Diversity and Inclusion – Course Content

Module 1: An Introduction to Diversity & Inclusion in the Workplace

Lesson 01: Pre-Course Test

Before we begin, here’s a chance to test yourself on how familiar you already are with Diversity and Inclusion. All the best!

  1. What reasons do you think are the most common for firms choosing to encourage D&I? Pick three responses from the following list.
  2. Diversity is an obligation for companies
  3. Diversity is a source of high performance
  4. Diversity is a source for innovation
  5. We need to promote Diversity to meet legal requirements
  6. Firms have a social responsibility to promote diversity
  7. Diversity makes the working world better by encouraging collaboration and strengthening relationships
  8. Firms need a workforce that reflects the diversity of the customer base

 

Lesson 02: Lesson Name

Narrator: Welcome to our course on Diversity & Inclusion in the workplace.

We’ll begin by asking the obvious question, what is Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace? To make the answer more interesting, I’ll rephrase the question a bit: what’s a workplace like without Diversity and Inclusion?

In response, here are some real-world scenarios that you or someone you know may have experienced, seen or heard of at the workplace.

 

[Scenario/ Role-Play 1 – Recruiting]

A young woman of North-East Indian descent is sitting for an interview for a new role in the company she works for.

Interviewer: Good afternoon, Dalanglin Dkk… how is your last name pronounced?

Interviewee: It’s Dalanglin Dkhaar.

Interviewer: I see. Ok. [sighs, checks his data sheet] From editing you want to switch to sports production. Do you have any background on the subject? You don’t strike me as the sporty type, if you’ll pardon my saying [grins to soften the judgement]

Interviewee: I’ve been editing sports videos for the desk for five years now. I’m an avid sports buff. I’ve regularly assisted on shoots with producers and my work has been recognised by the editor-in-chief.

Interviewer [patronisingly]: Yes, but this job is for a producer and requires you to have a wider knowledge. You know, across different types of sports. A national outlook. You’ll be working with seasoned sports reporters across India. It’s really important that you’re a good culture fit. Do you think you have it in you? Oh, and… how fluent are you in Hindi?

Interviewee [face falls] internal monologue:  Oh God, the interview is going so badly. I don’t think I’ll get the job because of my ethnic background. Nothing I ever do makes a difference.

 

[Scenario 2 – Representation and team dynamics]

A senior management (Board) meeting is on, in which only one board member is a woman. She is making an official announcement.

Woman Board member: “I’m really thrilled to announce that next week we are adding an incredible leader to our board, who also happens to be a woman – Ms Fatima Ali. She has had an illustrious career and I’m sure we all will love to get to know her. With her coming in I’m happy to announce that the participation of women in the board will have jumped from 15% to 25%.”

[Board members clap].

Woman Board member: “And there is a lot of data that shows when there’s one woman on the board, it’s much more likely that there will be a second woman on the board.”

Male Board member (pipes up): “Actually. what it shows is it’s much likely to be more talking.” [grins at his own joke, prompting some other men to laugh as well.]

Woman Board Member [looks aghast but quickly recovers and responds laughingly]: “Oh come on Nalin…ha-ha…[Internal monologue]: “I can’t believe he made that sexist comment, and people found it funny. I can’t wait to leave this place.”

 

[Scenario 3 –  Work policy]

A team is at work at their respective desks. The clock strikes 6 pm, prompting one woman in her 30s to start preparing to leave. As she is wrapping up, two younger women talk amongst themselves.

Girl 1: “There she goes again. Miss swipe in and swipe out.” [giggles spitefully]

Girl 2: “I can’t believe she’s allowed to get away with leaving dot at 6. While we slog till 10 pm. Just because she popped a baby. If I was paid as much as she is, I’d hire a baby to get time off! “[laughs with her friend]

Woman: Her face falls showing that she’s heard their conversation. But she calls out, “See you tomorrow, guys!”

Walks away, privately devastated.

Woman [Internal monologue]: “I feel like a freak in the team. I just can’t fit in *

 

. I’m a liability. I want to give in my papers.”

[Scenario 4 – Assignment of work]

Two team leaders are sitting together mulling over who to assign which task in the team that reports to them.

Leader 1: “What do you think of Ramesh. He’s been with us for seven years and is a seasoned hand.”

Leader 2: “Yeah, but this job has a high-tech component. Do you really think he’d be the best choice? Better to choose from the younger lot. They’re more tech-savvy.”

*

Leader 1: “Oh, I know. There’s this newbie. She helped with my computer the other day. I’m sure she’d do an amazing job!”

Leader 2 comes out of the cabin straight to the newbie: “Congrats, Diya, you tech freak! You’ll be handling coordination with the IT team for the event. All the best!”

Newbie looks delighted,

Ramesh internal monologue: “I don’t understand why I didn’t get the task. I have years more experience and I’m good at technology too. Am I being sidelined simply because of my age?”

Narrator: These [let’s clarify the antecedent. Something along the lines of, “the incidents we’ve viewed so far in this module…”] are all situations in which unintentional bias, or prejudice against a person or a group, plays out in the workplace *.These actions have a negative impact on the individual and the work environment, the workforce, company culture, and finally, on the company’s performance.

And here is where Diversity & Inclusion comes in [make the language conversational but less colloquial]: A diverse and inclusive workplace is one that makes everyone, regardless of who they are or what they do for [would ‘in’ be more appropriate here, considering we are discussing roles people play within an organisation?] the business [organisation?], feel equally involved in and supported in all areas of the workplace.

The “all areas” part is important [Can we make this sentence less colloquial while retaining a conversational tone? Something like ‘”all areas” being the key operative here’.]

In the next lesson, we’ll examine the two inter-connected concepts in more detail and look at why Diversity & Inclusion, or D&I in short, has been making waves [considering this idiom’s meaning, could a better phrase be “gaining increasing attention”?] in the world of work.

 

Module 2: Understanding Diversity and Inclusion

As we saw in the previous lesson [considering this is a standalone module, we allude to a previous module and not a previous lesson], bias in the workplace can be a disturbing experience, which is why organisations, including leaders and individuals, must take steps to create a healthier, diverse and more inclusive corporate culture.

Doing this helps companies make better decisions, capture great [diverse?] ideas— and, in fact, according to some recent research – also do better business [Do we mean to say ‘perform better on various business metrics’? ‘Do better business’ could also mean entering into better a business or product line].

At the end of this module, you will understand: [use numbers, instead of bullet points. The narrator can read out the numbers]

  • The two concepts of Diversity & and Inclusion and how they are connected;
  • Why we should focus on D&I {Have we established the abbreviated form of the phrase yet? Also, if we are referring to the terms “diversity” and “inclusion” as two separate practices, here? Or, are we referring to the subject ‘Diversity and Inclusion? If the former, the we can’t use D&I], and the consequences of a non-inclusive work culture and
  • The current laws in place in India that encourage D&I

[Add a segue…]

 

Understanding Diversity

Diversity is a fact of our lives.

It can be defined as the practice of including or involving people from a range of different social and ethnic backgrounds and of different genders, sexual orientations, etc.

So many things [use conversational, but less colloquial language] contribute to an individual’s identity, making us different from each other. We need to be able to see and hear these differences to reap the benefits of Diversity.

But there’s a paradox.: Seeing and hearing differences can also make us discriminate [against?]. Preventing this [for better sentence construction, we must ensure that clarify what ‘this/ these/that/those’ refer to; like in this case, is “this” referring to ‘seeing and hearing differences’ or to ‘discriminating’?] is vital to secure the long-time success of organisations and companies.

In the coming lessons, we will discuss ways to explore and welcome Diversity [in the workplace].

