Will Osei is a Ph.D. and a cofounder of Wire Health and leads DEI and culturally-competent behavioral health services for enterprise customers such as Spotify.
I study how companies respond to traumatic events. Whether that trauma originates from company operating activities (such as in the case of Dave Chappelle and Netflix) or from activities unrelated to the company (such as the murder of George Floyd), it can have extraordinarily negative impacts on employee mental health.
I have seen companies which have responded in ways that exacerbate trauma, and I have seen companies which have responded in ways that alleviate trauma. Among the companies that tend to recover well and do right by their employees, I have noticed a pattern; they focus on inclusion.
What do I mean by this? It is one thing for a company to have a diverse employee base, especially when it has diversity in higher ranking levels. Still, it is an entirely different scenario when a company actually focuses on inclusionary practices.
For instance, one of the best case studies I have seen is from a company that upholds that act of inclusionary practices right from the first interview. From go, ERGs are included in the interview process so that each candidate knows that they are joining a community that is understanding and supportive of their needs. From this initial interaction, the relationship blossoms into one of support and understanding.
I’m not claiming that the road does not become rocky when trauma impacts this particular company. Rather, I am saying that when this company faces traumatic events, it’s internal cohesion resulting from strong employee connectedness absorbs the impact resulting in a more graceful recovery.
At Wire, we rethink how employers can incorporate inclusion from go in order to gracefully support their employees after trauma.