How to Stop Unconscious Bias from Corrupting Your Work Culture
Looking to build a great corporate culture that fosters engagement and motivates employees? The biggest obstacle to creating a positive work culture is the presence of unconscious bias.
Symmetra’s ready-to-use leadership training courses online help managers, leaders and recruiters gain insights into hidden biases that disrupt business growth.
Making the Shift from Compliance to Inclusion as a Business Strategy
While Australia, as a nation, is extremely diverse, workplace culture has unfortunately not kept up. This is especially true when it comes to combining diversity initiatives with the inclusive culture required to drive it.
The truth is that leadership training and programs have been around for decades, but not many workplaces are inclusive enough to nurture a diverse culture. Unconscious bias erodes the benefits of diversity in several ways and is much more commonly experienced compared to conscious prejudice (which may be punishable by law).
Recent corporate surveys reveal that despite increased awareness, organisations have not been successful in addressing one of the biggest barriers to success: everyday biases and their effects on communication, leadership and decision-making.
Diversity and inclusion practices have become higher priorities in recent times, which shows organisations have internalised the impact bias has on the bottom line. More importantly, leaders are now taking proactive steps toward creating authentic and organic workplace cultures.
Our trained consultants truly understand the nuances of diversity across industries and areas. We offer innovative leadership and management courses online, specially designed around our client’s specific diversity goals.
How Does Unconscious Bias Affect Workplace Culture?
Unconscious bias gets in the way of creating a diverse workforce – one that attracts and engages people from different backgrounds and keeps the organisation open to new ways of thinking.
Julia Gillard, one of Australia’s former prime ministers, suggested that unconscious bias was a formidable issue because it is like a ‘whisper in the back of our brains’. Our subtle prejudices (which most of us would strongly deny when confronted) impact our choices and decision-making in a more powerful way than we’d like to believe.
Inequality in the workplace can take many forms. Unconscious biases are social stereotypes we form in our minds about certain categories of people. This process occurs almost (but not quite) spontaneously and is triggered by our brains, making a snap judgement.
For example, let’s discuss unconscious bias against women. Whether we like to admit it or not, they are still discriminated against on a daily basis. Female employees experience much more indirect, subtle bias rather than blatant and overt discrimination which makes it more difficult to pinpoint and address. One in two women in Australia said that they were subjected to workplace bias due to pregnancy or maternity leave upon their return to work.
Translating Diversity and Inclusivity Goals into Reality
Even well-intentioned organisations have to bridge the gap between overarching goals and actual experiences of their workforce. It’s very important for leaders to highlight issues that act as barriers to diversity and inclusivity.
If left unchecked, bias can thrive in a number of processes including hiring, performance reviews and promotions. Unconscious bias prevents fair treatment of employees and stops your workforce from being competitive. Teleconferencing options, family leave and flexible hours are just some of the options that can help create a happier and more productive workforce.
As a leading diversity and inclusion consulting firm, Symmetra works with executives and organisations across Australia to improve workplace performance through cultural change and online leadership training. Feel free to contact us today to discuss how we can help your organisation achieve its diversity objectives.