Understanding Inclusion

Inclusion is about how well the contributions, presence and perspectives of different groups of people [does it need to be groups of people, or can it be a single person too?] in a company are valued and integrated into the work environment.

It can be defined as the practice of providing equal access to opportunities and resources for people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalised due to various differences. These differences could be based on gender, race, ethnicity, physical ability, sexual orientation and so on.

A work environment which that [why I made this change] contains many different groups of people, but only takes the perspectives of a select group or groups seriously, may be diverse, but it is not inclusive.

An inclusive workplace doesn’t just have a diversity of people present, it has a diversity of people involved, developed, empowered and trusted by the business.

Diversity and Inclusion are two sides of the same coin

Diversity and Inclusion are two connected concepts, but they are not interchangeable. A company can have Diversity in its ranks, but without any real Inclusion.

For instance, if you were starting a company, you might want to recruit a diverse set of people. But if you want to be truly inclusive, you need to reflect this diversity across all areas – such as in hiring, departments [what does this mean, and how is it different from hiring since we hire to staff the various departments], as well as in leadership.

A business might have a workplace where 50% of its employees are women, but 0% of these women are managers. An organisation may have employees belonging to different races, but shunt all from the same race into one department.

The diversity that lacks genuine inclusion is often called “tokenism.”

Why focus on Diversity & Inclusion?

In the brief quiz we included earlier, we revealed the three most common statements companies make about the importance of D&I. It’s obvious that companies view D&I as an important ingredient to encourage performance, creativity and understand and develop new markets.

Research

 has shown many benefits of a diverse and inclusive workplace:

  • Higher revenue growth
  • Greater readiness to innovate
  • Increased ability to recruit a diverse talent pool
  • Over 5 times higher employee retention

In fact, Inclusion in the workplace is one of the most important keys to retention.

When employees don’t feel that their ideas, presence or contributions are truly valued or taken seriously by their organisation, they will eventually leave.

Research 

shows that when employees are in an inclusive workplace they are likelier to:

  • More likely to look forward to going to work
  • More likely to have pride in their work
  • More likely to want to stay a long time at their company

The more that people, managers, teams, managers, departments, and organisations can learn to recognise and appreciate differences – the more inclusive they’ll grow to be.

They’ll discover and unlock the potential of their talent in a way that moves the business forward, and create an environment that makes people feel more engaged, energised and ready to deliver on the next challenge.

The consequences of a non-inclusive work culture

Let’s step back a bit and talk more about what happens to a workplace with NO Diversity or Inclusion. Seeing the negative impact of a “non-inclusive” workplace will really help us understand the role D&I plays to create a better work environment. We’ll use a real-world example for this purpose.

Ever heard of ‘bro-culture’ at the workplace?

In 2017, a bro-culture led environment at Uber was exposed by a former employee named Susan Fowler. Bro-culture is the perfect example of a non-inclusive workplace. A place where women have little or no respect from their peers, a place where those in the minority are either ignored or looked down upon. Here’s how bro-culture evolves.

Imagine a young CEO who had a brilliant idea [Uber was two people’s ideas], took a risk to follow his dream, and it paid off. His devil-may-care attitude gave results {colloquial language. Also, for effect, mention the quantum of results – company valuation, rides hailed per day, etc.,].

As a result, his company work culture is built around rewarding risk-taking. The most confident, daring people, the ones who’re best at socialising with colleagues and bosses [is there a linkage between Kalanick’s devil may care attitude, his focus on rewarding risk takers and the socializing? I can issues being conflated but not clear linkages], end up enjoying the attention, the praises – and the promotions. Now, you may be thinking, the CEOs is simply rewarding those that do the work [colloquial language], so what’s the problem?

[Just checking: did the parts I have highlighted in green take place at Uber? Or, is it something hypothetical?]

Now imagine a situation in that work culture where the CEO invites his teammates to meet for after-work drinks or meetings at a local pub. There will of course, be some colleagues who won’t be included. Single women may not wish to spend an evening drinking with their male colleagues. Those who don’t drink or have other commitments may also feel excluded.

[impact on individual employees]

So we have a situation where the CEO is on first-name basis with all the guys who stayed back after work with him to hit the pool table. Their bonding leads to easy jokes and camaraderie in office in the coming days. Since the CEO knows them personally, it’s easier to notice their progress. What happens to the ones who he doesn’t know that well, the ones who don’t participate in his after-work parties? The quieter employees’ work may go unnoticed. The result? The underappreciated employee may feel sad, depressed, and perhaps even resentful of their colleagues’ success.

At Uber, worse things happened. Within the first month of joining, Fowler was propositioned for sex by one of her managers. When she approached HR with a complaint, no action was taken against the offender; rather she ended up transferring being transferred to another department.

Why? Probably because in the eyes of the company, the manager fit into the relaxed bro-culture perfectly, was a “high performer” and had the “correct” do-or-die attitude towards work. The woman didn’t fit into the bro-culture and so her well-being was not seen as key to the company. His transgressions were therefore overlooked [this is speculation, not a fact. And, considering we are narrating an anecdote, this is out of place here].

Just checking: the behaviours highlighted in the paragraph below indicate a toxic culture and not one that eschewed diversity and inclusion. Am I getting this wrong?

Fowler also reportsed that there was a ‘Game of thrones political war’ raging in the upper management. Seniors were constantly trying to undermine their superiors to snatch their jobs. Business-critical information was withheld to curry favour with the right people. The result? Projects were abandoned. Team leaders were changed multiple times. No one had a clue what the priority was from one day to the next. People lived in fear that their teams would be dissolved.

And the managers? With HR looking the other way, it was a free-for-all where might was right for athe leaders. They continued their chaotic ways of functioning [if this behaviour is related to a lack of diversity or the bro-culture, then we must mention it explicitly. Chaos is often characteristic of high growth start-ups. Think Apple, Byju’s, Amazon… ], spreading their prejudice and sexism to all areas of work including performance reviews. And soon they began losing their best, most talented workers.

Many of these were people from minority ethnic backgrounds and women who preferred to switch to more inclusive, less chaotic organisations. In fact, Fowler recounts that while she was working at Uber, the percentage of women workers in her organisation dropped from 25% to 6%.

[impact on organisation]

What about the organisation? Needless to say, Uber took a huge hit in its public image once its internal problems were exposed. Six million people read Susan Fowler’s blogpost on her experiences at Uber. Her article was shared 22 thousand times on Twitter alone. A day after the post, former US attorney general Eric Holder was hired to conduct an independent review on Uber’s working environment. The results led to the resignation of Uber’s CEO.

A damaged brand image had an impact on Uber’s profitability

. After all, who would choose a service from a company with a track record of treating its employees unfairly based on gender and ethnicity {did Uber see in dip in rides as a result of Kalanick’s conduct? If yes, please quote a source and show the linkages between his behaviours and the drop in rides hailed]?

As we’ve seen, a non-inclusive workplace has far-reaching consequences – on the individual [how did it affect Kalanick?], the leadership, and the organisation.

But there’s an upside to this story: The action that Susan Fowler took to let the world know of her experiences at Uber highlighted an underlying issue that many of us were simply unaware of. Her revelations have triggered a movement [please add the name and details on this movement] that we hope will end this negative work culture once and for all.

Add a segue to the next section

The connection between psychological safety and inclusion

https://workplace.msu.edu/psychological-safety-and-dei/#:~:text=An%20important%20part%20of%20psychological,of%20their%20identity%20without%20judgment.

Why did people start leaving Uber to join organisations with more inclusive work environments? Why do people respond better to inclusive workplace policies? The answer has to do with how our minds and emotions are programmed to respond to different sorts of environments.

Add more details on the programming of our mind here. Add research from neuroscience, psychology here to bolster this point.

When we experience a workplace that has diversity, equality, and inclusion for all, we feel safe. Safety allows us to bring our full, unique selves to work. We feel free to show every part of our identity without fear of judgement – aspects like our race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, background and family status.

How does this help the organisation? The benefits of Psychological safety include:

  • More creativity and innovation
  • Increased commitment to an organisation
  • Increased communication
  • Increased engagement and sharing of knowledge, and
  • Increased openness to learning through failure. Because their failures are not held against them.

Add a conclusion – the main message – to this section and segue to the next one.

Attitudes and trends around D&I

Narrator: Diversity has been around since the beginning of civilisation. But Diversity and Inclusion as a policy has only been picked up by society recently. Which is why different generations of the workforce respond differently to issues around diversity and discrimination. [Problem: Negative attitudes towards diversity not a function of age group but of inter-connected beliefs associated with the political right, conservatism, and individualism. Do we need to at all bring this up? What is the relevance?]

To foster true diversity and inclusion, we need to understand how and why negative perceptions towards workplace diversity exist among people from different age groups, personality traits, values and abilities.

Heading: The laws pertaining to providing equal opportunities and preventing discrimination

Narrator: India is a land of diversity – with people from different races, ethnicities, religions, cultures and many other factors. The inclusion of diverse people in whatever we do as a nation, is therefore an essential part of being Indian. In this context, our Constitution has laid the groundwork for building a diverse and inclusive work environment.

The Constitution contains many provisions for an inclusive society as a whole and places of work fall within their purview. Some of these are as follows.

  • Article 14 (Equality before law)
  • Article 15 (Prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of religion, race, caste, gender or place of birth)
  • Article 16 (Equal Opportunity to all)
  • Article 19 (Protection of certain rights regarding freedom of speech, etc)
  • Article 21 (Protection of Life and personal liberty

All these articles solidify the resolve to incorporate Diversity and Inclusion as a fundamental condition for nation building as they are based on human values and mutual respect.

Besides these, several Indian laws have been enacted or improved on to help transform the landscape of Indian employment from a diversity and inclusion perspective.

  1. The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017, which is an amendment to the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, and received the assent from the President of India on March 27, 2017

This amendment increased the duration of paid maternity leave available for women employees from the existing 12 (Twelve) weeks to 26 (Twenty-six) weeks. It also provides for maternity leaves for the adoptive and commissioning mother. This amendment has also opened up the option of providing ‘work from home’ for women employees during motherhood.

The law prohibits discrimination against women and protects the employment of women during the period of maternity. The law also requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide crèche facilities close to the workplace. These provisions help employers to maintain gender diversity at work by encouraging mothers to stay on in the workforce.

  1. The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013,  or the  “POSH Law”. This Act which requires employers to create an environment free from sexual harassment and discrimination. The POSH Law emphasises the importance of creating a proactively safe workplace for women employees. It also provides for remedies in the event of any experience of sexual harassment.
  2. The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, or the “PWD Law” supports India’s vision and commitment to the United Nation Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). The PWD Law aims to ensure that persons with disability (PWD) enjoy the right to equality, life with dignity and respect for their own integrity equally with others. This covers employers in the public and private sector. The PWD Law mandates public and private sector employers to publish an ‘equal employment opportunity policy’ focused on persons with disability. This includes putting up positions where PWD candidates can be hired. It also makes it mandatory for an employer to provide reasonable accommodation to a PWD team member at the workplace and ensure an enabling and harassment-free environment at work.

To further promote the employment of disadvantaged groups into the private sector, the Government has proposed some incentives in the form of subsidies on social security contributions.

  1. The Supreme Court of India on the Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex(LGBTI) community:

In a landmark judgement the apex court recently struck down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, effectively de-criminalising homosexuality. In its verdict it said the law violated the rights of the LGBTI community under articles 14 (Equality before law), 15 (Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth), 19 (Protection of certain rights regarding freedom of speech, etc.), and 21 (Protection of life and personal liberty) of the Constitution.

The judgement motivates employers to be open about including members of the LGBTI community in the workforce.

In 2014 the Supreme Court also recognised transgenders as a “third gender” and directed the Government of India to recognise them as part of a socially and economically backward class.

  1. The Apprentices Actrequires employers to engage with a stipulated number of apprentices, trainees or interns – at least 2.5% of total workforce – during the year. This allows employers to ensure that people from diverse age groups are represented in the workplace.
  2. The Code on Wages, 2019 aims to ensure equal pay for equal work, increase take-home salaries, give better retirement benefits and reduce the Gender Pay gap. Currently, men in India are paid 19 percent more than women on average for the same work (Monster Jobs survey).

In fact, The Code prohibits gender discrimination in matters related to wages and recruitment of employees for the same work or work of similar nature.  Work of similar nature is defined as work for which the skill, effort, experience, and responsibility required are the same.

The Code also specifies penalties for offences committed by an employer, such as (i) paying less than the due wages, or (ii) for contravening any provision of the Code.  Penalties vary depending on the nature of offence, with the maximum penalty being imprisonment for three months along with a fine of up to one lakh rupees.

  1. The Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention and Control) Act, 2017 and the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019, include some anti-discrimination provisions. Although these legislations are effective law, awareness of their scope and obligations is still work in progress.

Extra Heading: Moving beyond legislation

India does not have a comprehensive and standalone anti-discrimination legislation in place. Therefore there is no specific legal obligation for people and companies from the D&I perspective. But the need for implementing D&I practices is now greater than ever. Why?

  1. There are several studies conducted by B-schools and top consulting firms that show a clear positive correlation between D&I indices and the financial performance of an organisation.
  2. The pandemic has forced multiple organisations to prioritise employee welfare measures and has provided an opportunity to bring about lasting changes.

Some of the key D&I measures that India Inc. has currently adopted include:

  • Appointing D&I officers to oversee and implement best practices
  • Conducting periodic creative sensitisation workshops
  • Partnering in recruitment drives conducted by advocacy organisations
  • Providing reasonable accommodation measures such as flexible work hours and additional paid leaves.

Conclusion:

We’ve covered the meaning of Diversity and Inclusion, and why these are important for the individual as well as the organisation. But you may be thinking, what’s the big deal? Why do I have to learn about D&I, I’m already a nice person who just wants to get along with everyone! The problem is, we all may think we are doing things right just by being ourselves – not realising that Bias or prejudice can creep into our behaviours at work. Over the next module we’ll examine some of these biases, and how these pan out in the real world.

Module 3: Unconscious Bias

Narrator: By now I’m sure we all agree that diversity of thought and innovation are critical to secure the bottom-line as well as workplace productivity. However, our unconscious preferences for people who are like us continues to severely challenge our ability to create these conditions.

Heading: What is Unconscious Bias?

Let’s begin our exploration by understanding the purpose of Bias.

We go out into the world every day and make decisions about what is safe or not, what is appropriate or not, and so on. This automatic decision making is our unconscious ‘danger detector’ – it helps us determine whether something or someone is safe, even before we decide to respond.

But sometimes this danger detector makes mistakes. We might first assume something is threatening, and then consciously correct our assessment as soon as we notice the mistake. But more often than not, we simply collect reasons or excuses to explain why our first feeling was accurate to begin with.

When we see something or someone that “feels” dangerous, we have already launched into action subconsciously to avoid it. Our sense of comfort or discomfort has already been engaged before we start ‘thinking’. Soon this becomes a “hard-wired” pattern of making unconscious decisions about others based on what feels safe, likeable, valuable, and competent.

