It is possible to be an agent of change within your organisation and to help build a psychologically safe culture free from bias. Katy Murray explains how
Levels of burnout amongst employees are higher than ever, particularly amongst women and people of marginalised identities – who also experience micro-aggressions and have to navigate workplace bias and barriers. Workplace equity and creating an inclusive culture benefits your bottom line. If you are a manager then data shows us that caring about your employee’s wellbeing, workloads and whether they feel included and represented pays off. When a team member feels included and that their voice is valued, they are more likely to stay and give their best.
Sometimes we feel like these issues are bigger than just us, but we can all play a part in making our workplaces more equitable. You can be an agent of change.
Take a mini audit and start getting curious
In order to begin the process, you need to ask some tough and honest questions. These should include: How do people feel working as part of your team, do they feel like they can thrive at work? What is the level of trust, openness, energy and fun that people experience?
Who is at the top of your organisation and do they look like you? What kinds of roles do women, LGBTQ+ people, those with disabilities and people of colour hold inside your organisation? Are there particular points in the pipeline that these people tend to leave your company?
You should also examine the gender, ethnicity and disability pay gaps in your organisation. What is the parental leave provision, and do dads take it? What kind of flexibility is available for those who are parents or have additional caring responsibilities? Do LGBTQ+ folk feel comfortable being themselves in your team? And more besides.
Now that you’ve done your mini audit, what are the conversations you can start having? If you lead others, you influence the culture around you. Consider what kind of culture you want to create. What is the change you want to see? What is your contribution? Finally, who else can you connect with? Don’t try to change organisational culture all alone! Who else is passionate about these issues, who can you join your energy with?
If these issues don’t affect you – great. That is part of your privilege and you can consider how you can be an agent of change, use your voice and influence. A culture of kindness and inclusion benefits everyone.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Katy Murray is a diversity, equity and inclusion expert, and author of a new book ‘Change Makers: A Woman’s Guide To Stepping Up Without Burning Out At Work’.