Microaggressions in the Workplace

Microaggressions in Your Workplace & How To Tackle Them

Microaggressions in Your Workplace: What Are They and How To Tackle Them With This Course

Although we see the shift towards more diverse workplaces, it is necessary to recognize that there is still room for growth when it comes to inclusivity and creating a safe environment. Microaggressions are a common and unfortunate occurrence in many professional spaces, where an individual’s biases towards members of marginalized groups transform into behaviors that communicate subtle yet negative attitudes towards that person. Employee interactions do not need to contain harsh language or offensive behavior to be considered a microaggression, rather it is the implicit actions that cause feelings of indignity amongst targeted individuals.

Even though these actions may seem small or insignificant, they can take a mental toll on those subject to it. It might lead to feelings of inadequacy and isolation, which can contribute to larger mental health struggles, such as depression. A lack of confidence and the motivation to succeed is a recipe to kill employee morale. They are unable to perform due to a lack of belief in their personal power, which can be attributed to their unsupportive workplace environment.

It is crucial for employees from stigmatized groups to feel heard, so they are assured their presence is absolutely needed for any competent workforce.

Often, these comments and behaviors are not intended to be acts of aggression. What may seem like an innocent remark to make to a colleague, could actually be an insensitive comment that reveals hidden prejudices about an unchangeable part of the other’s identity. It is the lack of awareness of our own inherent biases that can make us perpetrators of such behavior.


What does this mean for your company?

In today’s age, it is intolerable for corporations to neglect the current racial climate and continue to discriminate against minority groups. We have learned that the collaboration of different backgrounds is what creates the strongest and best solutions. A failure to address these issues can often result in massive financial losses for companies. In some extreme cases, boycotting from consumers might force a company to spend excess money on rebranding entirely in order to avoid further PR hiccups.

In terms of employee productivity, those who are subjected to microaggressions from others can experience ostracization and feel less inclined to participate in and support their company. They will also become less efficient as they struggle to keep themselves motivated in a space where they feel uncomfortable or unwanted. Any successful company understands the need to educate their employees on the differences that make us unique and human, and how these are to our collective advantage.


How can we overcome microaggressions?

Rather than staying silent when we notice someone making an inconsiderate comment, we should speak up and address why the statement is problematic. This should be done in a polite and informative manner, because the goal is to spread awareness and not cause defensive or reactive behaviors. The context of the situation should be reframed, so it is understood that the person making the remark is the one at fault, not the person being targeted. Those who are victims of microaggression and vocalize their feelings are often told to stop being sensitive and that it is simply a joke. However, it is not their duty to “toughen up”, but it is the duty of others to be more conscious of their prejudices and take action in unlearning them.

Facilitating group exchanges of ideas can also aid this problem, as individuals will have the opportunity to learn from one another and can see the positive impact that different perspectives bring.

P2L’s microaggressions course will explore more details regarding microaggressions in the workplace in an effort to inform employees on the dangers of allowing them to occur. It will also discuss different methods on how to address personal biases and steps that can be taken to unlearn them to build a more inclusive work environment.

The dates for this course are as follows:

March 11th, 2021: 9am to 12pm et

May 18th, 2021: 11am to 2pm et

August 26th, 2021: 9am to 12pm et

November 16th, 2021: 1pm to 4pm et

We look forward to your attendance!


What should you take away?

Everyone has implicit biases, even if they don’t align with our declared beliefs or values. It is a natural part of human thinking, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be unlearned. We create unconscious associations everyday without even meaning to, but it is every individual’s duty to at least acknowledge this. Being introspective and challenging the beliefs that dominate our personal narrative is critical to overcoming the prejudices that limit us. Embracing diversity is integral to building a bright and creative worldview.