[Definition]: Unconscious biases, or implicit biases, are attitudes that are held subconsciously and affect the way individuals feel and think about others around them.

Heading: The purpose of Bias

From a survival standpoint this is not a negative trait. It is a necessary one. After all, “It’s better to be safe than sorry”, right? In earlier times this could be a life and death decision. You need to be able to avoid a hostile animal, or a hostile tribe member, or you might die.

But what if this strategy decides whether or not you will hire the most qualified candidate for a job? Or give an employee a fair performance review? Or hire the right CEO?

From a Diversity perspective, Unconscious Bias creates hundreds of seemingly irrational circumstances every day in which people make choices. Choices that seem to make no sense, and seem to be driven only by overt prejudice, even when they are not. And they have a profound effect on the lives of people in many ways.

Heading: Understanding Different types of biases at the workplace

Narrator: Subconscious attitudes may not necessarily be even well-formed thoughts, but they can be very deep-rooted. Unconscious biases can color the emotional and rational responses of individuals in everyday situations and affect their behavior.

There are many types of unconscious biases. Some of the most common are based on how individuals see their own thought processes and reasoning abilities. Other biases are directly related to how people look. There are also types of bias that stereotype people based on how they behave. All of them can result in discrimination against people, subtlely or overtly.

We’ll describe the most common unconscious biases at the workplace with the help of some real-world scenarios.

  1. Gender Bias: the tendency to prefer one gender over another. This often comes from deep rooted beliefs about gender roles and stereotypes. For instance, according to one study both men and women prefer male job candidates. So much so that, in general, a man is 1.5 times more likely to be hired than a woman when both are equal-performing candidates.

Situation: A team meeting is going on. Most of the participants are male and there is a lively discussion. A woman speaks up. The male team leader smiles and replies, ‘You always have something to say, don’t you?’ [internal monologue]: She’s too headstrong and opinionated. Always trying hard to prove something.’

  1. Ageism: the tendency to have negative feelings about another person based on their age. In recent times, ageism affects older people more often than younger people. In the movie ‘The Intern’ we see a 70-year-old retired widower who applies for a job as an intern in a local internet startup. The film addresses ageism using humour.

Scenario: Old man at secretary desk, asks: I’m Ben Whittaker, I’ve an appointment with Ms Austin.

Secretary: I thought she was meeting with her new intern.

Ben: That’s me.

Secretary [looks confused[: How old are you?

Ben: 70. You?

Secy: I’m 44. I know I look older, it’s the job it ages you. Which won’t be good in your case. Sorry.

His leader faces doubts on whether he is relevant and will be able to keep up with the younger workforce. In the end he becomes a crucial part of the workforce and helps the younger team members with his experience.

In the real world, too, companies consider age a factor while hiring and this might affect workplace culture as well.

  1. Culture bias: It is the interpretation of situations, actions, or data based on the standards of one’s own culture.

Cultural biases at the workplace can lead to hiring less culturally diverse teams. Cultural bias can also lead to misunderstandings. For instance, some male employees see lack of eye contact with women as a sign of respect whereas some women might see lack of eye contact as being rude or evasive.

Situation: A man is talking to a team of people, he speaks to the men using direct eye contact but does not meet the woman’s eyes when she speaks to him. [Internal monologue : What’s wrong with him? Why doesn’t he look me in the eye? Am I even a person to him?]

  1. Sexual orientation bias:  It usually refers to a tendency to prefer heterosexual people, and is a bias against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer/questioning (LGBTQ) people. Even choosing to make assumptions or stay misinformed about someone’s overt sexual identity can be seen as a micro-aggression.

Situation:  Montage of quick situations where the same person is forced to come out over and over again.

Employees chatting with an openly gay employee:

  1. [HR manager] So interesting that you’ve had such a wide experience across markets. And what does your wife do?

Response: Oh, I’m not married. And I’m… gay. It’s in my bio.

  1. Conversation between employees at the canteen: “I’ve heard so much about you. You’re from Nagaland, right? Is your wife Naga too?

Response: No I’m not married actually. I’m also gay.

Situation: Office party. In the middle of introductions between a few employees.

Employee 1: Oh! I know who you are. Aren’t you that gay lawyer from Chennai?

Gay employee: I really think of myself as a whole lot more than that.

Situation: Three employees are looking at pictures posted by one of their colleagues on Instagram on the mobile phone.

Employee 1: Oh, who’s this in the pic?

Employee 2: I think it’s his younger brother, the big shot concert pianist. The one he’s always going on about on coffee breaks (rolls her eyes)

Employee 3: Zubin I think his name is.

Employee 2: Yes. So normal-looking! You can’t even make out he’s gay.

[Employee 3 gets disconcerted at this homophobic statement]

It also includes Anti-Trans Bias, which is the attitude of discrimination against people who identify themselves as neither man not woman. This is based on the belief that cisgender, or the gender identity that matches what one was born with, is the norm.

  1. Name Bias – the tendency people have to judge and prefer people with certain types of names or surnames — They could be names a person is already familiar with or likes the sound of – or surnames that reveal a person’s caste, religion or social and economic background. Over 90% of Indian surnames in fact, reveal caste information.

Situation: Recruiter looks at her list of interviews and focuses on a name: Pazhanimuththu Kanakadas. [internal monologue]: What kind of a name is this? How do you even pronounce it?

[Cut to -] Interview in progress: Where are you from, Mr… Kanakdas?

Interviewee: I am from Tamil Nadu.

Recruiter [internal monologue]: Probably from back of beyond. I’ll have to check how confident he is and if he can handle the developer role.

Oh ok makes sense [light chuckle]. Let’s begin. Can you tell me the difference between classic inheritance and prototypal inheritance?

[Interviewee looks flummoxed.

[Cut to – ] Second interviewee interaction –

Recruiter: Hi Rahil. An interesting name. [internal monologue: My cousin’s name is Rahil too. What a coincidence!]. Are you nervous?

Interviewee: [laughs self consciously] A little.

Recruiter [smiling]: There’s nothing to be nervous about. [Internal monologue: I like him, he’s a straightforward guy. I think he’ll be great with the team] Take a deep breath. and let’s begin. What makes you confident you’ll be great for this role?

  1. Disability Bias: The tendency to discriminate against an individual based on any perceived or recorded physical or intellectual disability. The list of disabilities is mentioned in The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 which. Despite this, unconscious bias against people with disabilities continues to be a barrier to the hiring and retention of workers with disabilities. In fact, a 2019 research study in Canada found that 76% of respondents showed an implicit preference for people without disabilities, compared to 9 % t for people with disabilities.

Situation: Recruiter to another in the team: I’m not sure she can pull her weight. Due to her limp she might not be as mobile on the job as others.

Situation: Team leader to team member with a burn scar on her neck: Before you go for that interview, I suggest you cover up that scar properly. We want the focus to remain on the interview at all times.

Situation: Wheelchair employee being stared at constantly by her peers.

Disabled employee [internal monologue]: I can’t stand the way their eyes are always going to my legs. I catch them staring when I’m not looking. I’m an object of curiosity to them.

Narrator: Besides this, we may often use words like “spaz”, “lame,”, “moron”, “retarded,” “crippled”, “blind,” “deaf,” “idiot,” “imbecile”. In doing so, we stigmatise disabled people and perpetuate deep-rooted harmful biases about disability. Even though the intention may not be to belittle, but these words imply that having a disability makes a person somehow ‘less than’ others.

