Organizations are encouraging diversity by spreading more awareness in the workplace. Though educating employees might increase more talks, it will not suppress the ‘unconscious biases’. In this article at strategy+business, Khalil Smith and David Rock from NeuroLeadership Institute tell us how to effectively inculcate diversity in the workplace.
Achieving Effective Workplace Diversity
More people are aware of the benefits of diversity than the generation before. A 2015 research reveals that the majority of the U.S. white citizens preferred a black president. Implicit Awareness Test, since its first launch in 1998, has been taken more than 20 million times. It is being used more in recent times. However, the authors feel that education is not enough.
Just Being Aware Results to Nothing:
There are awareness programs to address smoking and drug intake. Despite knowing the harmful consequences, people have not quit smoking. Neither have those kids that went through D.A.R.E. are going to stop taking drugs. So, just being aware of diversity will not make people more inclusive. A University of Michigan professor remarks, based on a 50-year observation, that information alone cannot change people’s unconscious biases. You must inculcate diversity in the mindset of your employees.
Work Towards Tangible Results:
Since unconscious bias is an involuntary reaction, education and awareness cannot change it. Along with conducting diversity programs, implement changes in the workplace that allow them to accept it more naturally. Instead of targeting one individual, change the team behavior. Provide them with terms that could help them identify and categorize these biases. For example, if the interviewer is hiring a candidate from the same university, people must readily locate that this a bias based on similarity. When the institute conducted a workshop in a financial services company, employees started to recognize and communicate biases effectively.
From 2014, Intel made it a policy that two women or minority group members must be a part of the hiring process. That year 32 percent of recruits were women or from minority groups and it increased to 45 percent in 2016. Implementing rules that target behavioral change towards diversity can help reduce unconscious biases in the workplace.
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