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  • Writer's pictureCaroline Smith

Removing Bias In The Workplace

Incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) into your business model goes far beyond social responsibility. A diversified team makes a business more successful, and data shows this more clearly than anything else. In spite of efforts to make workplaces more diverse and inclusive, statistics still show that there is a long way to go.

A photo with many diverse audiences.
Embracing Equality: Clearing the Path to Bias-Free Workplaces.

Only 27% of executives in a McKinsey report believe their companies have successfully leaned into a culture of diversity and inclusion. Yet a report from Deloitte found employee engagement was up by 101% when there was a combination of diversity and inclusion found within the workplace. In diverse and inclusive work environments, engagement increases, and data shows diverse teams can make better business decisions twice as fast as those without diversity (based on a white paper by Cloverpop). The positive impacts don’t stop there, according to a report by Harvard Business Review, a diversified company is 70% more likely to capture a new market.

Female leader
Caroline Smith, Senior Director Performance.

It is impossible to ignore these statistics, especially when I am one. Women leaders are 2x as likely as men leaders to spend substantial time on DEI work according to McKinsey’s recent report on Women in The Workplace. These statistics cannot be ignored. I’ve made conscious efforts to ensure women, people of color, and other marginalized groups are given a platform to share their unique perspectives and ideas. Diversity of thought leads to stronger teams and better outcomes, which is why I strive to create an environment where everyone feels respected and can contribute, and more importantly that their voices are elevated. In my previous role, I was nominated to participate in a program where agency leaders across the globe joined a round table discussion and training on DE&I in the workplace. In this opportunity, I was privileged to learn from other global leaders about their unique perspectives. Collectively we discussed how to be allies and how to use our platform to create a more equitable workplace. Through this program, I learned the importance of DE&I and the need for active change. I worked with an accountability buddy and shared initiatives I worked on or had plans for in my local market.

One of the key projects included a proud partnership with our HR department to engage and motivate employees to complete DE&I courses specific to removing biases in the workplace. We all love a bit of trivia, so I popped into a company all-team meeting with a spruced-up PowerPoint with questions (little did they know it was part of the training). The company engaged via the chat box with their answers (dare I say some memes, gifs, and emojis made an appearance as well). The activity resulted in more than triple the completion rate which was outstanding. Along the way, we made change happen as more team members took time to upskill and learn about bias and how to mitigate it in the workplace - from hiring to team deliverables.

So what is bias, really? And how does it relate to the workplace and decisions within the workplace? Well, bias is when people are treated unfairly due to things out of their control, like their race, gender, age, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or any other kind of characteristic that is part of their identity. Forms of bias in the workplace might include discrimination in recruitment, job advancement decisions, microaggressions and even harassment because of one’s identity. In a report by McKinsey, it was found that 1 in 4 women think their gender impacts their opportunity to earn a raise, promotion or chance to move up. It's essential for everyone in the workforce to be aware of these biases and how to identify them so that together we can foster an atmosphere that encourages fairness and equality.

How about a pulse check?

[True or False]: By asking the same interview questions to all candidates, you increase the probability that unconscious bias will play a role in the questions you ask (answer at the end of the blog).

Here are some tips for removing bias in the workplace:

  • Mentor and train people who are not like you

  • Provide opportunities for people who are typically overlooked or excluded

  • Ask candidates to complete skills assessments. This is an effective predictor of future job performance.

From my experience, increased focus on DE&I initiatives improved relationships with my team, as well as across the organization. This is because of the wonderful commitment to building a more equitable workplace, where everyone from all backgrounds has a voice that matters. I’m proud of this experience and am excited to foster a culture that values and respects all individuals at Ace Digital Group.

The answer to the above trivia question is FALSE.

By actively addressing biases and fostering a culture of equality, we create a workplace where everyone thrives. Let's continue our journey toward a more diverse, inclusive, and successful future. Join us in the pursuit of a more equitable workplace. Curious about our DE&I efforts, feel free to contact the team at Ace Digital Group to learn more.

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