Employee well-being is intrinsically tied to workplace performance and engagement. Leading employers recognize that the health and wellness of their workforce can impact success and business outcomes, which has contributed to the proliferation of workplace wellness programs. Amid the “Great Resignation,” there has arguably never been a more important time for employers to dial in on the well-being of their employees and ensure the necessary tools are in place to set them up for success.
Unfortunately, companies are missing the mark across the board when it comes to the well-being of their employees of color. The culprit? A failure to effectively address institutional racism and workplace disparities, which are tied to employee wellness, resulting in poorer health outcomes and a disproportionate mortality burden.
The relationship between racism and poor health outcomes is well established. In fact, a robust body of research has proven racism and chronic stress affect Black Americans on a cellular level, resulting in a higher risk of chronic illness, including obesity and heart disease. Following hundreds of years of oppression and discrimination, the very DNA of Black individuals has changed — and with it their life expectancy and quality of life forecast.
Today, Black Americans are aging faster than their white counterparts — to the point where one study of 65-year-old Black and white women found that Black women were 7.5 years “older” biologically. When the impact of these health inequalities is annualized, we are left with 74,000 more preventable deaths of Black Americans.
Today’s reality does not have to be tomorrow’s. For those committed to being part of the solution to this public health crisis, here are some steps companies can take now to address racism and inequality in the workplace.
- Listen to your employees.
- Set meaningful, comprehensive goals.
- Make DE&I part of executive leadership performance evaluations.
- Don’t place the burden on your employees of color.
- Test, learn, repeat.
- Remember, it impacts your bottom line.
Read the full article about dismantling structural racism in the workplace by Linda Goler Blount at Forbes.
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