Addressing Unconscious Bias in the Workplace
Every talent development team can tell you. Attracting quality candidates and attracting ethnically and gender diverse candidates not only strengthens an employer it results in creating an authentic and truly representative workforce.
At HealthEdge, our goal is to create a culture where employees feel comfortable and proud to bring their whole, authentic selves to work. However, we know that with a workforce spanning a range of social identities —gender, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, age, and more —not everyone experiences the same levels of comfort and openness.
HealthEdge has embarked on a focused journey to address building a global workforce where diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) are at the forefront.
As part of our Black History Month kick-off, we launched a new speaker series inviting HealthEdge team members, around the globe, to listen to an engaging presentation by Cindy Joseph, Founder and CEO of The Cee Suite, addressing unconscious bias.
As humans, we all carry biases; they help us navigate the world as we face millions of pieces of information at any given moment. Our brains create these biases like shortcuts to help us process our environment. By their nature biases are often subconscious and unintentional. The danger is that these biases are persuasive and encourage us to make assumptions without us even knowing that it's happening. If left unchecked, our biases can cause errors in our decision-making that significantly impact those around us.
Many of us found ourselves last year asking, "what can I do to make a difference?" At HealthEdge, we offer a series of opportunities to learn and grow and to explore the dialogue of DE&I in a safe space. We all agree that our work culture is where we can exert the greatest amount of impact.
And that is why we are strengthening our employee-driven, I Belong HealthEdge (IBelongHE) committee, with monthly presentations, welcoming all voices to the table. HealthEdge has taken every effort to ensure that we learn from our past and grow into our future. The initiatives that we are committed to extend beyond window dressing. As a company, we committed to the MassTLC Compact for Social Justice. Our work on rooting out racial inequity was spotlighted in the Boston Globe’s Top Place to Work.
As Ms. Joseph said, "you cannot recruit your way out of diversity challenges; it goes beyond representation." This is why we are focusing not just on recruiting but also on community, training, and communication. We believe this multi-prong approach will help us create an organization where people of all backgrounds and social identities feel a sense of belonging and have the opportunities to do their best and succeed.
While there is no quick fix to this work, HealthEdge is committed to taking concrete steps to facilitate change and making strides to improve every day. Understanding and addressing biases will help us become more inclusive and dynamic as a community and create a better and more equitable work environment.
About the Author
Laura is an accomplished human resources professional. Her mission at the company is to deliver innovative solutions to recruit, engage, develop and retain top talent. Prior to joining HealthEdge, Laura worked at Harvard University and Dartmouth College, where she served a diverse group of stakeholders with full employee life-cycle guidance and management of human resource functions. Laura is a Society for Human Resources Management – Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP). She also holds a B.A. in Business Administration and Human Resources from Saint Anselm College and a Masters in Liberal Arts (ALM) from Harvard University Extension School.