One of the biggest causes of mental stress is the idea that we have to section off parts of our lives and identities into neat little boxes and never let each box get mixed up.
This myth causes increased anxiety, conflict, confidence crises, reduced creativity, a sense of exclusion, identity crises and disengagement.
In today’s rapidly changing and interconnected world, organisations are recognising the value of nurturing multifaceted employees and embracing intersectionality in the workplace. By acknowledging the diverse dimensions of employees’ identities and the intersections between them, businesses can unlock numerous benefits and create an inclusive and innovative work environment.
Let us explore the advantages of fostering multifaceted employees and practicing intersectionality in the workplace.
First, what does Intersection and Multifaceted mean?
“Multifaceted” refers to the diverse dimensions of an individual’s identity, while “intersectionality” focuses on understanding the intersections and interactions of social categories, particularly in relation to marginalised identities.
Why You Should Nurture Intersectionality and Multifaceted Individuals In The Workplace:
Besides enhancing wellbeing and mental health by reducing anxiety, it promotes skills transfer and resilience in the workplace.
Authenticity and Psychological Safety:
When employees are encouraged to bring their whole selves to work and their multifaceted identities are acknowledged and valued, it creates a sense of authenticity and psychological safety. This means that individuals feel comfortable expressing their thoughts, emotions, and concerns without fear of judgment or discrimination. When employees can be their authentic selves, it reduces the stress of hiding or suppressing certain aspects of their identity, leading to improved mental well-being and reduced anxiety.
Enhanced Creativity and Innovation:
Multifaceted employees bring a wealth of diverse unique perspectives, experiences, and skills to the table. By embracing their multifaceted identities, organisations can tap into a broader range of ideas, resulting in enhanced creativity and innovation. Different viewpoints and varied backgrounds can foster unique problem-solving approaches, encouraging employees to think outside the box and generate fresh ideas. The intersectionality lens further amplifies this effect by recognising the ways in which employees’ diverse identities intersect, offering a deeper understanding of complex issues and enabling creative solutions.
Sense of Belonging and Inclusion:
By nurturing multifaceted employees and practicing intersectionality, organisations foster a sense of belonging and inclusion. When individuals feel that their diverse identities are respected and appreciated, they are more likely to feel connected to their workplace and colleagues. This sense of belonging and inclusion reduces feelings of isolation and increases social support, which are crucial factors in promoting good mental health and reducing anxiety.
Image from FutureLearn
Increased Collaboration, Skill Transfer and Team Dynamics:
When organisations foster a culture that values multifaceted identities, employees are more likely to feel comfortable bringing their whole selves to work. This inclusivity promotes open communication, trust, active skills transfer and collaboration among team members. By acknowledging, appreciating and valuing the diverse and often unique perspectives stemming from intersectionality and multifaceted team members, employees can work together more effectively, leveraging their distinct strengths and experiences to solve problems with creative solutions. Teams that embrace intersectionality and acknowledge that their members are multifaceted can navigate complexities, bridge gaps, and foster an environment of mutual respect and support, enhancing their self-esteem, sense of belonging, and overall mental wellbeing.
Supportive Policies and Resources:
Organisations that nurture multifaceted employees and practice intersectionality often implement supportive policies, resources, and programs to address employees' diverse needs. This can include mental health support services (like conversation workshops, away days, therapy sessions), employee assistance programs (like private healthcare, access to immigration advice, financial and mortgage advisors), learning and development opportunities for upskilling and daily events, flexible work arrangements and equal pay and promotion opportunities. By providing these resources and accommodations, organisations create a supportive infrastructure that prioritises employee wellbeing, reducing stress and anxiety levels.
Social Responsibility and Ethical Leadership:
Nurturing multifaceted employees and embracing intersectionality aligns with the principles of social responsibility and ethical leadership. By acknowledging and valuing diverse identities, organisations demonstrate a commitment to equality, fairness, and justice. Such organisations become advocates for inclusivity, both within their workforce and in society at large. By leading the way in embracing multifaceted identities and intersectionality, businesses can contribute to creating positive social change and inspiring others to follow suit.
Enhanced Wellbeing and Mental Health:
When workplaces embrace intersectionality, they create an environment where individuals' unique needs and experiences are acknowledged and respected. This inclusivity reduces conflict, fosters a sense of belonging, psychological safety, and overall wellbeing. Employees feel valued and supported, which can positively impact their mental health by significantly reducing anxiety triggers and other mental health risk factors.
Embracing multifaceted identities and intersectionality is not just a matter of fairness and social justice - it is a strategic imperative for organisations aspiring to thrive in the diverse and interconnected world of today and tomorrow.
For individuals and leaders, recognising and integrating one’s own multifaceted life and intersectionality (if there are any) makes us more resilient, creative and knowledgeable. Taking away anxiety triggers and benefiting our wellbeing as we are more able to be our Whole Selves and contribute fruitfully to our communities and workplaces.
How do you embrace intersectionality and multifaceted individuals in your workplace?
How do you embrace your own intersectionality and multifaceted life?
Want to discuss how SVH Inc. can improve your peoples employee experience? Get in touch with us here.