Unfortunately, workplace discrimination still exists in nearly every industry. Prejudice can take many forms, from overtly offensive acts to subtle microaggressions, and it prevents workplaces from reaching genuine inclusion. Thankfully, recognizing the barriers of workplace inclusion can reduce their frequency and impact.
1. Subjective Feedback
When employers have inconsistent methods of responding to and dealing with problems or errors in the workplace, this creates an additional barrier for many workers. People are often willing to let things slide when a “popular” or “in-crowd” employee makes a mistake, but they may judge others may harshly.
2. Prior Assumptions
Coming into a workplace with any kind of bias can prevent a business from ever achieving actual diversity, as negative stereotypes are more commonly weaponized against women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ community. This can also prevent workers with unique backgrounds from being viewed as equally competent by more classically-trained employees.
3. Insensitive Discussions
Discussing race, sex/gender, sexual orientation, and other sensitive topics can make some employees feel uncomfortable, unsupported, and unwelcome. Employees who take these conversations lightly or make offensive “jokes” about someone’s identity can discourage employees from marginalized groups from contributing to the discourse, and thus progress, of the organization.
Although there are countless barriers of workplace inclusion, everyone can do their part to make their colleagues feel safe, respected, and valuable. When workplaces acknowledge these barriers, they work toward a stronger, more diverse professional community.