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September 02, 2016
Conscious Skills for Dealing with Unconscious Bias
By: Glenn Parker

Lizzette Movado was hired to fill the new position of marketing director for the Latin America region in your organization. After about six months on the job, she decided to leave the organization because she was not included in any senior-level marketing meetings and was rarely asked for her opinion on anything other than questions relating to her Hispanic heritage. This was despite the fact that she has an MBA from the Wharton School with a concentration in consumer marketing. Though the company did a good job of recruiting and hiring, management failed to create an inclusive work environment where Lizzette would be consulted and valued for her expertise.

You may be aware of a bias that you have either against certain people or in favor of others. However, there are other biases—unconscious biases—that exist unwittingly within your mind and yet have great influence over your feelings about certain people. In areas such as recruitment, interviewing, hiring, placement, evaluation, communication, and daily decision making, unconscious bias may lead you to choices that are harmful for you and for your organization.

You need to be aware of and understand unconscious biases in yourself and your colleagues. Many progressive organizations are identifying the level of unconscious bias in their cultures and providing training that helps employees gain insight into the nature of hidden prejudice. Such organizations are also taking management action to minimize the impact of unconscious bias. You can also put together a plan for uncovering and mitigating unconscious bias utilizing best practices, including tips and tools to create, grow, and maintain a participative work environment where your people feel engaged, respected, and appreciated for their knowledge, experience, and skills.

We know that tall men and blond women are more likely to be hired, promoted, and paid better than short men and brunette women. Is it because tall men make better managers? Is it because blond women know more about marketing? No, of course not. It may be the result of an unconscious bias. The Accenture Academy courses The Pervasive Nature of Unconscious Bias in the Workplace, Management Actions to Reduce Unconscious Bias, Corporate Programs to Minimize Unconscious Bias, and Creating a Plan to Identify and Mitigate Unconscious Bias will provide you with the knowledge, skills, and tools to deal with all of these issues and reduce the impact of hidden bias on your workplace actions. 

About Accenture Academy

Accenture Academy offers proven, cost-effective learning solutions for a more versatile workforce and a more agile organization. We provide a flexible learning approach that helps your people be more versatile and your entire organization be more agile in the marketplace. Curriculum includes Supply Chain Management, Finance, Procurement, Analytics, Leadership & Management and Specialty Skills.

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