In my last blog post, I introduced you to unconscious bias. This time let's take a closer look at its impact in the workplace.
As I discussed in the last post, we all have biases. And these biases can't be parked at the door when we come to work. They impact our interactions with clients as well as co-workers, subordinates, and leaders. As a result, unconscious biases impact the success of individuals throughout their careers. For equity-seeking groups (i.e., women, racialized and Aboriginal employees, persons with disabilities, newcomers, LGBTQ) the result is lower pay, higher rates of under-employment and higher unemployment even when they have the same levels of education.
Over the past decade, research into unconscious bias has impacted our understanding of workplace equity, diversity and inclusion programs. This research has helped us understand the extent to which unconscious biases permeate society and contribute to the challenges organizations face in achieving workplace equity, diversity and inclusion. Unconscious biases also impact the design and delivery of appropriate services to a diverse population that supports equitable outcomes for all service users.
The research shows that in order to create more inclusive organizations, while it is important to change structures (e.g., policies, practices), it is also important for employees to reflect on their own biases and how they impact interactions with colleagues and clients.
We ask parents to make decisions to vaccinate their children based on the evidence.
We ask politicians to examine the scientific evidence when drawing conclusions about climate change.
Researchers call for the return of the long-form census so that communities throughout Canada can make evidence-based decisions about developing and delivering services to residents. The argument is that "Good Decisions Need Good Numbers."
Yet, when the issue is equity in employment, the same argument isn't given the same attention.