Diversity, Racism, Unconscious Bias … Where Do We Go From Here?

2020 has been a year of surprises – and challenges – for everyone. No one could have predicted that just when businesses were working out how to get back on their feet, amid ongoing large scale redundancies and business reorganisations, we would be simultaneously facing enormous pressures around culture, racism, inclusion and bias.

When businesses phone us for a quote they tend to split into two groups – those that need to and want to buy and those that are just thinking and exploring ideas. We are finding currently that with regards to D&I there is a lot of thinking and exploring going on so, to help you with that, we thought it would be useful to give you a few links to articles we have written and add in a few thoughts given the recent protests.

Some ideas to put into the melting pot!

These articles could be used to kick start some internal discussions about culture and what you would like to achieve moving forwards. It doesn’t matter if you don’t agree with everything we have written, what does matter is that it prompts those critical discussions.

🔎 Why bother with diversity and inclusion?

Exploring why organisations still do not prioritise D&I despite decades of legislation and discussion.

Here is an extract:

These are the reasons why senior teams continue to ignore this message:

  • Apathy
  • Belligerence
  • Lack of understanding of how it can create competitive advantage
  • Fear of changing the status quo
  • Lack of vision and strategic thinking
  • Risk aversion so great within the business that it regularly stalls change

Question:

Any of these apply to your business and if so, what is your plan to tackle it?

Our Advice:

You will never succeed with inclusion unless you educate from the top down. You will never succeed with inclusion if you just ‘tell’ people their view is outdated and needs to change. You will never succeed with inclusion if you just think it can all be covered off in a training course.

🔎 What is unconscious bias?

🔎Unconscious bias infographic

An overview of the topic for those of you not familiar with unconscious bias.

Here is an extract from this Blast:

Here are just a few examples of how unconscious bias can impact in the workplace:

  • Why do we deliver fantastic customer service to one customer whilst doing the bare minimum for another and what impact on sales can this have?
  • Why do the same old faces always appear to be in the mind of the senior managers when promotions are being talked about and can this result in the best talent not always achieving the top jobs?
  • Why are we inclined to judge or criticise more harshly the under performance of one person compared to the under performance of another, and what impact can this have both on the motivation of individuals and the respect of staff for the leaders of the organisation?

Question:

Do you even know how unconscious bias is impacting in your workplace? Do you know what it is costing you? Do you know what the specific most insidious/damaging bias in your business is (race, age, sexuality, disability, pregnancy etc)

Our Advice:

For an impartial view why not call up the last 5, 10, 50 or 100 people who left the organisation and ask them if they experienced any hidden or overt bias whilst working for you. Gather the data about what is actually going on in your organisation before deciding what action to take rather than leaping into a solution that the media, government, or latest influencer might be clamouring for, but that may not be the right solution for you.

🔎 Diversity but on our terms

A personal blog from our MD this time.

Here is an extract:

I came across this quote in The Loudest Duck ‘ We recruit for diversity, but then dismiss for difference’. How true and what an indictment of current diversity practices that whilst applauding and encouraging diversity (and putting a whole pile of hard earned cash into diversity initiatives), we so often reject ‘difference’.

Question:

The blog talks about sector snobbery. Do you have that in your organisation? This means that you never hear views from outside your own sector. Who is blocking out valuable external information and ideas? Who can’t see that the ‘same old same old’ approach to D&I can no longer take place?

Our Advice:

We often fear what we don’t understand. For as long as we don’t understand other cultures, religions, races, histories, sexuality, age related challenges, mental illnesses etc. then there will always be discrimination in the workplace. Especially if we prioritise our own needs/fears endlessly above the needs of others. What are you doing to help your employees and leaders ‘understand’ more about the world and the people we work with? Education first. Changed behaviours second.

🔎 Is microagression diversity and inclusion a step too far?

This in an article that our MD wrote for HR Magazine.

Here is an extract:

There is an argument, one I personally think is valid, that by focusing too much on microaggressions you risk encouraging other damaging behaviours.

The middle ground is in first creating an environment where people are educated about themselves; why they react the way they do to others, how different brains work under pressure, why we find fault rather than looking to praise, how it is possible to rewire your brain.

Question:

Should we include microaggressions in our diversity and inclusion training and policies?

Our Advice:

Each workplace needs to consider the pros and cons of microaggression training and awareness-raising. There are arguments for and against and you need to decide the right balance for your own organisation, which we explore in the linked article. However, if you have emotionally-intelligent facilitators that can open up discussions where we actively learn about each other, sharing our backgrounds, our cultures, our religions, our politics, our interests and hobbies, our fears and our dreams; then this approach of education and discussion can provide an opportunity to open relationships and conversations that have been closed down.

How we can help:

If you think your organisation would benefit from diversity and inclusion or unconscious bias training, we offer courses that can help you:

  • Retain valued staff
  • Engender great employee relations
  • Attract new talent
  • Address gender and other imbalances at various levels in the organisation
  • Better reflect the diversity of the supplier base
  • Better position themselves for corporate or public sector contracts

For more information on the training we can offer, visit our diversity and inclusion training page or unconscious bias training page.