Why Unconscious Bias? by Farrah Qureshi, CEO, Global Diversity Practice

Most of us believe that we are unbiased.  We believe that we always make valid and carefully considered decisions that benefit all, don’t have prejudice opinions and that we remain ethical in all our actions.

However, even the most open minded person has unconscious bias and is affected by social factors such as their upbringing, background and personal experiences.

Unconscious Bias occurs when a person’s brain makes a judgment or assumption about someone or something, without them realising. The result can be harmless, but most of the time, it can produce a negative reaction to the person on the receiving end of the bias.

The need to acknowledge unconscious bias within the workplace became magnified in 2014 after Google released shocking diversity workforce numbers, revealing that it had struggled to recruit female and ethnic minority workers. The numbers proved that things needed to improve and provided an incentive for big corporates and small businesses to look internally and access their own protocols.

In the present, unconscious bias has a very necessary place of importance in HR protocols for businesses, in order to offer jobs to a diverse mix of people, based not on their race or gender, but solely on their skills and experience. Regardless of good intention, unconscious biases will remain unless an individual makes a conscious effort to change their perceptions and opinion through training.  In order for these sessions to be worthwhile, unconscious bias workshops must encourage participants to take action and adopt new strategies.

This year at the bi-annual Business Show, Farrah Qureshi, a successful entrepreneur who is recognised as one of the foremost experts on Global Diversity and Inclusion Consultancy, will be delivering an in-depth workshop on Unconscious Bias. Farrah has over 25 years’ experience in D&I and has worked extensively with clients at board, CEO and Leadership level in over 140 countries. As the CEO of Global Diversity Practice, Farrah constantly works to promote an understanding of unconscious bias in order to mend potentially damaging beliefs and introduce a fairer and effective way for corporates to meet their diversity goals, provide more opportunity and develop sustainable strategies for change.

Farrah Qureshi on Unconscious Bias

Why unconscious Bias?

The topic of Unconscious Bias is one of the most interesting conversations and considerations on the minds of corporate leaders and companies in the 21st century. The bias itself is a natural response however its consequences and implications can reach far and wide if we do not raise awareness and then attempt to reduce its impact especially if that bias promotes exclusion. But, there could be a misconception of what unconscious bias is, and what prompts diversity and inclusion training. The true reality is that, aside from focussing on gender, race, religion, disability, age or sexual orientation, the effects of unconscious bias on businesses can be reflected in recruitment, work allocation, performance management and employee relations.

 

Some of the critical questions to reflect on would be:

 

  • Could we be inadvertently missing out on attracting, promoting the best talent?
  • Do we have individual and corporate blind spots that show that we are missing out on tapping into the full potential of our human capital and the marketplace?
  • Are we hiring in our image and encouraging groupthink?
  • By reducing our Bias, how can we improve our customer orientation employee satisfaction and enhance our decision making so we can achieve a return on our investment?

These are some of the questions this session will address and raise. It is through these queries that we can realise what unconscious bias is and how we can recognise it in ourselves.

Additionally, the session will demystify the nature of bias, how we recognise it in ourselves, its impact on individual and group attitudes, behaviours and decision-making processes. Other topics will include:

  • Understanding the business imperative for Diversity and inclusion
  • Raising awareness of tips and techniques to mitigate and manage bias and most of all;
  • Be inspired to practice Inclusive Leadership.

To attend Farrah’s workshop, please register for the Business Show here.

For more information about Farrah Qureshi and Global Diversity Practice, visit the GDP website: