Companies such as Google, Amazon, and Facebook are increasingly participating in unconscious bias training programs to support diversity and inclusion. Over the past few decades, almost all Fortune 500 organizations have followed suit in the hope of promoting equality as a company culture.
The objective is to increase people’s awareness of their unconscious biases and enable them to eliminate these prejudices for a healthy work environment.
But why do companies still experience inequities in today’s workforce, even after expending resources, efforts, and valuable time? It is because most of the programs are designed to create awareness only, with little to no practical approach. The pioneers in the industry not only help identify biases but also help in devising policies to combat workplace inequities and stereotypes.
This is when systematic and structural issues (SSI) come into account. These issues manifest and allow biases to perpetuate in the workplace—the SSIs deal with favorable behaviors, unfair policies, and access to opportunities and career growth.
Although it is important to identify blind spots and stereotypes, diversity and inclusion training workshops at Symmetra advance addressing SSIs to impact the decision making processes of a company. Here, we will discuss a few core SSIs that organizations can deconstruct through diversity training for an inclusive and impartial workspace:
Hostile Work Environment
If organizational policies and C-tier work ethics foster structural oppression by ignoring counterproductive behaviors and microaggressions, it creates a hostile work environment for employees.
When prejudicial treatment is widespread in an organization with en masse complaints it’s time to take concrete actions through training programs combined with revised policies. This will help organizations prevent the likelihood of such instances in the future.
People often prefer others who are similar to themselves in some way. This can be highly problematic in work cultures as it widens the gap of inequality and favoritism. This results in increased occurrences of racism, stereotyping, marginalization of groups that differ from the majority group.
Through diversity training, we become aware of our unconscious bias. Nonetheless, we need systematic and structured policies pertaining to objective recruitment, promotions, and appraisals. If groups of individuals assess employee performance or candidate applications this helps to counteract affinity or similar-to-me biases.
A recent article by CNBC highlights the importance of professional networking in securing jobs. It concludes that around 80% of candidates are obtained by leveraging your network.
Did you know our networking can further drive inequality? From the area you’re born in, the schools you attend, your first job, and every other social interaction- these all play a role in your ability to network.
As more individuals get positions based on their networking skills, the social and racial disparity widens. Moreover, employees have firsthand knowledge of a vacancy and the skills required for a position. Thus they are able to make references. To counteract the impact of potential biases organizations must evaluate candidates through a blind system that doesn’t share information relating to their network and origin.