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6 Ways to Push Back Against Unconscious Bias

on Aug 25, 2022 9:00:00 AM By | Deanna Singh | 1 Comment | Diversity Race Fear Bias
Our brains have evolved over thousands of years to take mental shortcuts. We are capable of processing about 11 million pieces of information per second, but only 40 pieces of information is processed consciously (while the vast majority happens subconsciously). Because of these neuro-shortcuts, when we meet new people, we tend to automatically make snap judgments about them. Years ago, this was a safety mechanism. Our brain’s amygdala, which controls our fight or flight reflex, would give a signal to run/react/fight in the face of the unknown. Today, that animal impulse still lingers in the form of unconscious bias. Obviously, the human race has come a long way over the past couple thousand years, but that has only complicated unconscious bias, not eliminated it. Now, instead of fearing unknown entities, we might instead believe social narratives about certain groups of people. According to Renee Navarro, Vice Chancellor of Diversity and Outreach at UCSF, “Everyone holds unconscious beliefs about various social and identity groups, and these biases stem from one's tendency to organize social worlds by categorizing.” Categorizing. Mental shortcuts. Unconscious processing. While these cognitive tendencies might occur instinctively, that doesn’t give anyone a free pass to hold onto their biases. It is our collective responsibility to acknowledge unconscious bias and work to change the narrative (both in society and within our own heads). Start with these 6 steps...
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Your DEI-Centered Business Plan

on Feb 2, 2022 4:00:00 PM By | Deanna Singh | 0 Comments | Diversity Hiring Race Business
Last week, we discussed the need for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), why it matters, and how companies can begin to center themselves around DEI. This week, we’re going to dig into one particular aspect of DEI: creating a DEI-focused business plan. No matter if you’re a one-person shop or working in a Fortune 500 company, it is crucial to have a business plan that reflects your company’s values, ethics, and mission. Words matter. Remember that old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”? That was a convenient lie for anyone who wanted to insult or belittle others without consequences! But the truth is, words can have a profound impact. When you’re creating or reworking your business plan, consider the language imbedded in it. Ask yourself:   Is it inclusive?   Will it attract a more vibrant and diverse workforce?   Does it reflect a genuine desire to support DEI work?   Does it put people before profits? In addition to examining the language of your organization’s business plan, it’s a good idea to go through each section and rework them to reflect the company you want to become. Change starts from the top, down, and from the inside, out. A business plan is as “inside” as it gets. It is the core of the organization and should reflect its integral values and moral standards. To center your company around DEI, try reworking the following sections of your business plan:
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Why Care About DEI in the Workplace?

on Jan 26, 2022 5:00:00 PM By | Deanna Singh | 0 Comments | Diversity Hiring Race Business
Today, the U.S. is having a moment of reckoning in terms of discrimination towards racial and ethnic groups, women, the LGBTQ+ community, and those with disabilities. In a recent survey from Monmouth University, 76% of respondents said racial discrimination is a big problem. Compared to 2015, that’s a 25-point jump! The recent “Me Too” movement has shed light on discrimination and harassment toward women (with studies showing that nearly half of all women face major workplace discrimination). And 46% of LGBTQ+ workers have dealt with discrimination in the workplace, while a staggering 82% of Americans with disabilities are unemployed (as of 2020). These statistics are troubling, and point to an urgent need for proactive reform and leadership centered around Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). Creating a welcoming workplace is the right thing to do from not only an ethical and moral standpoint, but also from an economic standpoint. According to Harvard Business Review, “Diverse and inclusive companies find and nurture the best talent, increase employee engagement, and improve customer willingness to buy.” A diverse, equitable, and inclusive workforce is a satisfied and industrious workforce. It should come as no surprise that if a company nurtures and protects its employees, that company will experience higher retention rates and greater productivity. A company’s attitude toward DEI can be conveyed right away, during recruitment, interviewing, and hiring and, unfortunately, intrinsic bias is often baked into the hiring process. For instance, applicants with “Black-sounding” names get fewer callbacks than applicants with “white-sounding” names. And Latino applicants are 24 percent less likely to land an interview than white candidates. To combat bias, organizations can take conscious steps to equalize their hiring process, such as: Diversifying their recruitment/hiring team Actively recruiting candidates from colleges with high student diversity Having a strict “no nepotism” policy Publishing recruitment materials that use inclusive language Actively seeking candidates that add to the company culture, rather than those who look/act/think like everyone else Making sure all members of the recruitment/hiring team receive ongoing DEI training (consider enrolling in my “How to Be an Ally” virtual summit in March!) The hiring process is, of course, only one piece of the puzzle. Beyond that, it is crucial to emphasize DEI at every level—from the leadership, down—and to make it a cornerstone of the company’s business plan (more on that next week!). Without this DEI focus, diverse employees are more likely to be marginalized and undervalued and, ultimately, more likely to leave. According to a recent report, over one-third of Black employees plan to leave their companies within two years (a number 30 percent greater than their white counterparts), and 33 percent do not feel respected or valued. I could throw more statistics at you, but this really boils down to common sense: If people feel comfortable, respected, and included in their place of employment, they will want to stay and make meaningful contributions. Imagine signing up for an intramural basketball team. You’re shorter than average, so your teammates assume you’re no good and never allow you a chance to play (even though you’re secretly quick as lightning and can nail almost every three-point shot!). How long would you want to stay on that team? This same basic premise plays out all the time in the workplace. Far too often, people make snap judgments about others’ capabilities based on who they are or how they look. How can we do better? Though there is no magic, one-size-fits-all solution for creating an equitable workplace, there are several steps companies can take:
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How to talk to your kids about race

on Feb 5, 2019 9:45:00 AM By | Deanna Singh | 0 Comments | Skills Family Children Wisdom Race
With such negative rhetoric swirling around our communities, our news outlets, our social media pages, it is difficult to find ways to approach the topic of race in a positive light, especially with our children who are particularly susceptible to this negativity.
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