Address unconscious bias to reduce turnover, boost diversity

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Changing only visible layers
Mentoring, leadership and skills programs are all well and good, but again miss the heart of the issue, according to Young. “Fixing women through leadership and mentoring initiatives, or pay equity and flexible work practices, will not adjust a macho culture.”

Although these initiatives may help accommodate for female staff, decision-makers or other leaders in the organization many not be swayed to change the path of the organization, ultimately keeping any ‘boys’ club’ mentalities intact.

Recognize and respect subcultures

Most importantly, organizations must not underestimate the existence of multiple assumptions and values that may exist in the organization. Subcultures that operate within an organization will see different thought patterns and beliefs emerge, which can result in an array of unconscious assumptions existing, all which must be approached with the same level of respect as the next.

The impact of other cultures

On a broader scale, external cultures that employees bring into the workplace can cause tension. When this tension arises, employees must often choose whether to integrate or leave, with the latter resulting in increased turnover and higher recruitment costs.

The need to address these issues transcends the individual organization.

“If [organizations] can influence attitudes and behaviours in society we’d have fewer problems with behaviours that impact performance at work,” Young stated. “Over time that would help to build a more unified and cohesive workforce reducing the costs of staff turnover and preparing stronger businesses and communities ready to take on the economic challenges of the 21st century.”


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