GET EMAIL UPDATES FROM POWERTOFLY
By signing up you accept the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy
BROWSE CATEGORIES
GET EMAIL UPDATES FROM POWERTOFLY
SoftwareONE

SoftwareONE: Why Do We Judge a Book by Its Cover?

Below is an article originally written by Simon Bishop Global Head - Recruitment, and published on June 02, 2020. Go to SoftwareONE's page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.

Human nature means we make up our mind about people within seven seconds of meeting them. This human trait we all have is a hangover from our primitive beginnings. Thousands of years ago, in the days before you could Google something or check Trip Advisor, humans had to make quick decisions. Decisions which were a matter of life and death – Do I eat that berry? Shall I touch that fire? Should I attack that Mammoth?

This evolutionary hangover still exists in us all today and can be seen through the phenomenon known as unconscious bias.

Unconscious bias refers to the biases we have of which we are not in conscious control. These biases occur automatically, triggered by our brain making quick judgments and assessments of people and situations based on our background, cultural environment and our experiences. It affects every area of our lives. Unconsciously, we tend to like people who look like us, think like us and come from backgrounds similar to ours. Everyone likes to think he or she is open-minded and objective, but research has shown that the beliefs and values gained from family, culture and a lifetime of experiences heavily influence how we view and evaluate both others and ourselves.

Think This Doesn't Apply to You?

Harvard University has developed some tests which you can take in about 10 minutes to see where your bias might lie. Click here for some examples.

These thought patterns, assumptions and interpretations we have built up over time help us to process information quickly and efficiently. From a survival standpoint, bias is a positive and necessary trait. In business, however, bias can be costly. It can cause us to make decisions that are not objective; and ultimately we miss opportunities. Joan Williams and Sky Mihalylo recently wrote "How the Best Bosses Interrupt Bias on their Terms," where they note that "well-managed diverse groups outperform homogeneous ones and are more committed, have higher collective intelligence, and are better at making decisions and solving problems." However, eliminating bias entirely is nearly impossible and a more reasonable goal is to simply interrupt it – starting with your hiring practices. The authors note basic changes such as limiting referral hiring and insisting on a diverse pool of candidates.

Bias is a "mental shortcut" that fills in gaps in our knowledge with similar data from past experiences and cultural norms. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but it can lead to bad decisions. As an example, Google points to mobile video uploads - the team that built the iOS YouTube app didn't consider left-handed users when it added in mobile uploads, causing videos recorded in a left-handed person's view of landscape to appear upside-down.

There is a growing body of research which suggests unconscious biases influence key decisions in the workplace and are responsible for some of the enduring inequalities that are evident today. Unconscious bias starts at the top and leadership is one area where diversity and inclusion has not moved the needle nearly enough. In a recent Boston Consulting Group article, it noted that "of the Fortune 500 CEOs (at the time of publication of the article) only 24 are women (less than 5% of the total), only three are black, and only three are openly gay."

In Human Resource Executive, it was noted that diverse management teams are:

  • 33% more likely to generate better than average profits
  • Are 70% more likely to capture new markets
  • Generate 19% more revenue from innovation than companies with below average leadership diversity

With relatively few women in key roles, women's unconscious beliefs about career advancement could be holding them back from reaching the top. Bias comes in many forms, from assuming you need to take on more "masculine" characteristics to succeed, to doubting your abilities and strengths. To begin a real process of change, women also need to look at their own unconscious bias and move away from these potentially damaging beliefs. Assumptions are internal; they come from within us and before any external change can be made in a company's culture, they need to be understood.

For example, a McKinsey report from Women in the Workplace found that even though women are earning bachelor's degrees at higher rates than men and staying in the workforce despite challenges of childcare or other obstacles – progress has stalled at best.

Google disclosed its first Diversity Annual Report in 2014 and each year since has updated the statistics and progress to its commitment to diversity. In 2019 the company presented information from employees that self-represented as LGBTQ+ and those that have a disability. The essence of the report is the company's commitment to help create a more inclusive workforce while minimizing bias.

We must unlearn our current beliefs and relearn new ones. If there are no suitable role models in our surrounding environment, we have to create our own definition of what makes a great leader and become advocates for ourselves.

Change won't be sudden, warns Gerard J. Holder, the author of 'Hidden Bias: How Unconscious Attitudes on Diversity Undermine Organizations and What to do about It'. "We didn't get conditioned overnight," says Holder, who works with companies to help reeducate employees on their learned behaviors. "It's a learning process that has to be done over a period of time, not a training that can be done in three hours."

popular

How These Companies Are Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

According to a recent study, anti-Asian hate crimes have risen 150% since the pandemic started. But these acts of violence are not new — they are part of a much larger history of anti-Asian racism and violence in the U.S.

That makes celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (which was named a month-long celebration in May by Congress in 1992 "to coincide with two important milestones in Asian/Pacific American history: the arrival in the United States of the first Japanese immigrants on May 7, 1843 and contributions of Chinese workers to the building of the transcontinental railroad, completed May 10, 1869") this year all the more important.

READ MORE AND DISCUSS Show less
CSL

The Outlook That Helps CSL’s Paula Manchester Invest in Herself and Her Team

If you told Paula Manchester that you weren't good at math, she wouldn't believe you.

"That's a global indictment," she says. "'I'm not good at math' implies that you don't have the ability to nurture that muscle. And then I'd ask what kind of math? There's a lot to math."

READ MORE AND DISCUSS Show less
Afterpay

How Afterpay’s Emma Woods Seeks Out Growth for Herself and Her Team

When Emma Woods decided to take her children out of school for six months and homeschool them while traveling around Australia in a caravan, it wasn't the first time she found a way to balance personal and professional growth. It was just a more extreme version of the types of choices she had been making throughout her career.

Emma started her career in the world of telecommunications, moving from IC to team manager, then to contract positions when she had her children and needed flexible scheduling. Now in her current role as an Engineering Manager at payment platform Afterpay, Emma continues to find ways to manage her personal and professional growth, and her family's well-being.

READ MORE AND DISCUSS Show less

5 Things All Product Managers Should Do for Their Engineers (And Vice Versa)

Tips from SeatGeek's Anuja Chavan

When Anuja Chaven turns on a fan in her house in Jersey City, she can't help but think about how every piece of it works.

"There are an extensive amount of things that have to go perfectly at the same time," says the former engineer (and current product manager at live event ticketing platform SeatGeek).

It was that interest in understanding how things actually worked that drove Anuja to study engineering—first electrical, during her undergrad in India, and then computer science, during her master's program in the U.S.

READ MORE AND DISCUSS Show less
Pluralsight

The Secrets to Balancing Work and Family Life

3 Pieces of Advice from Working Moms at Pluralsight

Being fully committed to work and family is a challenge that many working parents have to take on. It can be exhausting and thankless pursuing a fulfilling full-time career, while taking an active role as a parent. Achieving a healthy balance can help keep you motivated and productive at work, while allowing you to be fully present when you're home.

We recently chatted with working moms at technology skills platform, Pluralsight, about their best advice for striking that elusive work-life balance. Here were their key points:

READ MORE AND DISCUSS Show less
© Rebelmouse 2020