Organizations can help their Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) colleagues by adopting strategies that mitigate the effects of black fatigue. Below are explanations of each strategy.
Establish a Healthy Organizational Culture
A healthy organizational culture is only possible with self-assessment. In her book, Diversity Beyond Lip Service: A Coaching Guide for Challenging Bias, La’Wanna Harris challenges the organization by presenting seven essential questions for a deeper cultural analysis.
- How might our policies be complicit in systems of oppression?
- Whom do our policies benefit most and why?
- What can I reimagine about my business to create a more versatile experience that fits the needs of all my employees?
- How might our professional expectations be predatory and discriminatory toward certain groups of people?
- How can we create opportunities for diverse groups to thrive?
- How can we affirm people’s true identities, but beyond their utility at work?
- What do people need from us that goes beyond a paycheck, and can we provide it?
With great power comes great responsibility
If you are in a leadership position, be an inclusive leader. Leverage your power and privilege to affect the necessary changes for your organization. Become an advocate of issues that affect employees of diverse communities. Create a culture that actively encourages equitable practices. Invite employees to converse with you about what is happening at their levels, give them a seat at the table, and create a space where honest feedback is welcome. Lastly, place importance on psychological safety. Harris reminds us that “Human beings are primed to perform optimally when they feel seen and valued for who they truly are, and when their uniqueness is seen as an asset, not a deficit.”
Many Hands Make Light Work
Whether through diversity councils, employee resource groups, or engagement committees, get involved. Help to lighten the load for BIPOC employees in your organization. If you are in a position of leadership, consider mentoring an individual from a different background than yours. In her book Diversity, Equity and Inclusion For Dummies, Dr. Shirley Davis recommends “Learn[ing] about the cultural backgrounds, unique experiences, needs, and expectations of the individuals on your team and what’s important to them.” Support systems like employee resource groups help bring people together to serve a common purpose.
Stay tuned for the fourth and final blog in our series about BIPOC issues in the work environment.
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