  1. In-group bias – the tendency to favor one’s own group, its members, its characteristics, and its products, particularly in reference to other groups. It is also called ‘In-group favoritism’. Ingroup bias tends to happen without malice or intention. But the more we identify with our ingroup, the more distanced we feel from those we see as ‘outside’ of the group. And this can affect how we behave towards those we see as outsiders, or part of the ‘out-group’.

Situation: Cricket fans at the office are huddled together in front of the computer, rooting for the Indian team during a match. Two more colleagues are sitting in adjacent desks, but they are staying aloof from the excitement as they are not interested in cricket. But they keep glancing glumly to the side at the fan group, feeling vaguely left out.

The supervisor appears and the cricket fans hurriedly disperse to their respective desks.

Supervisor: This report was supposed to be ready 2 hours ago. Dinesh, what’s taking so long?

John [covering up for his pal]: Oh, there were some edits needed to the synopsis. I suggested that Namita get on it. Dinesh sent it to her a while back. [indicates to one of the two non-participants in the match. The supervisor’s attention shifts to Namita.

Supervisor: Namita, how much longer will it take? Already I’m getting calls from the clients. Please wrap it up quickly.

[Namita looks irritated that she has been pulled up whereas the group of boys got away with wasting time watching the match]

  1. Conformity Bias – the tendency people have to act similar to the people around them regardless of their own personal beliefs or idiosyncrasies — this is also known as peer pressure.

Situation: Hiring decisions are being made by 3 people in the hiring department of a company.

Recruiter 1: I’ve gone through this candidate’s application. I think he is a perfect fit.

Recruiter 2: I agree. The other candidate seemed unsure in her interview. What do you think, Reema?

Recruiter 3: Her credentials are impeccable. And she aced her test.

Recruiter 1: Yes, but she doesn’t have enough number of years of experience in the specific department.

Recruiter 2: And she took 15 minutes longer to complete the test.

Recruiter 3: Alright, let’s hire the other candidate.

The problem is the majority is not always right. Peer pressure can lead a team to miss out on an excellent candidate –  just because individual opinions get muddled in a group setting.

  1. Attribution Bias – the phenomenon where you try to make sense of, or judge a person’s behavior based on earlier observations and interactions you’ve had with that individual. These early interactions have already coloured your impression of them.

Situation: A loud raucous party with young people is going on in a restaurant. One of the partygoers, a young man, laughs out loudly in a peculiar manner that catches attention. An older couple look disturbed and irritated.

Older man: These millennials, I tell you! We never get a moment’s peace.

Cut to a shot of an interview where we see one of the party goers sitting for a job interview and the interviewer is the older man from the same restaurant. The young man does not recognise him, but the older man immediately places the young man.

Interviewer [internal monologue]: It’s one of those supremely irritating, overconfident boys I saw at the table last night.

Interviewer to candidate: Hello, young man. You look a bit… tired. Had a late night?

Candidate [smiling self consciously]: Oh, yes I was at a school reunion. Happens once a year.

Interviewer: Very interesting. If you get selected, you can expect more late nights of a different kind I’m afraid– at the office. [smiles patronisingly]

Candidate: Don’t worry sir, I love late nights. [Laughs a more polite version of his laugh from the restaurant. Interviewer stops smiling abruptly.]

  1. Affinity bias – Also known as similarity bias, it is the tendency people have to connect with others who share similar interests, experiences and backgrounds.

For instance, when companies hire for “culture fit,” they may be falling prey to affinity bias. When hiring teams meet someone they like and who they know will get along with the team, it’s more often than not because that person shares similar interests, experiences and backgrounds. This does not helping their team grow and diversify. In the long run, culture fit limits a team’s ability to think creatively and generate innovative ideas and solutions.

Situation: Job interview in process.

Interviewer to young male candidate: What’s your idea of a fun weekend?

Candidate: Oh I usually hang out with my friends at the pub. Or play squash at my local club.

Interviewer (internal monologue]: Hmm. He seems really likeable. The team will be comfortable around him and he’ll integrate seamlessly. He’s the sort of person I could imagine grabbing a beer with.

Interviewer to a woman candidate: What’s your idea of a fun weekend?

Candidate: Oh, I love spending time with my kids outdoors.

Interviewer (internal monologue): She’s a working mother juggling job and kids. She won’t have time to relate with her team. Weekend working lunches will be a problem with her. She isn’t a good culture fit.

  1. Halo Effect: The halo effect is the tendency people have to place another person on a pedestal after learning something impressive about them.

Situation: Staff meeting

A new recruit enters the room. Her senior introduces her, “Welcome Sushmita. I’m so glad you’ve joined our team you to our team. Sushmita here has stellar credentials – no less than an MBA from IIM Ahmedabad! Hope it rubs off on some of us!”

  1. Horns effect: Conversely, horns effect is the tendency people have to view another person negatively after learning something unpleasant or negative about them.

Situation: Job interview in progress

Interviewer: Which company did you say you were working for?

Candidate: Oh, Himalaya Drugs.

Interviewer [internal monologue]: I hate that company. It’s our primary competitor too. I hope he won’t leak our trade secrets. Can we really trust him?

Situation: Interview in progress

Recruiter: What sort of career path do you see for yourself, Tulika?

Candidate [has a quirk of constantly pushing up her glasses on her nose during her response]: I know your company offers a good career path and ideally, I would like to rise through the ranks to be your accounting manager. With the right training and mentoring I believe I can get there.

Recruiter [internal monologue]: Not with that irritating habit you won’t.

Headline: Impact of unconscious biases

Narrator: Biases can sneak into every encounter we have, from the language used in job specifications, to decisions on who to hire or promote. It can even lead to managers overlooking poor performance of those they know and like.

In recruitment, biases can lead to generalisations that pick the right candidate for the job not based on their skills, but on their perceived origin.

Gender biases are also common with many job roles that throughout history, have attracted one gender over the other. For instance, female nurses or male engineers.

In some more severe cases, strong preferential bias of any kind can lead to workplace bullying, unlawful harassment or discrimination. This puts businesses’ reputations at risk and comes with huge financial costs as issues develop.

Here’s a list of the many ways unconscious bias has consequences. [use visual examples like we did in the Bias categories. These could then form the basis of the assessment quiz]

Unconscious bias can affect:

  • Our perception – how we see people and perceive reality
  • Our attitude – how we react towards certain people
  • Our behaviours – how we act towards certain people
  • Our Attention – which aspects of a person we pay most attention to
  • Our listening skills – how much we actively listen to what certain people say
  • Our Micro-Affirmations – how much or how little we comfort certain people in certain situations

Now that we have reviewed the types of unsconscious bias and also seen how these play out in office situations, it’s time to explore how to tackle them. In our next lesson, we’ll do exactly that: Discuss ways to become aware of unconscious biases, and start taking proactive steps to prevent them from affecting the workplace.

Module 4: Overcoming one’s biases and helping foster a diverse and inclusive workplace

Narrator: Awareness alone does not lead to a change of behaviour or outcomes in individuals. And sometimes, unconscious attitudes even influence the deep-seated culture of the entire organisation. This is why, despite our best attempts to create a corporate culture of diversity, sometimes our efforts can fall short.

Here are some of the pathways through which we can start correcting these biases.

Step 1: Identifying your own implicit and unconscious biases.

Recognising your bias by taking a good look at yourself and ideas you may hold subconsciously. Eg. your conscious mind may think that men and women are just as effective at their job. However, as a woman, you may unconsciously believe that men are lacking in empathy. Or as a man, you may believe that women are too emotional.

