While no employer wants to put their employees in a position where the employees are unable to reach their full potential, many employers are intentionally preventing some of their employees from being able to perform their best work. When employees do not feel like they can be themselves at work, they spend time hiding their identities and suffer anxiety concerning how others will judge them if their colleagues find out the truth.
According to a study conducted by Deloitte University Center for Inclusion, 61 percent of employees cover some aspect of their identity. This includes hiding sexual orientation, disabilities, mental health issues, and other characteristics. It also includes avoiding behaviors that may support stereotypes about that particular group. Unfortunately, hiding part of their identity can lead to negative attitudes in the workplace. For example, 52 percent of those hiding their identity had seriously considered leaving their job within the last 12 months while only 25 percent of those who do not hide their identity have seriously considered leaving their job in the last year. Despite the negative feelings that arise, many employees feel they need to hide their identities to find success and be accepted in their workplace.
Fortunately, if you support talent, including their diversities, you can work to create an environment where employees feel less like they need to hide their identities. One idea is to share your own story. Let others understand where you felt like you had to hide a part of yourself and share that part of yourself with others within the company. By setting the example, you can help others to feel that they do not have to hide that part of themselves.
Another thing you can do is look beyond the obvious diversity and work to not place people into specific groups. Avoiding labeling people based upon one or two characteristics can help your employees feel more included in the company and less stereotyped. Being a company that is open to diversity and standing up for those who feel discriminated against can also encourage people to be themselves in the workplace, thereby encouraging greater productivity in the workplace.
Contact us to learn more about creating an environment where employees feel supported and do not feel like they need to hide a part of themselves in the workplace.