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How our unconscious minds undermine the workplace

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Super duper interesting post on the Google blog about how they are bringing a scientific mindset to unconscious workplace bias. Gratz to them for showing that there is no conflict between having a hyper-rationalistic scientific-method driven corporate culture, and ALSO investigating and promoting social goods such as fairness and equality of opportunity. It takes a different way of framing questions, that is part of a growth mindset.

The video is worth a watch:

Here are four ways Google is working to reduce the influence of bias:

  • Gather facts. It’s hard to know you’re improving if you’re not measuring. We collect data on things like gender representation in our doodles and at our conferences.
  • Create a structure for making decisions. Define clear criteria to evaluate the merits of each option, and use them consistently. Using the same standards to evaluate all options can reduce bias. This is why we use structured interviews in hiring, applying the same selection and evaluation methods for all.
  • Be mindful of subtle cues. Who’s included and who’s excluded? In 2013, Googlers pointed out that of the dozens of conference rooms named after famous scientists, only a few were female. Was this our vision for the future? No. So we changed Ferdinand von Zeppelin to Florence Nightingale—along with many others—to create more balanced representation. Seemingly small changes can have big effects.
  • Foster awareness. Hold yourself—and your colleagues—accountable. We’re encouraging Googlers to call out bias. For example, we share a “bias busting checklist” at performance reviews, encouraging managers to examine their own biases and call out those of others.

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