October 17, 2020

The roots of organisational well-being

To build healthy, resilient organisations, nonprofits need to do more than adopt standard diversity, equity, and inclusion practices. They need to acknowledge systemic racism then commit to and implement processes to upend it.

2 min read

Although more and more organizations are taking steps toward greater diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace, people of color continue to consistently report feeling undervalued, unsafe, and exhausted from navigating unwelcoming work environments. They see implicit biases play out as micro-aggressions (such as consistently mispronouncing one’s name, confusing one person of color for another, or showing surprise that a person of color is the leader) and experience blatant racist behaviors, such as being the target of racial slurs. People of color also experience more negative outcomes related to hiring, promotions, terminations, and performance evaluations than their white peers. Many remain silent about these experiences for fear of not being believed and losing employment.

These experiences and outcomes are signs of an unhealthy work environment that devalues DEI, and we know that repeated exposure to an unhealthy workplace takes a physical and emotional toll on workers. It negatively impacts employees’ overall well-being—a problem often amplified by systemic disparities in access to health care.

This is an excerpt from the article Equity and Inclusion: The Roots of Organizational Well-Being by Mary-Frances Winters.

This article is a part of a special series on the connection between inner well-being and social change, in partnership with The Wellbeing ProjectStanford Social Innovation ReviewSchwab Foundation at the World Economic Forum, and Skoll Foundation.

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Stanford Social Innovation Review

Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR) is published by the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society at Stanford University. It seeks to advance, educate, and inspire the field of social innovation by seeking out, cultivating, and disseminating the best in research- and practice-based knowledge. SSIR informs and inspires millions of social change leaders from around the world and from all sectors of society—nonprofits, business, and government.