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SHRM board member David Windley discusses how unconscious bias can derail workplace diversity efforts.
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Audio: Howard Ross on the stumbling blocks to diversity.
Diversity consultant Howard Ross and his team have worked with clients in several dozen countries to get at the heart of what causes workplace bias. He found that people are suffering from a kind of diversity fatigue that comes from the typical “find them and fix them” training aimed only at people in a dominant group.
Ross encourages everyone to examine their assumptions. “Bias is as natural to human beings as breathing,” he says. “And that gives us a new way to look at working with people.” His work on unconscious bias—the prejudices that people don’t even know they harbor—is resonating at many large global companies.
Many people are genuinely committed to change and frustrated when they don’t see results. But good intentions may be distinct to the behavior we engage in. All of us may be unaware of what’s dictating our decisions.
When reviewing resumes, ask yourself “What do you notice about the resume? Is the person similar to you? Does she remind you of someone else? What does that have to do with the job?”
We know we’ve had an impact by the increased number of women and minorities in top positions among our clients and the higher level of comfort we’re seeing people have in engaging in diversity conversations. We’ve removed the stigma and created a language to talk about it
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