What does unconscious bias mean to you?
Unconscious bias happens all of the time. Maybe sitting on a train or having a coffee somewhere, just people watching – then out of nowhere, innocently making assumptions about the passing crowd purely by the way they look, or interact. Their job, partner, personality and life. All based on things that we see at face value, without knowing the person at all.
Now, what does unconscious bias mean to your business and the way you develop diversity in your business?
Well according to Y-Vonne Hutchinson, former International Human Rights Lawyer, and Co-Founder of Project Include , the way you manage bias and diversity is essential to your business success.
“As a child I didn’t really want to believe that discrimination existed. When I got the talk that all black parents give their children, I chose not to believe my mother. I chose rather to think that she was crazy. The idea that she was crazy was so much more palpable to me than the truth.
The truth was that I would have to work harder for longer to get the things that my white friends had. That no matter how nice or how hard working I was, some people were just not going to want to acknowledge me. For many years I chose to believe that my mother was irrational and out of touch rather than acknowledging this truth.
I think that there’s a myth about people from underrepresented groups and bias: that we want to call it out, that we enjoy shining a light on it. In my experience nothing could be further from the truth. Most of us desperately wish that it didn’t exist. Most of us hate that it does and that it defines the ways in which we are treated totally outside of our control. I for one got to be pretty good at pretending that it didn’t exist. I kept pretending the bias that I experienced didn’t exist until pretending was no longer an option.”
Y-Vonne goes on to describe her experience of when discrimination has not only caused a toxic work environment, but how harmful it can be for recruitment, engagement and overall business success.
Definition of Diversity – The concept of diversity encompasses acceptance and respect. It means understanding that each individual is unique, and recognising our individual differences. These can be along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies. It is the exploration of these differences in a safe, positive, and nurturing environment. It is about understanding each other and moving beyond simple tolerance to embracing and celebrating the rich dimensions of diversity contained within each individual.
So what is unconscious bias, and how can you make sure that it doesn’t happen in your business? Take a look at how Google is making the unconscious conscious.
Here at DUO we are often asked questions around diversity by businesses who don’t know where to start. We focus on building cultures that are rich in diversity and inclusion. We recognise the importance of data to increasing diversity -it helps us understand the challenges better so that we can more effectively target the solutions. We use strengths profiling to understand people’s individual strengths. A package of our culture clarity sessions are perfect for unearthing the strategies you need to build your best culture.