- Apr 9, 2019
The benefits of diversity and inclusion are well documented: enhanced collaboration, greater innovation, higher sales, and increased revenue. But one of the barriers to creating an inclusive work environment with greater diversity is unconscious bias. Bias affects our perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors…including critical business decisions in areas like hiring and promotion decisions.
One of the ways to keep diversity and inclusion in the forefront of employees’ and leaders’ minds is to designate a week of celebration. Events like potluck lunches and game shows offer opportunities to have a good time. In the accompanying photo, employees in the Boston office recently shared post-it notes to list women who inspire them and why.
But the benefits of these celebrations can go far beyond fun. Introducing meaningful activities and experiences can push employees outside of their comfort zones, challenge them to recognize their unconscious biases, and engage them to create a more inclusive work environment.
The theme of Gilbane’s 2019 Diversity & Inclusion Week, which started Monday April 8th, is Making the Unconscious Conscious: Walking the Talk. Activities include a series of in-person and virtual events specifically designed to help employees recognize their own biases.
Here are some tips to designing diversity celebrations to inspire real change:
- Conduct in-person events that help individuals recognize their own bias. You can research ‘Cross the Line’ and ‘Trusted 10’ for event inspiration.
- Promote resources that help individuals uncover their bias privately, on their own time. Harvard’s Project Implicit bias tests is one available resource.
- Host a virtual inclusion campaign and have employees sign a petition to act inclusively.
- Create an Inclusion Bookshelf and/or Book club with a series of book recommendations around bias and inclusion topics.
Most importantly, your organization’s leadership must be actively involved, promoting the events planned, personally attending and facilitating them, and sharing reflections on their own journey toward mitigating their biases and creating a more inclusive work environment.
Everyone loves a free lunch…now take the opportunity to give your employees a more meaningful experience.