Is a “Covering Culture” Undermining Your Organization’s Well-Being Efforts? | Deloitte Insights

Leadership & Culture

This new article discusses how a “covering culture”—where employees feel pressured to downplay their identities (such as race, gender, or sexual orientation) to fit in—can undermine well-being, performance, and productivity. In the US alone, 60% of surveyed workers reported feeling this pressure, with 74% experiencing negative impacts and 60% reporting reduced well-being; the impact is more pronounced for nondominant groups. The article proposes strategies for leaders to address the underlying cultural issues that lead to covering. Additionally, this supplemental 29-page report, Uncovering Culture, dives deeper into the topic. Page 3 includes 12 examples of ways survey respondents report “covering,” such as Education: “I try to avoid conversations about education because I’m the only person I work with who doesn’t have at least one degree.” Caregiver status (dependent adult or child). “I’ve covered the fact that I’m a working parent at work … having to spend mindshare on kids (and parents as a caregiver), might give the impression I’m not fully committed to the work at the office. I don’t want to miss out on promotions or a chance to lead, so I downplay my roles at home.” Is your organization’s employee listening channels tapping into aspects of a “covering culture?”