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Stir the Melting Pot: Reduce Your Unconscious Bias in the Workplace

By: Maaheem "Mak" Akhtar

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Stir the Melting Pot: Reduce Your Unconscious Bias in the Workplace

As the world gets smaller and more interconnected, diversity and inclusion have become an extremely important topic in the workplace. Especially with the news lately of some big companies coming under fire for discriminatory practices. Clearly, something needs to change.

One of the main reasons for the lack of workplace diversity and inclusion is known as unconscious bias. It’s the unintentional assumption that influence people’s actions and behaviors in ways that can stifle the inclusion of others. Over 150 different types of biases exist! And a whopping 63% of our webcast attendees believe that unconscious bias is either “quite noticeable” or “extremely prevalent” in their organization. Sadly, it’s true. No one can be 100% free of unconscious bias due to human beings’ natural tendency to categorize and labels things, situations and people. So why bother tackling it if you can’t really cure it entirely?

Well, when left ignored unconscious bias can be more harmful to business than most companies realize. It can impact all levels of an organization, such as:

  • Attracting and recruiting talent

  • Pulling together teams (e.g., for pitches)

  • In promotions and succession planning

  • In senior leadership representation

Where do you think unconscious bias might be impacting your company?

Fortunately, HR champions like Marie-Claire Barker, MEC’s Global Chief Talent Officer are tackling the issue of unconscious bias actively by setting up successful systems within companies. MEC has a fantastic program to help employees reduce their biases. The very first step to reducing it is self-awareness. Mindfulness can effectively kill two birds with one stone (figuratively, of course) by improving self-awareness and reducing unconscious bias.

 

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