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  • Taylor Thomas and Qiu Fogarty

Nurturing the Well-being of Black Women at Work

Over the past few months, Black women’s workplace experiences have been amplified as a call to action. From loss of life to public smear campaigns, there are deeply visceral consequences to Black women being bullied, harassed, unwelcomed, or undervalued in the workplace. The Harvard Business Review describes elements of the psychological and emotional stress Black women experience as a result of the unfortunate reality: Workplaces are not as safe as they seek to be, especially for Black women. 

In 2023, EXHALE, the first emotional well-being application and platform for Black women, surveyed over 1,000 Black women and found that 1 in 2 believe workplaces are not safe for Black women to express both their feelings and their stresses. Additionally, 36% of them reported leaving their job due to feeling unsafe. This reality requires more tailored solutions to support our, Black women, physical, psychological, and emotional well-being at work.

Tailoring workplace strategies to the needs of Black women can cultivate a more positive experience for us at work. In fact, in a recent presentation at the National Conference on Race & Ethnicity (NCORE), titled, “Authenticity at Work for Black Professionals”, ADR Consulting Group shared strategies for supporting workplace authenticity for Black staff that can create a sense of belonging, job satisfaction, and of course, well-being. Authenticity at work is just one area where support can lead to our thriving. If Black women need more tailored solutions to support our well-being, how can organizations create nurturing workplace systems for us? Consider these personal and organizational practices:

  1. Tap into + promote Black-women-led digital well-being spaces. There are a number of digital mindfulness and meditation services out there. Many lack representation of the specific needs of Black women. However, Black-women-led digital spaces do exist with our well-being in mind. Here are a few to explore:

  2. Gather with other Black women to normalize our collective wellness. Engaging in rest practices and self-care practices solo is great for individual well-being. Even so, a greater cultural shift toward Black women’s well-being involves collective practices and accountability. Plus, culturally collective or communal experiences can resonate even more for us. You can engage in collective well-being practices through group meditations, movement, or other wellness activities with a peer network. For example, if an organization has affinity groups or Employee Resource Groups for Black women, the group’s collective needs can be met through regularly scheduled times for a wellness activity or identity-based wellness service.

  3. Sponsor + fund Black women’s well-being. Workplaces can fund individual or group participation in wellness activities. Sponsored activities can include wellness retreats for Black women such as Black Women Healing Retreats or OMNoire. An organization can also offer benefits for wellness memberships, subscriptions, or stipends for wellness activities to support well-being in and outside of the workplace.

  4. Conduct an equity audit of organizational policies, practices, and processes. Your equity audit can inquire about:

  • Supports for Black women in your talent pipeline

  • Efforts to uplift Black women in reporting processes 

  • Intersectional and culturally responsive leadership practices 

  • Inclusive and equitable organizational culture practices

  • Benefits and benefit access for Black women

Embodying an inclusive workplace should include actively supporting and promoting the wellbeing of Black women. An organization’s journey to putting people first doesn’t have to include guesswork either. ADR Consulting Group is on a mission to co-create such supportive environments, where the humanity and dignity of all staff is honored by workplaces everywhere.

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