Racialized workers feel psychologically unsafe in the workplace

Microaggressions have a psychological impact on employees

Racialized workers feel psychologically unsafe in the workplace

Canadian employers are encouraged to do more to ensure employees are seen, heard, and valued further, according to ADP Canada, after a recent survey found that some groups do not feel as comfortable and appreciated in the workplace. According to ADP Canada, employers should also be able to recognise and prevent microaggressions and their effects to the psychological safety of employees.

"It's important to recognize that microaggressions – subtle or unintentional acts of discrimination – can occur in the workplace and psychologically impact employees, often leading to feelings of not being connected," said ADP in its report. "Encouraging an environment that promotes open discussion and action around disadvantage, including microaggressions, and issues of inclusion can help employers create a workplace that promotes psychological safety, a sense of belonging and a culture of advocacy.”

Comfort, appreciation at work

The advice came on the heels of ADP Canada's recent study, which revealed that while majority of employees seem very comfortable at work, racialized and Indigenous workers do not feel the same.

The new survey revealed that nine out of 10 employees surveyed feel they are comfortable being themselves at work, while eight out of 10 feel comfortable with raising concerns to their manager or senior leadership team. This means that Canadian employers seem to be fostering psychologically safe workplaces, according to ADP's report.

The study also indicated that most Canadians feel valued while they are at work, with 82% of the respondents saying that their unique skills and talents are appreciated and put to use.

Some employees reporting issues

Despite these appreciative and comfortable workplaces, however, some employees have revealed some issues that may affect their psychological safety in workplaces.

Many of these respondents are racialized and Indigenous workers, with a third of them saying they feel undermined.

The report revealed that racialized and Indigenous respondents are nearly twice as likely (36%) as white respondents to say they feel their colleagues may deliberately act in a way that undermine their efforts at work.

"This was particularly true for respondents in these groups identified as men (40%)," the report said.

Unlike the rest of the respondents, these groups are also revealed to be more likely (35%) to admit that it is difficult to ask colleagues or their direct manager for help. Nearly half of them (49%) also agreed that making a mistake at work will be held against them.

Heather Haslam, vice president of marketing at ADP, strong connections are an indication of inclusion, and it is important for employers to recognise the psychological safety has a role in establishing that in the workplace.

"Leaders are responsible for creating psychologically safe spaces that build strong connections, create more inclusive environments and better position opportunities to enhance employee engagement, collaboration, and creativity," said Haslam.

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