working in person can give you more visibility and influence than working remotely can. This has repercussions for inclusion, since many caregivers, employees with disabilities, and people of color prefer remote work, she says—which puts the onus on leaders to ensure that every employee is on equal footing, no matter where they are working.

McKinsey research shows that big companies in the top quartile for ethnic and cultural diversity outperform those in the bottom quartile by 36 percent. Bhasin explores the business imperatives of diversity and inclusion in this episode, and homes in on the human questions leaders need to ask in the shift to hybrid. A central takeaway: Authenticity is a fundamental ingredient of inclusion. Companies cannot build an inclusive workplace without allowing everyone to show up as their full, authentic selves.

Also in this episode, Wangui McKelvey, a general manager at Microsoft, speaks with correspondent Desmond Dickerson about her experience joining the company as a remote executive during the pandemic, and shares her strategies for authentic leadership when you can’t be with your teams in person.

You can follow the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

WorkLab is a place for experts on the future of work to share their work and opinions. As students of the future of work, Microsoft values inputs from a diverse set of voices. That said, the opinions and findings of the experts we interview are their own, and do not reflect Microsoft’s own research or positions.

Resources discussed in this episode:

Ritu Bhasin's website

The Authenticity Principle by Ritu Bhasin

Harvard Implicit Association Test

Here’s a transcript of the Episode 3 conversation.

36%: Embracing Authenticity in Hybrid Work

Elise Hu (Host), Ritu Bhasin (Guest), Wangui McKelvey (Guest), Desmond Dickerson (Correspondent)


ELISE HU: This is WorkLab, the podcast from Microsoft, where we feature conversations with business leaders and scientists about the changes transforming the ways we work.

The WorkLab podcast is a place for experts on the future of work to share their work and opinions. As students of the future of work, Microsoft values inputs from a diverse set of voices. That said, we do want to mention that the opinions and findings of our guests are their own, and they may not necessarily reflect Microsoft’s own research or positions.

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