Embracing intersectionality can help employers improve the experience of all employees.
FREMONT, CA: Diversity is a nonlinear concern. Many businesses still view their diversity initiatives in terms of distinct, singular traits as they strive to be representative of the communities in which they operate and that make up their workforce: gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and handicap, for instance. However, in practice, many of these groups overlap and cross over.
Intersectionality may affect all phases of the employee journey, including hiring, onboarding, performance reviews, promotions, and turnover rates.
Employees will likely find it challenging to advance, won't recommend the company to others in their network, and will likely quit the company sooner than other employees if they feel unwelcome and unable to be fully themselves at work.
Recognise Individual Identities
Companies should work to grasp intersectionality better and acknowledge the numerous identities that may overlap for a given person. It is essential to be aware of this situation, but as Bagalini notes, it is also important to address the readiness to admit the blind spot.
Most of the time, executives may be complacent regarding behaviours within their organisations and think that if they and their coworkers feel welcome at work, the same is true for everyone. To understand what could be done more effectively, it's crucial to cultivate empathy and to make sure to speak with people who identify differently.
A critical first step is allowing employees to define their diversity dimensions actively. This will then make clear the various experiences of various groups. Another is to conduct employee engagement surveys where a number of those dimensions properly disaggregate data.
Capture Data to Improve Intersectionality
Anonymous questionnaires distributed to the company are the easiest way to acquire this information. For this type of data to be extrapolated accurately, especially when looking at intersectionality, very high response rates are essential.
Attaining this depends on workers having a high level of trust in their company. They need to make it apparent that ED&I is more than just a checkbox exercise. Additionally, anonymous data can paint a complete picture of the complexities of the lived experiences of different team members, even while it may not be able to pinpoint specific intersectional components. Organisations can utilise this information to assist ED&I projects like benchmarking, conscious inclusion training, and affinity groups.
Responding is the last step in the data journey—the easiest and most difficult part of every ED&I programme. Organisations should set a goal, try to achieve it, and be honest during the entire process.
Create a Culture of Acknowledgement and Understanding
Companies must comprehend the extent of intersectionality to effectively handle those issues. Firms are open to labels but utilise them to drive conversations instead. Instead of avoiding labels, many workers from underrepresented groups choose to embrace them to recover their identities and feel empowered by them. People of colour commonly find it upsetting to hear from well-meaning coworkers that they don't see colour, effectively eliminating their experiences with prejudice and absolving them of any obligation to take action.