Is Your Unconscious Bias Holding Your Company Back?

One can’t help but be aghast with the continuing disparities in inclusion despite prolonged diversity training by wide-ranging organizations. Seen as a nice to have by companies especially in today’s “Metoo” movement, organizations are familiar with the risks of using human resources merely as a buffer against lawsuits instead of protecting employees. Innovations are not nearly as effective when human resources and the executive team seek to maintain the proverbial “Good Ol’ Boys Club,” while unconsciously alienating women and minorities.

Sonia Elks writing in Reuters states, “Bosses who do not believe sexism holds back women’s careers are more likely to give jobs to men..”

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“Our evidence suggests that when people recognize women might face barriers, they are more able to put aside their own biases,” said Toni Schmader, a psychology professor at the University of British Columbia in Canada involved in the study.”

Kate Rockwood notes, how an executive in a Silicon Valley startup “hiring an eight-person team when his boss pointed out that all of his hires were white guys in their early 20s.” His boss sternly reminded this executive, “This isn’t a fraternity.”

One also must be aware by now that merely hiring qualified women is not enough. Because, I shouldn’t have to say this, not all women are the same. They encompass diverse backgrounds, education, thinking and races. Black women for example are paid less than Mexican women. They both are paid less than white women for the same work.

Citation: Reporting by Sonia Elks @soniaelks; Editing by Claire Cozens. Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's and LGBT+ rights, human trafficking, property rights, and climate change. Visit http://news.trust.org

About Jim Woods

Jim is president of Woods Kovalova Group. He has advised and trained Fortune 1000 companies, U.S. Military, government, small to mid-size business, and education. Since founding WKG in 1998 Jim has focused on a variety of Diversity & Inclusion, Leadership, & Personal Development Issues across a broad range of industries including government, manufacturing, healthcare and financial services.

In his client work, Matt has advised numerous chief executives, human resource professionals and employees on their leadership, training and development, personal and corporate strategy, change management; and employee engagement.

Prior to joining WKG, Jim taught fifth-grade math and science. Then on to working as a university professor teaching leadership and human resources. Read the causes we support.