Oylum Tagmac , Senior Director , Worldwide Alliances at Commvault
Recognising the problem
Whether we like it or not , we are all in some form or other victims of our subconscious and thereby , we can be unconsciously biased . Mindfulness plays a key role in eliminating it from personal behaviour and workplace culture , and in particular , being mindful of how we interact with each other , of how our processes and systems operate and being very aware of how we tackle our shortcomings are key considerations . However , complex and integrated issues like these cannot be addressed in one go , and ultimately , they require guidance , education and self-introspection to apply positive changes to our workplaces .
For instance , while empathy is a crucial component of good management , keeping an open mind when entering into important situations such as return-to-work conversations is just as important . We should make decisions and align processes based on what the employee wants , not what we think they would want .
Another aspect would be to encourage conversations and workshops among teams that will help people understand the nuances in every individual ’ s life . Exposure to a myriad of experiences each individual has gone through can have a deep impact on others , ultimately changing their approach towards each other for the better .
Measurement is key to understanding whether efforts to eliminate unconscious bias are having an impact . For example , creating a progress roadmap for each individual / group , with honesty being a key component and coupled with transparent feedback on the initiatives taken to curb bias , can be critical to bringing about this paradigm shift .
Let ’ s face it – when it comes to cultivating an equitable culture , there is no one size fits all approach , as there are simply too many variables to measure and control . What ’ s more , these aren ’ t changes that can come in a wave and solve all the issues at hand in one go .
That said , what every organisation can do is to take learnings at an individual level and apply them gradually to our professional workplaces . This is an obstacle that we , as a society , have to be aware of if we are to make every workplace an equal opportunity environment where people can be their authentic selves .
These are essential considerations for any modern organisation that wants to genuinely live and breathe its values . Without that cultural integrity , any commitment to equality can be quickly exposed , resulting in a whole series of risks from reputational damage to employees that look for better opportunities elsewhere .
In contrast , organisations that focus on understanding and addressing latent weaknesses , such as unconscious bias , are ideally placed to create the kind of culture that today ’ s stakeholder groups respect .
From employees and shareholders to customers , influencers and media commentators , this kind of authenticity is increasingly a must-have . x
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