I just wanna kickoff today by talking about some of the BS in DEI.
I think for me on the mental health lens, one of the challenges I have in this space is that there are so many standalone roles!
Often the standout black women who really try their best to make a difference. But, actually in a standalone role I always feel like it’s set up to fail and it’s really difficult to separate yourself and the work.
Equally, when you have an emotional attachment you want to make a difference and you always want to leave a legacy.
And, what I see is many of these women really struggling with burnout, exhaustion, and their mental health.
We explore some of the conundrum of something being good and bad. And, yes sometimes this can even exist together, side by side!!!!
Samantha Hawkins, Leadership Coach, Facilitator and Writer said;
“I think that there’s so much burnout in this sector. I think the kind of people that are taking these standalone roles and trying to do this justice work are incredibly, deeply caring people.
I see this whole situation through the lens of my experience as a white woman, which is different. I am big advocate of anti-racism and very educated on this, but still make mistakes. So, welcome being called out for getting it wrong.
There’s a lot of empathy, burnout, and there’s a lot of feeling like people are pushing a rock up a hill. I feel like that myself trying to do this work. And, I think for black people, and especially black women in this sector, it’s compounded by racial trauma and intergenerational trauma that makes it 10 times more difficult’
Erin Corine Identity & Belonging Coach said;
I think the number one thing that you said that really resonates with me is this analogy of pushing a rock up the hill, right?Sometimes, being a minoritised individual, shout out to Nicolette Mitchell, another DEI Practitioner who uses this term a lot, and I really like it because minoritised takes the act of being. It takes the weight of being off of the individual, and really talks about the fact that it is society that prioritises individuals that prioritises the marginalised experience.The egos in the room or defensiveness in organisations, it can be so reactive. And yeah, honestly, this is the feeling, pushing a boulder up a hill.
3 Ways People Leaders can make an impact in 2023?
1. Listen to your diverse talent. Erin stated ‘Have clear communication channels or ‘realtime’ feedback systems and create a system for people who are experiencing discrimination or experiencing a lack of upward mobility’
For those that are being just outright treated badly in the workplace, you should also find some external support to help to address this. It can be incredibly lonely and painful for marginalised groups. People should have the experience of knowing where to go and what to do next which may also reduce the number of those who ‘quiet quit’ or leave the organisation feeling traumatised.
2. Measure impact. It sounds super simple but many organisations don’t understand the impact of their initiatives or even how to measure them. The response to mental health and DEI over the last few years has been very reactive. Now, is a good time to take a step back and reflect on the strategy or long- term sustainability of your companies’ initiatives. What are the outcomes? What has worked well? What is the feedback?
Impact is what will increase retention and sustain representation. We should be looking beyond recruitment quotas or only quantifiable data, but also the quality of initiatives – Are people happy in your organisation and do they have a sense of belonging?
3. Personalised support will help to avoid burnout, fatigue, and increase empathy. We know when people feel psychologically safe or a sense of belonging or acceptance it increases team cohesion and productivity of their overall experience. It is great to include, personalised support such as coaching or mentoring for diverse talent. Onboarding can be a great place to improve this experience.
Please listen to the full episode here