Microaggressions are all too common in the workplace, and they can be difficult to address. They can be emotionally abusive to the target, and if not dealt with, can cause serious mental health and productivity concerns within the workplace. If microaggressions continue, consult with an HR professional to find out what options are available to you.
What Are Microaggressions In The Workplace?
A microaggression is a behavior toward someone that is discriminatory or offensive. More often than not, they are subtle and unintentional. They typically take place towards minorities based on race, sex, religion, disability or sexual orientation. Although often subtle, microaggressions can significantly harm workplace culture, productivity and morale.
What Are The Impacts Of Microaggressions?
The specific impacts of microaggressions include lower self-esteem and self-confidence for employees that are targeted, mental health issues and a loss of motivation or inability to work effectively and efficiently. Below are the effects that microaggressions can have on employees:
Lower Self-Esteem And Confidence
Many employees that are targets of microaggressions experience a reduction in their self-esteem and confidence, which is often essential for optimal productivity in the workplace. This can not only impact individual work, but also the performance of others.
Depression, Anxiety And Other Mental Health Issues
In addition to a lack of self-confidence, many individuals dealing with microaggressions experience mental health problems as well, including increased depression and anxiety both at work and at home.
Loss Of Motivation Or Ability To Perform Work
Microaggressions are demeaning to the employee facing them, and they can make the employee less motivated to do their job or believe in their ability to perform at a high level professionally. Therefore, microaggressions contribute to a less productive workplace.
What Should I Do If I Am Experiencing Microaggressions?
If you experience microaggressions from a coworker, manager or executive, or are witnessing them take place around you, then you have several options available to you. You can talk to your manager about the situation, address the individual directly and/or consult with an HR professional, among other options.
Assess Whether The Actions Really Are Microaggressions
Not all criticism or disruptive behavior is considered a microaggression. To verify whether the concern is a microaggression or another problem, discuss the situation with someone you trust, such as a coworker, manager, company executive, HR director, family member or friend.
Tell A Manager About The Situation
If there is a manager or company executive that has the power to handle the situation and you trust them, then explaining to them your experience could be helpful. Remember, your employer cannot fire you for expressing concerns about microaggressions directed toward you or a coworker.
Calmly And Politely Address The Individual
As discussed, microaggressions are often incidental and the individual does not mean to be insulting or prejudiced. After you have a chance to calm down and assess the situation, consider addressing the individual directly and explain to them your experience.
Inform An HR Professional If The Actions Continue
Since microaggressions are often unintentional, you may be able to address the problem internally without too much conflict. However, if the problem does not improve, it is best advised to speak with an HR professional for additional advice and assistance.
Schedule a 1-on-1 with a remote HR consultant today!
If you are dealing with microaggressions in the workplace, or are noticing a coworker fall victim, the HR consulting professionals at HR Search & Rescue are willing and able to help. You can reach one of our HR consultants by phone at (844) 934-3293 or by scheduling a 1-on-1 meeting. We are glad to answer your questions and provide you with personalized consulting services.