“Beliefs and the feelings we have about social groups…can influence our decision making and our actions, even when we’re not aware of it.” – Eberhardt, 2019.
For as long as our predisposition to favour people similar to ourselves is unaddressed, discrimination is likely to exist covertly (and sometimes overtly). We’ve provided our suggestions on speaking up, making a difference, and taking action:
- Lead with diversity – if your Board isn’t representative of the culture you’re trying to create, do something about it? Consider positively discriminating in favour of candidates who offer a more diverse outlook (see previous update).
- Be aware of your limitations – consider equality and diversity champions (who have clout). However fair and diverse your outlook, you’re likely to unconsciously favour individuals similar to yourself. That means that when investigating a harassment, grievance, or a complaint of discrimination, through no fault of your own, your empathy and understanding of a situation may be lacking and one-sided. A team of diverse leaders who are responsible for calibrating and approving your approach (or investigating the issues themselves) should bring balance and better decision-making.
- Ask the audience – an inclusion and diversity team of interested individuals should support you to identify opportunities and challenges to diversity across the business.
- Cut out the cover ups – we’ve all seen scenarios where a manager allows the best sales person to push the boundaries of what is acceptable (or even go beyond them). A zero tolerance approach to harassment and discrimination, whilst in the short-term may give rise to a flurry of complaints and grievances, should eventually create a culture of fairness and respect with fewer hours spent managing complaints and recruiting replacements.
- Consider confidentiality – if you’re proud of your diverse approach, and have done all of some of the above, is there a need for a provision within your settlement agreements asking the individual to keep confidential the circumstances leading to their exit? A bold approach but one worth a conversation?
These decisions and conversations are certainly challenging. Securing the right support and advice is key to achieving the right outcome, while minimising risk. We can support your with an unlimited advice resource to help with these challenges – click here to find out how.