You may also have blindspots. Blindspots are areas in which we don’t have a lot of perspective. This is because our lived experience doesn’t align with another set of lived experiences. A good way to recognise your potential blindspots is to start with your close relationships. Do you have any close friends who are not from your racial group? Are there any LGBTQ people in your close circle? Folks with different abilities? Have you ever had a meaningful conversation with that person about how their identity has shaped their life experiences? Answering these questions will help you understand where you might need to educate yourself the most.

Step 2: Start Learning.

Life is all about learning and growing. Our physical bodies change as we age. Why not our minds? Yes, recognising unconscious biases or blindspots can be painful. A lot of people get defensive when they are challenged to recognise what they don’t know. But if something hurts, it means you’re working a muscle you haven’t worked before. It’s like going to the gym: If you don’t break a sweat, you won’t really see a change in your health. The same is true for our minds.

We all need to recognise that what we know about the world is limited to our own experiences. Once we do that, it opens the doors to listening and learning from others. For example, if you’re a man, and you don’t have a lot of women who you are close to, take some time to read books about gender authored by women. If you don’t have a lot of friends who are outside your socioeconomic group, take time to read texts or watch YouTube videos that are about the effects of poverty on people’s life trajectories.

If you find yourself thinking, “well that’s not been true in my experience”, that’s 100% the point. You are learning about a different perspective, which may need you to adjust some of your thinking about how the world operates.

Step 3: Take Action to Stop Bias

Once you feel that you have located potential blindspots, and have tried to educate yourself on new perspectives, you are ready to start demonstrating your commitment to equity.

The I.M.P.L.I.C.I.T Model for Unlearning Biases

I for Introspection: Explore and identify your own prejudices by taking implicit association tests or through other means of self-analysis. Carry a small journal to jot down observations about yourself during the day.

M for Mindfulness: Since you’re more likely to give in to your biases when you’re under pressure, practice ways to reduce stress and increase mindfulness, such as focused breathing. Be mindful about why and how you make decisions. As you work on self-awareness, you become aware of things that are happening around you and are able to intervene and taking on a leadership role.

P for Perspective-taking: Consider experiences from the point of view of the person being stereotyped. You can do this by reading or watching content that discusses those experiences or directly interacting with people from those groups. Be open to feedback and be open to self-observation. The opportunity is there when someone gives feedback but only if you are open to self-observation will you be able to make progress.

L for Learn to slow down: Before interacting with people from certain groups, pause and reflect to reduce reflexive actions. Consider positive examples of people from that stereotyped group, such as public figures or personal friends. Know your cultural identity and understand what that identity brings to your communication. This helps in communicating with others of differing cultural identities.

I for Individuation: Evaluate people based on their personal characteristics rather than those affiliated with their group. This could include connecting over shared interests.

C for Check your messaging: As opposed to saying things like “we don’t see color or gender or caste,” use statements that welcome and embrace multiculturalism or other differences.

I for Institutionalize fairness: Support a culture of diversity and inclusion in the organisation. This could include using an “equity lens” tool to identify your group’s blind spots or reviewing the images in your office to see if they add to, or undercut stereotypes.

Remember: Resisting implicit bias is lifelong work. You have to constantly restart the process and look for new ways to improve. This process also requires listening and learning along the way. You will make mistakes. Apologise for them and ask how you can get better. You may have to repeat this cycle multiple times. That’s ok. No one is without blindspots. Everyone can benefit from learning from others’ perspectives

Heading: How to be an active bystander (An ally of people who are discriminated against)

Narrator: One of the ways you can demonstrate your commitment to equity and inclusion is by doing your bit to stop or prevent discrimination when you see it developing. You don’t need to always confront the situation; but you can contribute by defusing the situation. You can also brainstorm strategies to prevent it in future – or inform a person in a position of authority. You might also want to join an Employee Resource Group at work and ask how you can help the group further its cause.

Finally, if appropriate, you might want to take a stand to call the discriminatory behaviors out. Perhaps there are biased comments or judgments about people that are being vocalised but not corrected. And of course, you should also commit yourself to ensuring you aren’t doing these behaviors yourself.

Here’s a step by step guide to being an active bystander in the workplace:

Step 1: Notice the event: We can all get absorbed in our own world (or phone) from time to time. Try to be present and notice what is occurring around you.

Step 2: Identify if it’s a problem. Be critical of your own perceptions and attitudes of others. Ask yourself these questions: Would you behave in the same way? Would this kind of behaviour be ok if it was occurring to a friend or family member? Does the situation at hand make you uncomfortable?

Step 3: Take responsibility. This is perhaps the hardest step. But if we all assume someone else will step in, nothing will happen.

Step 4: Make a plan. Each situation is different and what you do in one case may not be safe or suitable to do in another. So it is important to assess the situation and make a sensible plan before you act.

Step 5: Act. You can do this directly by not participating in a conversation or calling out bad behaviour as it happens – or may be show support to those affected and make a report after the event.

There are many ways to act, just remember to be respectful and careful in whatever approach you decide to take.

Remember: There are many ways to be an ally, but it always requires actual action, and not just words.

For instance, you might want to join an Employee Resource Group at work and ask how you can help the group further its cause. You can push your team to re-examine how decisions are made and whether or not processes are truly inclusive. Perhaps there are biased comments or judgments about people that are being vocalised but not corrected. If appropriate, you might want to take a stand to call these behaviors out. You should also commit yourself to ensuring you aren’t doing these behaviors yourself.

There are many ways to be an ally, but it always requires actual action, and not just words.

https://www.edi.unsw.edu.au/initiatives/be-better-human/what-active-bystander/5-steps-be-active-bystander

  • Increasing awareness through self education –

It is important to commit oneself to the lifelong practice of self-understanding and comprehending the diverse world around us. No matter how hard a person tries, we all have biases; we discriminate without even recognising what we are doing.

[Consider including some questions from Sonnenschein’s Diversity tool kit]

  • To grow your own self-awareness, wake up every morning and try wondering what prejudice you will discover during the day, what assumption you will make that will be proven wrong, what bias will affect your day. As you work on self-awareness, you become aware of things that are happening around you and are able to intervene and taking on a leadership role.
  • Carry a small journal to jot down observations about yourself during the day. Be mindful about why and how you make decisions.
  • Be open to feedback and be open to self-observation. The opportunity is there when someone gives feedback but only if you are open to self-observation will you be able to make progress.
  • Know your cultural identity and understand what that identity brings to your communication. This helps in communicating with others of differing cultural identities.

Examine your order or grading of values. This helps in understanding how you behave and communicate

Understanding Unconscious Biases – Definition

  • Understanding Different types of biases at the workplace – here we have short definitions together with a montage of very short visualisations for biases exhibited in each of the below mentioned categories. I’ve given some generic material around two of these categories, there will be similar points for the others. Unless you prefer just leaving it at the definition without examples?
    • Gender bias – Preference towards one gender over another which often comes from deep rooted beliefs about gender roles and stereotypes. Here we can refer to gap in hiring/pay or employment in top leadership positions/promotions/opportunities. Mention research showing marriage and parenthood are associated with higher wages for men but not or women. In addition, men and women may be evaluated differently for the same performance.
    • Ageism – Ageism is a multifaceted concept including three distinct dimensions: a cognitive (e.g., stereotypes), an affective (e.g., prejudice) and a behavioural dimension (e.g., discrimination). In the workplace, variation in the approach of communication also varies and each generation has its preferred style. Unfortunately, all these dimensions give rise to negative stereotypes between generations in the workforce. For instance, earlier gen workers may perceive millennials as entitled. Similarly, older employees may be perceived as slow or resistant to new technology and hence not productive enough
    • Culture bias
    • Sexual Orientation bias
    • Name bias
    • Disability Bias (conspicuous and inconspicuous disabilities)
    • In-group bias
    • Conformity bias
    • Attribution Bias
    • Affinity Bias
    • Halo and Horns Effect
  • How unconscious biases Impact:

Intro: Biases can sneak into every encounter we have, from the language used in job specifications and decisions on who to hire or promote to managers overlooking poor performance of those they know and like. In recruitment, biases can lead to generalisations that determine the right candidate for the job not based on their skills, but on their perceived origin. Gender biases are also common with many job roles that historically attract one gender over the other, for example female nurses or male engineers. In some more severe cases, strong preferential bias of any kind can lead to workplace bullying, unlawful harassment or discrimination. This puts businesses’ reputations at risk and come with huge financial costs as issues develop.

Here are some examples of various ways unconscious bias has consequences. [use visual examples like we did in the Bias categories. These could then form the basis of the assessment quiz]

Unconscious bias can affect:

  • Our perception – how we see people and perceive reality
  • Our attitude – how we react towards certain people
  • Our behaviours – how we act towards certain people
  • Our Attention – which aspects of a person we pay most attention to
  • Our listening skills – how much we actively listen to what certain people say
  • Our Micro-Affirmations – how much or how little we comfort certain people in certain situations

Heading: Tackling the ‘Organizational Unconscious’

Narrator: We’ve examined how to tackle unconscious biases at the individual level; the next step is to examine ways in which unconscious biases at the organisational level can be addressed. Unconscious organisational patterns, or “norms” of behavior, exert an enormous influence over a company’s decisions, choices, and behaviors. These deep-seated company characteristics often are the reason that our efforts to change organisational behavior fail. Despite our best conscious efforts, what we call the “organisational unconscious” perpetuates the status quo and keeps old patterns, values, and behavioral norms firmly rooted.

For instance, flexible work arrangements are often put in place to allow employees, especially parents, to meet family needs. In principle the policy may receive corporate and employee support – however on the ground the situation may be different. An employee who actually takes advantage of this Flexible work policy may be viewed by their co-workers, bosses and management as “less committed”, “less valuable”, or a “less desirable” member of the team. So what’s happening here? While the company consciously acknowledges that flexible work arrangements is the “right” thing to do, the company’s unconscious culture of mistrust and fear takes over. Fear of losing productivity, and mistrust that employees are misusing this policy to cut corners and shirk work.

So, how do we begin to see the organisational unconscious, and what can we do about it?

How do we consciously become aware of, and address something that is, by nature, concealed?

There are a number of strategies that will help us create workplace cultures in which companies and leaders can actively “unconceal” perceptions and patterns that have been hidden.

Top 10 Ways to Combat Hidden Organisational Bias

  1. At the leadership level, recognise that as human beings, our brains make mistakes without us even knowing it. Becoming aware of our own biases will help us mitigate them in the workplace.
  2. Reframe the conversation to focus on fair treatment and respect, and away from discrimination and “protected classes”. Review every aspect of the employment life cycle for hidden bias – screening the following aspects:

Resumes, interviews, onboarding, assignment process, mentoring programs, performance evaluation, identifying high performers, promotion and termination.

  1. Ensure that anonymous employee surveys are conducted company-wide to first understand what specific issues of hidden bias and unfairness might exist at your workplace. Each department or location may have different issues.
  2. Conduct anonymous surveys with former employees to understand:

What were the issues they faced

What steps could be taken for them to consider coming back

Whether they would encourage or discourage prospective employees from applying for positions at your company and

Whether they encourage or discourage prospective customers/clients from using your company’s products or services.

  1. Offer customised training based upon survey results of current and former employees that includes examples of hidden bias, forms of unfairness that are hurtful and demotivating, and positive methods to discuss these issues..
  2. Offer an anonymous, third-party complaint channel such as an ombudsperson; since most of the behaviors that employees perceive as unfair are not covered by current laws – for instance bullying or very subtle bias – most times existing formal complaint channels simply don’t work.
  3. Initiate a resume study within your industry, company or department to see whether resumes with roughly equal education and experience are weighted equally – when the names indicate indicate gender or race or culture and other criteria.
  4. Launch a resume study within your company or department to reassign points based on earned accomplishments vs. accidents of birth – e.g. take points off for someone who paid to get an internship, and add points for someone who put him/herself through college.
  5. Support projects that encourage positive images of persons of color, persons with disability, LGLBT, women etc. Distribute stories and pictures widely that portray stereotype-busting images. These could include:

Posters, newsletters, annual reports, speaker series, podcasts.

Many studies show that just spreading positive images of specific groups of people can combat our hidden bias.

  1. Identify, support and collaborate with effective programs that increase diversity in the pipeline. Reward employees who volunteer with these groups, create internships and other bridges, and celebrate the stories of those who successfully overcome obstacles.

Many companies also choose to undergo an organisational diversity audit. Most organisational audits assess the conscious layers of organisational behavior. What do people think, believe, and see about what’s going on in the organisation?

Such formal audits and evaluations can also assess people’s sense of how the company culture is operating outside of their own personal experience. The evalulation will look at indicators, or metrics, that can identify how intentions and values are really expressed on the ground. This reveals the patterns of the organisational unconscious.

Conclusion: Understanding unconscious bias is an invitation to a new level of engagement about diversity issues. It requires awareness, introspection, authenticity, humility, and compassion. And most of all, it requires communication and a willingness to act.

We hope this journey has opened your perspective on the benefits of a Diverse and Inclusive workplace; Now all you need to do is to review your learnings from the course, assess yourself, and start planning to make a change – a change in you, and in your workplace! The power is with you, because you matter.

Module 5: Course recap and conclusion

  • Recap of key lessons from the course (PDF Download)
  • Action planning activity (Downloadable action planning form)
  • Post-course assessment (for certification; certification is dependent on the learner attaining a pre-determined score on the post-course assessment)

About this course:

Who is this course for?
What topics will we cover?

What will you achieve?

Notes on how to make the most of this course (to be decided)

Part 1: Introductory Video

An introduction to Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace

Host starts with how in the past decade many firms have come on board the D&I bandwagon. We mention some dates and years when companies in India and other countries signed Diversity charters. Then she goes on to pose the question, Why? Why is Diversity and Inclusion important for firms? Finding out, is part of the learning journey on this course.

Part 2:

Pre-course test: Before we begin, here’s a chance to test yourself on how familiar you already are with the importance of Diversity and Inclusion.

Quiz:

1. What reasons do you think are the most common for firms choosing to encourage D&I? Pick three responses from the following list.

Diversity is an obligation for companies

Diversity is a source of high performance

Diversity is a source for innovation

We need to promote Diversity to meet legal requirements

Firms have a social responsibility to promote diversity

Diversity makes the working world better by encouraging collaboration and strengthening relationships

Firms need a workforce that reflects the diversity of the customer base

Module 2 (Video)

Intro:

We briefly refer to the previous quiz and elaborate on the three most common statements companies make about D&I. We summarise that companies view D&I as an important ingredient to encourage performance, creativity and understand and develop new markets.

We then outline what this next module plans to cover: Understanding the two concepts, how they affect behaviour and why they are the key to future performance for firms, and for you, as employees and leaders.

  • Understanding Diversity (Definition)
  • Understanding Inclusion (Definition)
  • How different age groups perceive diversity and discrimination differently; how this impacts their respective perceptions and conduct – Enact a short skit showing how employees of different age groups may react/respond to diversity and discrimination in the workplace
  • How diversity and inclusion are two sides of the same coin
  • Why focus on Diversity & Inclusion?

