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A new study has revealed the acute impact of communication barriers for employees from ethnic minority backgrounds.
Data from visualisation platform Rethinkly says more than 36% of ethnic minorities say they have no voice in the workplace, compared to 25% from a white background.
Thirty-eight per cent say that the inability to communicate within the workplace has had the largest impact on productivity, while 35% say they are unable to fulfil any kind of public delivery without acute anxiety.
Andrew Jackson, co-founder of Rethinkly, said, “If we think of the teams and groups we work in, why do some perform better than others? Well, it turns out that people being able to express themselves, say what they think, call out bad stuff, and feel connected to their colleagues are the things that really make a difference.”
For example, despite 40% of Londoners identifying as an ethnic minority, research reveals that only 1-in-16 management positions are filled by someone from a minority background.
The issues large majorities of black and Asian workers regularly face at work are well documented. For example, a study produced last year showed that over 70% of employees from a Black background reported feeling overlooked for opportunities owing to their identity and 66% from Asian backgrounds. Furthermore, a third of employees from this same cohort said they have been treated less favourably, received hostile or derogatory comments at work for this same reason.
The new findings demonstrates this is having very real impacts on the attitudes of ethnic minority employees at work.
“Most challenges at work stem from a lack of or just bad communication,” said Jackson. “Communication challenges are directly aligned with morale, productivity, and commitment which have real business impact. Effective communication and building a strong culture based on healthy engagement are often talked about but surprisingly difficult to achieve. But when organisations start to embed and grow critical communication skills and adopt them as a competitive advantage, they can start to see a significant shift in their trajectory.”