What is Thriving?
A group of researchers at the University of Michigan developed what they call a “socially embedded model” where they defined thriving at work as “the psychological state in which individuals experience both a sense of vitality and a sense of learning at work.”
When individuals thrive at work, they feel energized. They feel that they as an individual are valued, their work is valued and that they have the opportunity to learn and grow.
It allows for personal development and growth.
It helps to mitigate burnout.
In turn, when individuals are thriving, thriving organizations are born. Health care costs are lower, productivity rates are higher, and there is an overall sense of employee satisfaction across the board.
Defining What it Takes to Help Employees Thrive
Whether an individual is in an entry-level position, or one of senior authority, they need to have access to an organizational framework and culture which allows them to focus, receive support and feedback, and establish strong relationships.
Employees need to feel safe, welcome, and like their growth is worth investing in.
Thriving As a Black Woman In A White-Dominant Work Culture
Unfortunately, even though it is easy to define what it means to thrive — such definitions do not take into account the impact that male, white-dominant norms have on BIPOC populations, and in particular, Black women.
We dive into this extensively in the Black Women Thriving Report, identifying that everything from “pay equity to access to education, health care, and housing, solutions must be based in a recognition that these systems of racial and gender oppression are operating within and outside our organizations.”
Our analysis and recommendations take this intersectional systemic understanding into account and center the lived experience of Black women in the process.
Breaking It Down
In order to determine what it would look like for Black women to thrive at work, first we needed to gather a full, 360-degree picture of the current state of affairs.
We used a baseline understanding of thriving as the extent to which an individual feels they are growing or flourishing within their work environment. We define surviving as a state of being whereby individuals exist or are simply managing in their work environment, oftentimes under difficult circumstances.
In the report, you will find several topics broken down and rated on a scale of thriving, surviving, and mixed experiences, based on the responses of more than 1,000 Black women who participated in Black, female-led focus groups.
This state of survival versus thriving is broken down into the following categories: performance and promotion, compensation and earning potential, access to opportunities, workplace satisfaction, connectedness and trust amongst work colleagues, burnout and belonging.
By assessing each of these categories extensively, we were able to come to the conclusion of what it would look like for Black women to ACTUALLY thrive in the workplace.
To be able to enjoy those sought-after descriptors of being able to experience a sense of vitality, growth and learning at work.
We’re not there yet. But we will be soon.
The Black Women Thriving Report
In addition to diving deep into the lived experience of Black women, and coming to terms with what it would look like for Black women to thrive in the workplace, the Report includes several extensive recommendations of how organizations can actually commit and take bold action toward making this happen.
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