Member Spotlights

Workplace Study at the intersection of DEI and Wellbeing

by Aparna Rae and Nicole DeKay, Moving Beyond
| Mar 04, 2021
GSBA members Aparna Rae and Nicole DeKay of Moving Beyond are launching a series of surveys as part of a larger workplace study at the intersection of psychological well-being, adverse workplace impacts and diversity, equity, and inclusion. The goal is to include a large sample of entrepreneurs, small/mid-sized business owners, and startup founders - a group that is under-indexed in workplace studies. Data will be analyzed intersectionally, looking across race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, geography, disability, and more.


In the past year, we have experienced unprecedented shifts at work. COVID19 has shifted the landscape beneath us, with impacts on emotional, physical, and other forms of health still occurring. The negative impacts are exacerbated for LGBTQIA, BIPOC (black, indigenous, people of color)  and other historically marginalized communities. According to the Human Rights Commission, LGBTQ people are more likely to have experienced a cut in work hours, are more likely to feel that their personal finances are in worse shape and are more likely to be taking steps to actively prepare for the virus (HRC, 2020). Communities of color, in particular womxn of color have borne the brunt of the job losses during 2020. For individuals with intersecting identities, the challenges multiply.

We are witness to history being made and we, honestly, have no idea how this will impact us and our communities in the long term. Collectively, these experiences, in particular that of the global COVID-19 pandemic has been categorized as a new type of stressor called compressed cultural trauma: for almost a year now, we’ve been living outside the normal in ways that are chronically stressful. All of these chronic stressors (both small and large) are like taking its toll on people’s health. Trauma researchers have known for decades that repeated, chronic stressors are much more complex to manage and harder to heal from than single highly stressful events. 

We have had a front row seat to watching companies scramble to adapt to these new changes, making public statements on Diversity, Equit, and Inclusion (DE&I) goals, hiring expert consultants, and implementing change. At the same time, we can’t ignore the skepticism around real and lasting change, given companies’ history of episodic and training-based approaches to DE&I that don’t deliver on the goal of a more inclusive workforce.

For companies to change in ways that help establish new norms and catalyze workplace transformation, they need to see compelling data. Since it’s often seen as a competitive advantage inside of companies, it’s hard for employees in HR, let alone researchers outside to get data needed to understand how our complex workplaces impact people. To truly understand the employee experience using a DE&I lens, an intersectional model that combines several well studied business outcomes with other socially conscious ones that promote human thriving can help inform the way work changes in the future. 

As we sought to add to the field in ways that promote a more informed workplace, we found that companies are offering to measure the “employee experience” without taking into account all the multiple facets that create an employee’s experience. 

This pilot program will help us build up the science behind what it looks like to have a data driven agenda in the hands of teams and employees who can use the information to take action. If employees have a place they can share information about their workplaces, they can drive policies at the early stages of company development that put human well-being at the center of the conversation.

Benefits to GSBA Members 

Members who sign up as a team - will get a profile FREE of charge at the end of the study period (as long as a minimum of 3 people from a team or company take the survey). 

All individual participants will get the first copy of our report. Skip the sign-up to take the first study today - 

During the study period, we are going to release a number of short surveys, and participants will receive one each month between February and May 2021. All data will be held confidentially and will not be shared or used for any other purpose other than the study -- you will not get marketing emails.