In fact, in the short quiz we revealed the and elaboratthree most common statements companies make about D&I. We summarise that companies view D&I as an important ingredient to encourage performance, creativity and understand and develop new markets.

– Describe negative results with examples, of non-inclusiveness by all three agents given below in order – individual, manager, organisation

  1. The consequences of a non-inclusive work culture and the benefits of a work culture that practices diversity and inclusion on:
    1. The individual
    2. The manager
    3. The organisation
  • The laws pertaining to providing equal opportunities and preventing discriminations – We mention that Diversity has been around since the beginning of time but has been picked up by society only recently. Historical Legal/govt framework if any (please share resources). I think we have material only on Equal employment opportunities and Affirmative action programmes in Indian Labour Laws (maternity benefits act, persons with disability act), and some SC rulings such as decriminalisation of homosexuality etc), but nothing on Diversity Management which is still completely voluntary. However, we DO have our Constitution which prohibits discrimination of the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth as well as the promotion of equal opportunity in public employment and protection from social injustice and exploitation.  We can mention that if you prefer.
  • The connection between psychological safety and inclusion

https://workplace.msu.edu/psychological-safety-and-dei/#:~:text=An%20important%20part%20of%20psychological,of%20their%20identity%20without%20judgment.

‘An important part of psychological safety is valuing diversity, equity, and inclusion. Employees feeling able to be their whole selves at work means they can exhibit their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, background, family status, and any other part of their identity without judgment.’

Benefits of Psychological safety – such as more creativity and innovation, increased commitment to an organisation, increased communication, engagement and sharing of knowledge, and increased openness to learning through failure because their failures are not held against them. We can pick relevant benefits in this section depending on which band the course is targeted to, whether employees or leaders.

Module 3:

Intro briefly recapping the previous module and laying out the trajectory for the current one in terms of what will be covered:

Although most people recognise that diversity of thought and innovation are critical to secure the bottom-line as well as workplace productivity, our unconscious preferences for people who are like us continues to severely challenge our ability to create these conditions.

  • Understanding Unconscious Biases – Definition
  • Understanding Different types of biases at the workplace – here we have short definitions together with a montage of very short visualisations for biases exhibited in each of the below mentioned categories. I’ve given some generic material around two of these categories, there will be similar points for the others. Unless you prefer just leaving it at the definition without examples?
    • Gender bias – Preference towards one gender over another which often comes from deep rooted beliefs about gender roles and stereotypes. Here we can refer to gap in hiring/pay or employment in top leadership positions/promotions/opportunities. Mention research showing marriage and parenthood are associated with higher wages for men but not or women. In addition, men and women may be evaluated differently for the same performance.
    • Ageism – Ageism is a multifaceted concept including three distinct dimensions: a cognitive (e.g., stereotypes), an affective (e.g., prejudice) and a behavioural dimension (e.g., discrimination). In the workplace, variation in the approach of communication also varies and each generation has its preferred style. Unfortunately, all these dimensions give rise to negative stereotypes between generations in the workforce. For instance, earlier gen workers may perceive millennials as entitled. Similarly, older employees may be perceived as slow or resistant to new technology and hence not productive enough
    • Culture bias
    • Sexual Orientation bias
    • Name bias
    • Disability Bias (conspicuous and inconspicuous disabilities)
    • In-group bias
    • Conformity bias
    • Attribution Bias
    • Affinity Bias
    • Halo and Horns Effect
  • How unconscious biases Impact:

Intro: Biases can sneak into every encounter we have, from the language used in job specifications and decisions on who to hire or promote to managers overlooking poor performance of those they know and like. In recruitment, biases can lead to generalisations that determine the right candidate for the job not based on their skills, but on their perceived origin. Gender biases are also common with many job roles that historically attract one gender over the other, for example female nurses or male engineers. In some more severe cases, strong preferential bias of any kind can lead to workplace bullying, unlawful harassment or discrimination. This puts businesses’ reputations at risk and come with huge financial costs as issues develop.

Here are some examples of various ways unconscious bias has consequences. [use visual examples like we did in the Bias categories. These could then form the basis of the assessment quiz]

Unconscious bias can affect:

  • Our perception – how we see people and perceive reality
  • Our attitude – how we react towards certain people
  • Our behaviours – how we act towards certain people
  • Our Attention – which aspects of a person we pay most attention to
  • Our listening skills – how much we actively listen to what certain people say
  • Our Micro-Affirmations – how much or how little we comfort certain people in certain situations
  • Module 4: Overcoming one’s biases and helping foster a diverse and inclusive workplace

Awareness alone does not lead to a change of behaviour or outcomes

  • Identifying one’s own implicit and unconscious biases
    • How to identify if one holds biases – Recognising your bias by taking a good look at yourself. Eg. your conscious mind may think that men and women are just as effective at their job. However, as a woman, you may unconsciously believe that men are lacking in empathy.
    • Self reflection exercise – https://workrbeeing.com/2020/07/12/bias/

Identify your bias, Start learning, Take Action

  • Unlearning Implicit and Unconscious Biases
    • The I.M.P.L.I.C.I.T Model for Unlearning Biases

Introspection: Explore and identify your own prejudices by taking implicit association tests or through other means of self-analysis.

Mindfulness: Since you’re more likely to give in to your biases when you’re under pressure, practice ways to reduce stress and increase mindfulness, such as focused breathing.

Perspective-taking: Consider experiences from the point of view of the person being stereotyped. You can do this by reading or watching content that discusses those experiences or directly interacting with people from those groups.

Learn to slow down: Before interacting with people from certain groups, pause and reflect to reduce reflexive actions. Consider positive examples of people from that stereotyped group, such as public figures or personal friends.

Individuation: Evaluate people based on their personal characteristics rather than those affiliated with their group. This could include connecting over shared interests.

Check your messaging: As opposed to saying things like “we don’t see color,” use statements that welcome and embrace multiculturalism or other differences.

Institutionalise fairness: Support a culture of diversity and inclusion at the organisational level. This could include using an “equity lens” tool to identify your group’s blind spots or reviewing the images in your office to see if they further or undercut stereotypes.

Take two: Resisting implicit bias is lifelong work. You have to constantly restart the process and look for new ways to improve.

  • Being an active bystander (An ally of people who are discriminated against)

https://www.edi.unsw.edu.au/initiatives/be-better-human/what-active-bystander/5-steps-be-active-bystander

  • Increasing awareness through self education –

It is important to commit oneself to the lifelong practice of self-understanding and comprehending the diverse world around us. No matter how hard a person tries, we all have biases; we discriminate without even recognising what we are doing.

[Consider including some questions from Sonnenschein’s Diversity tool kit]

 

  • To grow your own self-awareness, wake up every morning and try wondering what prejudice you will discover during the day, what assumption you will make that will be proven wrong, what bias will affect your day. As you work on self-awareness, you become aware of things that are happening around you and are able to intervene and taking on a leadership role.
  • Carry a small journal to jot down observations about yourself during the day. Be mindful about why and how you make decisions.
  • Be open to feedback and be open to self-observation. The opportunity is there when someone gives feedback but only if you are open to self-observation will you be able to make progress.
  • Know your cultural identity and understand what that identity brings to your communication. This helps in communicating with others of differing cultural identities.
  • Examine your order or grading of values. This helps in understanding how you behave and communicate

 

  • Module 5: Course recap and conclusion
    • Recap of key lessons from the course (PDF Download)
    • Action planning activity (Downloadable action planning form)
    • Post-course assessment (for certification; certification is dependent on the learner attaining a pre-determined score on the post-course assessment)

 

. //Disable PrintScreen