Being Yourself at Work
Workplaces are changing—or at least the best of them are. At the organizations on the Inclusion Index, there’s a new openness, starting with communications from the top, about issues that used to be off-limits. They’re creating environments where people can tell their manager and co-workers they are dealing with postpartum depression or be comfortable putting a picture of their same-sex partner on their desk.
If you’ve felt that you couldn’t “be your true self at work,” you’re not alone. A Deloitte study revealed that 61 percent of people hide some key aspect about themselves from others at work, whether it’s a disability, religion, sexual orientation or race/ethnicity. And a University of
Exeter study found that people who conceal these types of “core characteristics” have significantly lower job satisfaction and commitment to work.
Your ability to be open about who you are also might depend on how much diversity there is at your place of work. A recent
Harvard Business Review study found that employees at organizations with more diversity are far more likely to have a culture where employees can be open. The study noted: “Opening yourself to others requires risk taking and trust, but without it, employees are less likely to build the deeper relationships that lead to both success and more happiness at work.” To assess workforce diversity and open, inclusive environments, Working Mother Media’s Diversity Best Practices division has created an Inclusion Index that tracks organizational progress. This year, 73 organizations qualified for this index. Here’s what sets them apart, along with their employees’ own stories about why they work there.