I overheard a conversation on a train last week. It went something like this...
Person 1 - Did you see Bodyguard last week? It was amazing, I was gripped. But what about the big reveal at the end. I wasn’t expecting that.
Person 2 - You mean that the Asian woman who we thought was the victim was actually the evil manipulative mastermind behind the terrorist bombs?
Person 1 - No, the fact that a woman was portrayed as an engineer!!
It got me thinking no matter how much we hold up the mirror to inequality and try to promote diversity, unconscious bias is always lurking to trip us up or catch us unaware.
As HR professionals, we are often seen as the PPO’s (Personal Protection Officers) of best practice in the workplace. We write policies. We guide and advise. We train and develop. But we are also human and prone to the same tendencies as every other employee.
How can we ensure that our own preferences or values don’t unduly influence our decisions? How can we counter what is already programmed into our brain and thoughts?
In the workplace where decisions and bias can affect recruitment, employee development or team effectiveness, we need to strive to promote our own ‘counter intelligence’. So, what can we do? Here some ideas to bear in mind...
TV can be a wonderful medium for highlighting issues, but a woman as an engineer?! Whatever next? A female doctor?!
You may be interested in Andrew’s previous blog about what another TV drama tells us about conflict.
Or another of our blogs on Unconscious Bias and how to mitigate its effects.
For more information on how we can help your organisation become more aware of how bias can play out at work and how to overcome its effects please call us on 01903 732 782 or email us firstname.lastname@example.org.
As part of the Focal Point Training team, I draw on my extensive HR experience of providing specialist input on all aspects of employee relations, change management and organisational development. When I am not training or coaching, you will find me taking my cocker spaniel for country walks, in the kitchen cooking (making a mess as my wife describes it) or attending a local pub quiz. https://uk.linkedin.com/in/andrewrundle