International Women’s Day: How to inspire inclusion in a hybrid workplace

8 March 2024

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is to inspire inclusion, but what does this really mean and how do you put it into practice in a hybrid workplace? Vanessa Sampson, Director of People & Culture at Locale, explains how empathy, autonomy and flexibility are all the right tools for creating a more inclusive workforce.


When I hear ‘inspire inclusion’, I immediately think of leading by example. But this is easier said than done, particularly if you want to do it well. So, to break it up, I feel it should mean three things:

  1. The moral spine of your company culture is that everyone matters equally, regardless of circumstance, background, or situation
  2. Behaviours and actions should manifest your company culture; act how you mean to live
  3. An individual, or a group of individuals, may need extra support to achieve both equality and equity

At Locale, our ‘people first’ approach means that our staff can easily build trust amongst each other, and business decisions are made empathetically, transparently, and with pragmatism. People and wellbeing are thought about at every stage so both staff and the business benefit!

Looking at ourselves, 45% of all staff are female, with 34% female representation in our Senior Leadership Team and 60% of all team leaders being women. Supporting our female workforce is engrained in our day-to-day operation and we want to ensure everyone can work at their best by:

  • Validating that their voices are heard by listening and actively supporting their journey as best we can, such as adjusting working hours and location on an ad-hoc basis as needed
  • Working with leave policies to grant compassionate or recovery leave to ensure an individual can function at their best
  • Empathy and flexibility for issues affecting women that can be physically and mentally debilitating:
    • Pregnancy and pregnancy-related issues
    • Peri- and menopausal issues
    • Hormonal issues
  • Compressed hours and flexi-time to counter-act childcare emergencies

To me, ‘inspiring inclusion’ also means that people can comfortably work together. Priority needs to be given to the individual and their teams because they are key drivers of company success; without engaged and happy teams, you will not have a sustainable business.

Power is not what you hold because of your position, power is what is generated by a workforce that is led instead of controlled, encouraged instead of punished, and supported instead of neglected. Empower your staff, and you will inspire inclusion as a matter of daily fact.


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