Code-switching—mirroring the behavior of new colleagues—is becoming normal behavior in the workplace, which can be both positive and negative.
- Reasons for employees to code-switch, according to The Hustle…
- To avoid discrimination
- To demonstrate competence
- To feel comfortable
- To get hired or promoted
- Black employees are more likely to code-switch when working in a company they’re not well-represented in, according to the Harvard Business Review.
Why it’s important
Code-switching refers to when employees change things about themselves to better fit in at work, whether it be looks, style, or personality.
Employees have been code-switching for a long time, but recently it has become very prevalent in the workplace, which can be both good and bad.
Code-switching can be anything from wearing more modest clothes at work to covering up tattoos or changing your name to better fit in on the job. It can be beneficial in some cases, such as jobs that do not allow tattoos, specific hair colors, or require professional attire, and employees altering their looks to align with the role.
In other cases, it can be more extreme and have harmful effects. Many people of color have reported changing their language, clothing styles, and overall downplaying their race to fit in with a role where most workers are primarily another race. Doing this can cause employees to feel devalued and less authentic.
Employers can help to fight against code-switching and discrimination by watching their workplace closely.
The Hustle says if an employer wants their workplace to become more inclusive, they can implement these strategies…
- Establish clear policies
- Promote cultural awareness
- Provide training
- Create an inclusive environment