BREAKING DOWN THE EMOTIONAL TAX: DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION IN THE WORKPLACE

CREATING DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION IN THE WORKPLACE

Here’s our advice for making your workplace diverse in an intersectional way, which leads to more efficiency and less employee turnover.

WHAT IS INTERSECTIONALITY?

Intersectionality means that diversity and equality must be inclusive. For example, if you are a feminist, does your feminism support black women? What about trans women? If it does not, it’s not intersectional because it excludes someone. A way that can be helpful to understand intersectionality is to think of an intersection. It sounds silly but sticks with it. Each street coming to the intersection represents something different, maybe people of color, LGTBQ, the disabled community, or your religion. And each car or pedestrian coming to the intersection represents a certain person within that community. Maybe within the disabled community, a car represents people with invisible disabilities, or for people of color, it represents mixed-race people. The intersection is where they all meet. So your intersection must be accessible and friendly to everyone coming to the intersection. That means your movement towards diversity and inclusion in the workplace must include everybody, not just one street coming to your intersection, and don’t forget about all the cars and pedestrians as well.

GENDER WAGE GAP FACTS

First, why is this important? Sadly, as much progress towards equality as we are making, there is still much more to do, especially in the business world. We already know the importance of having values and ethics in business, so now it’s time to look into expanding how you define your values to make sure they support everyone and are intersectional. As of December 4, 2019, women CEOs only makeup 5.2% of the S&P 500 Companies CEOs, and only 26.5% of executive/senior-level officials and managers in S&P 500 companies are women.

WHAT ABOUT THE PAY GAP FOR WOMEN OF COLOR?

The wage gap for women of color is bigger, especially for Black and Latina women. Black women earn 52.3% of what Asian men earn weekly and Latina women earn 49.7%. Compared to White men’s weekly earnings, Black women earn 65.3% and Latina women earn 61.6%. These stats are appalling and looking back at the wage gap from 20 or 30 years ago, there has been an improvement, but not enough. For more information about the wage gap, check out the Catalysts report on women’s earnings.

WOMEN AND THE FUTURE OF THE BUSINESS WORLD

You have probably heard the slogan “the future is female” and it needs to be incorporated into the workplace. To create the most successful business and market, more women need to hold high ranking roles at companies. Roughly 50% of S&P 500 Companies CEOs should be women and they need to be paid as much as men. Collaboration is key to success. Having diverse workplaces leads to more collaboration. Diversity comes from having people of different backgrounds living different lifestyles, who bring different perspectives and ideas to the table. Sharing all of these ideas and approaches leads to collaboration because chances are that if you have a diverse set of ideas offered, there will be a few that can fit together to create a better idea. Creating a more diverse workplace helps eliminate bias as well. It’s a mandatory step to having an inclusive workplace and supporting intersectionality.

WHAT IS THE EMOTIONAL TAX?

It’s hard to feel fully comfortable at work for anyone. At the workplace, you are expected to be on your best behavior. But for minorities, there are extra challenges in the workplace that force them to be on guard every day, such as micro-aggressions, exclusion, and bias. This all adds up to an emotional tax, which affects people based on their race, gender, sexual orientation, and level of able-bodiedness.

LISTEN TO YOUR CO-WORKERS

The first step to getting rid of the emotional tax is to listen. That’s the first step for anything. By listening you can understand how the emotional tax affects your employees to see what areas of the issue you need to tackle. Make sure you are on the lookout for bias to understand its negative effects. Once you understand how the emotional tax works in your office, it’s time to take action. Maybe that involves forming a team to work on creating an inclusive workplace through conversations and training. Most importantly, make sure everyone is educated and lead by example. If you want to be part of a diverse and inclusive workplace, you have to show how you are doing your part. It’s important to take initiative to show trust and support.

LOWERING THE EMOTIONAL TAX BURDEN

According to Catalyst, there are 4 steps you can take to lower the emotional tax burden for your employees

  • Step 1. Listen to your employees and coworkers to understand what challenges and biases they face at work.
  • Step 2. Learn from what they have to say and take not of everyday acts of exclusion as well an inclusion.
  • Step 3. Link up with your employees and coworkers to demonstrate that you believe in your team and to enforce positive collaboration and community.
  • Step 4. Lead others by offering kindness support. Everyone must do their part so show others how you do yours to be part of an inclusive work environment.

HOW TO BE AN INCLUSIVE LEADER

Leading by example is important for fostering an inclusive attitude in the workplace. For us at Colibri, leading by example looks like leading with love. It’s one of our values. During a setback or when receiving negative feedback is when most people can be pushed over the line and become a little nasty. So during struggles is the most important time to lead with love and be extra conscious of not taking your anger out on your co-workers and controlling your actions. When others see you fostering inclusion during setbacks it will inspire them to do the same and increase productivity. Leading with love helps you avoid more setbacks as well.

HOW TO BE AN ALLY

Becoming an ally is the ultimate step in leading with love. Everyone can be an ally. Men can be allies for women, straights for the LGBT community, and white people for people of color. We can all stand up for people with disabilities and recognize that religious and spiritual beliefs differ.

WRAPPING UP

To create a diverse and inclusive workplace you have to be aware of everyone. Your diversity has to be intersectional, which means when you are looking at the pay gap, you have to consider how it affects women of color specifically as well. Making sure you are listening to everyone and taking into account how issues in your workplace affect everyone is important. And from there, lead with love. Take things one step at a time, with kindness and inclusivity as the main goal.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Anna Colibri

Anna Colibri

I work to make the web a more beautiful, accessible, and functional place. I use dreams as a form of planning. And I play because it’s fun.