Unconscious bias part 2: Why does it matter?
Besides the obvious reasons of wanting to be a good human being who helps create a better and more equal world, a world where everyone feels included and represented, it also happens to be important for business longevity and sustainability.
An equal world is better for everyone, both individuals and businesses.
Diversity is good for business
To put it bluntly: a lack of diversity is damaging for your business. You might find it difficult to attract and retain the right talent, as perceived biases make people leave their jobs, leading to a high turnover of staff. You might also alienate potential clients and customers if your business doesn’t reflect them – the world is diverse, so your business should be too.
Diversity & Inclusion isn’t a business strategy to attract and maintain talent. Having different perspectives in a team will greatly improve your decision making and make you more competitive.
Diverse teams outperform homogenous teams by miles. According to a Gartner report, 75% of organisations that have a diverse workforce will exceed their financial targets in 2022. Also, according to a report by Deloitte, diverse teams are 20% more innovative than non-diverse teams, and by having different perspectives and experiences in a team you can identify and reduce risk by 30%.
The role of unconscious bias in your diversity work
So where does unconscious bias fit into all of this? Well, if you’re serious about working with diversity, you need to be aware of unconscious bias – your subconscious preferences that might influence your actions.
These biases can have a negative impact on the hiring process when you’re considering different candidates, in the workplace when you might treat employees differently, or when you’re considering promotions.
Diversity & Inclusion is basically the opposite of bias. Unconscious bias is judging people subconsciously, based on characteristics like ethnicity, gender, age, religion, disability, and sexual orientation. And at the other end of the spectrum, diversity and inclusion is about empowering people by respecting and appreciating those characteristics.
Unconscious bias will prevent you from making good, objective decisions when it comes to hiring and promoting the best person for the job. And this will be detrimental for business.
In the next part of this series, we’ll dive into some of the most common types of unconscious bias and how to avoid them.