Even now, in the 21st century, many people of color experience racial discrimination in the workplace. The problem is that it is usually the case of unconscious bias, which is more difficult to deal with because people are not aware of it. That means that our unconscious opinions about different races can be the reason why we hire someone, give them a promotion, or fire them. Realizing that both conscious and unconscious bias exists in the workplace is the first step, but what should we do next?
It’s important to know where your company stands currently when it comes to bias so that you can know how serious the issue is. Anonymous surveys are a good tool to use to check how your employees are feeling without putting them on the spot. Some of the things your survey should check are whether your employees feel safe to express their opinions, whether they think their work is reasonably evaluated or do they believe that bias plays a big role in the decision-making process in your company. You should also add a few questions concerning future bias-reduction programs. For example, check if your workers would be interested in joining such a program and what kind of an initiative exactly would be the best one.
Depending on your current situation, you might need one diversity training every year, or you might even need a series of diversity training programs to fully combat this issue. The primary goal is to bring awareness to the workplace and ensure that decision-making becomes more mindful. If all your employees are aware of their unconscious bias and keep it in mind when they make decisions, they are less likely to act on them. If you find this difficult and believe you are not experienced enough to give this kind of training, you can partner with a bias training provider.
Change your business procedures
You might need to change some of your business procedures or include new ones that help reduce bias. For example, you can interview a more diverse group of candidates for each job position, which can increase the recruitment of underrepresented groups. You can also create an environment where individuals from different specialties come together as equals, or maybe make personnel decisions accountable. One way to do this is to build a task force that is going to make sure that every personnel decision is backed with data and has a valid explanation.
The last thing to note is that you need to start small and set actionable goals. You can use follow-up surveys to check whether the situation is changing and whether your strategy is having the desired effect.