Taking Steps to Mitigate Unconscious Biases
Research demonstrates that unconscious biases can lead both individuals and organizations to make less than optimal decisions. Our goal is to mitigate the impact of unconscious bias amongst our employees and in key decision making processes.
On an annual basis, we have brought in researchers and academics to discuss topics that raise awareness of diverse perspectives. Amongst the subjects covered include:
- Errors in decisions that emanate from biases that favor one’s own group, reveal conflict of interest, and a tendency to overclaim one’s own effort [speaker: Dr. Mahzarin Banaji].
- How cognitive diversity enhances individual, team and organizational performance through improved prediction, problem solving and innovation as well as a review of tools that may increase and best leverage cognitive differences for improved performance [speaker: Dr. Scott Page].
- The value of different leadership approaches including those leadership skills that are most impactful during challenging times [speaker: Joanna Barsh].
- Awareness of biases that may exist when utilizing communal and agentic language when describing employees during performance reviews [speaker: Lori Mackenzie].
- How sponsorship differs from mentorship, the importance of sponsorship in one’s career and how to avoid bias in the sponsorship process [speaker: Ripa Rashid].
To supplement these educational sessions and integrate learnings into our processes, customized training and guidance documents for leaders and managers have been provided during key decisions points (such as promotion decisions) with the goal of reducing unconscious bias during these critical event nodes.
Employee and manager feedback confirms that we have made progress in creating greater awareness and inclusive leadership skill building, however, our plan is to continue to expose employees to new ideas surrounding decision making on a regular basis.
Innovation requires an exchange of ideas that raises awareness of different perspectives. In the spirit of aligning our broader culture with our long-standing investment process, we should recognize that an active dialogue that engages diverse views enables us to not only optimize portfolios, but also our teams. Creating an inclusive, cognitively diverse environment will enable us to be a better service provider to our clients and better colleagues to each other.