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The Impact of Well-Being on DEIB: Specific Considerations for Women

The Impact of Well-Being on DEIB: Specific Considerations for Women

As it ran its course, the pandemic amplified the focus on employee well-being, bringing to light issues of psychological and physical safety as well as burnout. Current trends emphasize the interconnectedness between well-being and a sense of belonging at work, highlighting the need for organizations to adopt holistic strategies addressing various well-being dimensions: physical, mental, emotional, financial, and social. This approach is particularly important for women, who experience higher levels of stress and burnout.

Concerns about Employee Safety and Burnout

Safety and burnout have emerged as critical issues disproportionately affecting women, particularly in healthcare and retail sectors. Recent studies show high levels of burnout among healthcare workers, with nurses and physicians experiencing acute stress that demands immediate attention. 

The demanding nature of these roles, often requiring long hours and intense physical and emotional exertion, heightens these safety concerns. Women, who make up a significant portion of the workforce in these fields, are especially vulnerable. 

Perceptyx benchmark data further illuminates this issue, revealing that women report higher stress levels and greater difficulty in maintaining work-life balance. Key survey items help to highlight these disparities:

  • "I am able to balance my work and personal life."
  • "My stress levels at work are manageable."
  • "I have flexibility in my work hours to meet my personal commitments."

Workplace Communication Gaps Compound Challenges for Women

Exacerbating these challenges is a work environment where women often feel less empowered to voice their concerns. Perceptyx benchmark data indicates that women, compared to their male counterparts, feel:

  • Less comfortable reporting their concerns
  • Less respected in the workplace
  • Less fairly treated overall

This disparity is even more pronounced among women leaders. The higher women climb in organizational hierarchies, the more challenging it becomes to balance these competing demands, potentially leading to heightened stress and diminished well-being.

The combination of high stress levels and an unsupportive work environment creates a compounding effect that significantly impacts women's overall job satisfaction and career progression. To address this, organizations should address burnout and safety concerns but also foster a culture where women feel valued, respected, and empowered to speak up.

Focusing on Health Equity

By focusing on health equity, organizations can ensure that all their people have access to the same level of health resources and support, regardless of background. This involves addressing disparities in healthcare access, quality, and outcomes. Promoting health equity requires organizations to consider the specific needs of different employee groups, including women. This may involve offering tailored health programs, providing education on health issues, and ensuring that healthcare benefits are inclusive and accessible.

By working to resolve these discrepancies, organizations can create fairer and more psychologically safe work environments. A recent report from Ernst & Young (EY) highlights the growing importance of health equity initiatives. While the report focuses on healthcare organizations, its findings are broadly relevant to workplace health equity efforts across industries. According to the EY report, 65% of healthcare organizations have seen a positive return on their health equity efforts, and 83% have observed improved health outcomes.

A Holistic Approach to Well-Being

Organizations are increasingly adopting comprehensive well-being strategies that align with DEIB initiatives. These strategies address multiple dimensions of well-being, recognizing that physical health is just one aspect of an employee's overall wellness. Mental, emotional, financial, and social dimensions are equally important and interconnected.

Inclusive and Supportive Work Cultures

Supportive work cultures recognize and celebrate diversity, ensuring that all employees, particularly women, feel respected and appreciated. This can be achieved through training programs, mentorship opportunities, and initiatives that promote gender equality — something that Perceptyx customers have used employee listening to facilitate. When employees feel included and supported, they are more likely to be engaged and productive.

Cultivating an environment where employees feel valued and supported is crucial. Your organization can foster this kind of work environment by:

  • Promoting Psychological Safety: Establish a culture where employees feel safe to speak up, share ideas, and report concerns without fear of retaliation. This can be achieved through a commitment to employee listening in multiple forms (including pulse surveying and crowdsourcing), training programs, clear policies, and supportive leadership.

  • Encouraging Open Communication: Open and maintain communication channels that allow employees to provide feedback, ask questions, and engage in meaningful dialogue with their leaders and peers. Regular check-ins, town hall meetings, and anonymous feedback mechanisms can facilitate this.

  • Providing Opportunities for Feedback and Dialogue: Create opportunities for employees to share their experiences and provide feedback on workplace policies and practices. This can include focus groups, employee surveys, and other forms of employee listening facilitated by Perceptyx’s People Insights Platform.

Flexible Work Arrangements

Flexible work arrangements are particularly beneficial for women, who often juggle multiple responsibilities both at work and at home. These arrangements allow employees to better manage their work-life balance, reducing stress and increasing job satisfaction.

Organizations that offer flexible work options demonstrate their commitment to employee well-being, which can enhance retention and attract top talent. Flexibility also promotes a more inclusive work environment, as it acknowledges and respects the different needs and circumstances of employees.

Work arrangements that can help support employee well-being include:

  • Remote Work Options: Allow employees to work from home or other remote locations when feasible, providing greater flexibility and reducing the stress of commuting.

  • Flexible Hours: Offer flexible work hours that accommodate the diverse needs of employees, allowing them to manage their work and personal commitments more effectively.

  • Compressed Workweeks: Provide options for compressed workweeks, where employees work longer hours over fewer days, giving them additional days off to rest and recharge.

Community and Connection

Building a sense of community and connection among employees fosters belonging and engagement. Social support networks within the workplace provide employees with a sense of camaraderie and mutual support. Team-building activities, social events, and employee resource groups can also help create a connected and supportive work environment.

Strong social connections at work can improve morale, reduce stress, and enhance overall well-being. For women, who may face unique challenges and pressures, having a supportive network can be particularly valuable. It provides a space for sharing experiences, seeking advice, and receiving emotional support.

Women and Workplace Stress

Women are reporting higher levels of stress and burnout risks in the workplace. Factors contributing to this include increased domestic responsibilities, concerns about safety, and a lack of adequate mental health resources. The dual burden of work and caregiving can significantly impact women's mental and physical health.

Expanding wellness programs to better meet the unique needs of women can go a long way toward alleviating workplace stress. Programs to consider include:

  • Maternal and Reproductive Health Initiatives: Provide support for maternal health, including maternity leave, prenatal care, and postpartum support. Reproductive health programs can also include fertility treatments and support for women experiencing menopause.

  • Mental Health Support: Offer mental health resources such as counseling services, stress management programs, and mental health days. Ensure that mental health support is easily accessible and tailored to the specific needs of women.

  • Work-Life Balance Programs: Implement programs that promote work-life balance, such as flexible work arrangements, time management training, and wellness initiatives that encourage employees to take breaks and manage their workloads effectively.

  • Caregiving Resources: Provide resources and support for employees with caregiving responsibilities, such as childcare services, eldercare support, and paid leave for caregiving. 

Using Data to Decode the Links Between Well-Being, Diversity, Equity,  Inclusion, and Belonging

Understanding and addressing the well-being of all your employees is essential for fostering an inclusive and productive workplace. Perceptyx offers comprehensive DEIB solutions to help organizations gain insights into and then improve employee well-being along with the impact of diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. To learn more about how Perceptyx can help, schedule a meeting with a member of our team today.

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