Don't put healthy fish in troubled water
More and more companies see a more diverse workforce as a key driver in accelerating their strategy. However, when people enter an organisation with a well-established organisational culture they are often faced with unconscious bias.
#unconsciousbias refers to a person's attitude or beliefs about others that happen without the person being aware of it. These biases are based on our experiences, preferences, education and upbringing. They make us who we are affect how we think of things. Does that make us bad? No, it is actually very human! However, it does become problematic when we start treating groups of people as less favorable.
Some undesirable consequences of unconscious bias in the workplace include:
➡️ Unjust advantages for some, unfair disadvantages for others
➡️ Less creativity and #innovation
➡️ Low morale, low productivity and high turnover for those who suspect they are on the receiving end of negative biases
➡️ Negative impact on internal and external #reputation
➡️ Greater likelihood of discrimination complaints, potentially leading to legal costs and penalties
But just bringing in a diverse workforce is not enough. Changes to the internal environment are also required.
Let’s draw a parallel with successful fish keeping. For all the fish enthusiasts out here, the following should not come as a surprise: good water quality and sufficient maintenance are key success factors. Putting new fish in old, troubled water can lead to sick fish and even worse. Therefore, you need to clean the water tank first so the environment is a healthy one.
The same applies to organisations. They should first ensure a healthy environment with the right conditions. We see an inclusive culture, where everyone can bring his own self to work without fear of repercussion, as a healthy organisational environment. Providing resources to employees that can raise awareness of unconscious biases and recognizing that these biases should be eliminated and prevented from entering the workplace, is a great example of working towards a more inclusive culture.
At PREDIXA, we can provide insight in your organisation’s inclusive culture score and help you in your journey. Do you want to know how? Please reach out to Paula Newby or Kirsten Westholter.