Whether we realize it or not, every one of us carries preconceptions and even biases about the world around us.
We like to think that we’re not biased against any person or group, but in truth, our actions and opinions are influenced by many factors we may not always be aware of.
In the workplace, it’s vital for leaders to address biases—both in themselves and in the larger organization. Harassment scandals have engulfed companies in recent years, and the damage to recruitment and employee retention, not to mention sales or profitability, can be permanent for a company that permits a hostile workplace culture or doesn’t value inclusiveness.
What can leaders do to ensure their organization addresses bias head on and creates an inclusive environment? Here are three steps to begin the process:
Emphasizing diverse leadership also increases a company’s “empathy quotient” —in fact, over two-thirds of employees we surveyed in our 2018 State of Workplace Empathy study agreed that diversity in leadership results in more empathetic organizations. With 9 in 10 employees reporting they’re more likely to stay with an empathetic employer, it’s imperative that companies increase their focus on empathy and inclusiveness in leadership positions to foster a more diverse set of opinions, communication preferences, and leadership methods.
Overcoming bias isn’t a one-time effort—it takes continual reflection and sustained momentum to recognize and overcome ingrained attitudes and behaviors. But, it’s more important than ever for organizations to create inclusive, welcoming workplaces for all employees, and when leaders show their commitment, it inspires all levels of their organization.