Unconscious bias is still very much in the news. Earlier this month, Julia Gillard, the former Australian prime minister, spoke about the challenges she faced — and witnessed — on her way to the top. It’s a sobering thought to consider that at our current rate of progress, it could take more than two centuries to achieve gender parity in the workplace.
Humans are hardwired to make quick decisions — when staring into the jaws of a hungry crocodile, it pays to act first and think later. However, we inhabit a very different world from that of our ancestors. Following our gut instincts in recruitment, far from saving the day, can lead to poor decisions:
Unconscious bias is something that’s really difficult to overcome, though — it’s not something we are used to regulating, because it happens automatically. We often see the consequences in Twitter battles where people can interpret issues in completely different ways, and posters are ‘flamed’ for a seemingly innocent remark. This article about the ladder of inference — conceived by the business theorist Chris Argyris — sums up the issue quite neatly.
And it’s tough to be told you’re harbouring prejudices. That’s why anti-bias classes and workshops may not be effective in isolation, according to MasterCard’s chief inclusion officer, Randall Tucker.
At Connor, we advocate a multi-pronged approach to tackling the problem, and you can apply parts of it to everyone in the organisation, not just managers and HR, and not just individuals considered to have a problem. After all, prejudice isn’t only encountered at the recruitment stage, and it can blight lives and careers:
At Connor, we specialise in always finding the right candidate for the role, regardless of gender, sexuality, ethnicity or disability. Not only do we have a great team of recruiters on the case, but we’re also up to speed with the latest technology — we know what works, and what doesn’t.
If you’d like to know more, give us a call on +44 (0)1491 414010.