Why minorities experience higher stress at work

Many employers pride themselves on their commitment to diversity and inclusion. But workplaces are run by humans, not robots, and it can be hard to prevent majoritarian attitudes and biases towards women, religious minorities, scheduled castes, LGBTQ+ individuals, or disabled people, from spilling over into common work-spaces. Such biases, if left unchecked, can affect the morale and mental health of the workers belonging to minority groups.

Here’s what employers can do to ensure that workplace wellness remains truly inclusive.

  1. Speak to your minority employees about the issues they face (if any). Find out whether these problems are isolated or represent a larger workplace culture issue.
  2. Look out for institutional biases that (inadvertently) go against the idea of workplace parity. For example, offering extended parenthood leave only to women employees reinforces the idea that women are the primary caregivers of children, not men. Such policies also shape traditional attitudes around hiring or promoting female workers.
  3. Examine your internal grievance redressal mechanisms, such as anti-harassment committees, to ensure that they are properly staffed and run. This requires the commitment of leadership as well.
  4. Provide sensitivity training to all employees, emphasising the importance and benefits of workplace diversity. Teach them to identify and report behaviour that is not in line with the firm’s commitment to equal opportunities for everyone.

5. Assign mentors to minority employees who need assistance. The mentor should ideally be a senior employee who can help the person deal with issues like bullying or isolation, and also help them unlock opportunities within the organisation.