Tackling a universal prejudice: unconscious bias

Last week, we had the honour of attending the Omniwomen UK + Allies Basecamp event presented by Valerie Van den Bossche – a global consultant and facilitator of cultural and organisational change. The two-hour highly engaging and interactive session brought about 30 enthusiastic people together to discuss the underlying issues around Diversity and Inclusion (D&I), and how organisations can enhance awareness on these issues to ensure psychologically safer environments.

D&I has been a fashionable topic of discussion in the past few years and Valerie spoke with passion about the importance of taking the mantle and driving real change. Specific focus was on the topic of unconscious biases and psychological safety, which are unsurprisingly fundamental issues that are often undermined and ignored in organisations. One key takeaway was that recognizing the lack of knowledge on D&I and the importance of being conscious of biases is the first crucial step to create positive change in all of our workplaces.

Discussion of unconscious bias is important to raise awareness but even further, we need strategies to help tackle the crippling effect it can have on the development of diverse talent at work. Over the past 3 months, we have taken many of our teams through a comprehensive unconscious bias training and this will continue late into the summer. But there are questions we can all start asking ourselves today, to try and be better aware of our innate, unconscious biases. For example, thinking about how teams behave in meetings (who tends to get interrupted the most and by who?) and looking at confirmation bias that easily derails objectivity in our analysis of marketing data (are we genuinely open to insight? Or are we looking for data to prove a stereotype or preconception?) Biases are natural, omnipresent and not always helpful!

Here at OMD EMEA we are committed to maintain an inclusive culture that enables diverse talent to make Better decisions, faster for our clients. If you’re interested in getting in touch, check out our live jobs on OMD EMEA’s LinkedIn.

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Doris Ou

Doris is Transformation Manager at OMD EMEA.

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