Welcome back. In Module 1, we cover bias basics. A lot of definitions and general information. We encounter bias every day. Naturally we encounter it at work, even virtually. This module allows us to begin exploring how bias shows up in policies, actions, the decisions, and encounters. There are a few specific business operations that I want to address just so that we can become more familiar with how this actually feels throughout the day. In the content, I'll specifically address the area of employment. In a profile for you, four different employment scenarios where someone in leadership is making decisions that may be attributed to any number of biases, potentially gender bias, racial bias, or affinity bias. A couple of things I want to really highlight in one of the scenarios that I shared. I wanted to discuss the specific example that I gave about CEO's. A study conducted by Forbes Magazine noted that the average height of CEO's is six feet tall. This is a full 2.5 inches taller than the average man. What could we possibly perceive about a man's qualifications that is specifically attributed to height? Why do we perceive someone's stature as a sign of leadership? Unless you're playing basketball or maybe you want to be a model, height is not linked to technical qualifications at all. In these scenarios, there's a bias that we're operating under, where height is attributed to authority and competency, just a person's very stature. When other people see them, they assume that this person is someone who is better positioned to be a leader. Another scenario is specifically around employment bias. Within that, it's this concept of culture fit. We'll sometimes hear the concept about culture fit. Corporate culture is often ill-defined and ambiguous. It is a rarely, if ever, addressed in job posting or even in the interview. There's not a specific section in the job posting that says, here's our corporate culture, here is things that we value or during the interview, there's mass specific questions about culture. But then we get to the debrief of the interview. Interviewers may defer to their assessment of, "I don't think this person will be a good fit." These summations more often than not, are rooted in stereotypes associated with a group of people. Recall then some of the definitions that we learned about in Module 1. We talked about stereotypes or biases are often rooted in stereotypes, what we think about women or minority groups. A person who may be differently abled that there are stereotypes that we may fix an opinion to. For example, if I'm interviewing, I'll say a woman was being interviewed for position with an engineering department that only has me. An interviewer may decide, well, she may not be happy here, and this assessment is typically ruled in a bias and has zero affiliation with the person's actual qualifications. Here is yet another example of how bias is impacted or has an impact on employment process. Otherwise the bias plays at work, or is how space is assigned. I shared with you this concept of the corner office, and now understand clearly that spaces sometimes are allocated based on leadership roles. People in leadership may need a more competence of space to work from. But the way in which space is allocated creates a hierarchy impacting how people interact with each other and drives culture and most certainly will impact bias. When think about if you're new to an environment before you've learned everybody's names, you will make assumptions about people, whether or not you see them sit in a cube or cubicle, or in an office, especially if it's a bigger office. You could then describe and lead to he or she must be smart or important because they have an office and you think about the demographics of what happens in leadership as you get further up and leadership chain that you see less and less diversity. There's a biased in around how we feel about people who maybe be sitting with us versus sitting in some of those more perceived prominent areas. Let me dig a little bit deeper for you in this pocket. I worked in engineering and manufacturing environment and we hosted a college tour for students who were pursuing primarily engineering engross. We went through the entire facility As we've finished the tour and returned to the conference room, a few of the young ladies ask why all of the women were in one section of the plant and men in a different section of the plant. They had attributed the decision to some type of bias or discrimination. In this case, it was not. The work being done was wiring circuit boards. It's an activity that requires a lot of manual dexterity. Women's fingers tend to be smaller or more nimble, making them more suitable for this type of work. In this scenario, there was no bias at play, however, just the very optics of what appeared to be a complete delineation between where women worked and where men worked. Students noticed that and they definitely had an opinion. We were able to have a really thoughtful conversation with them about the type of work and also just the employment policies that are better at play. The final two scenarios that I want to address are real situations in workplace that are rooted in one of the things that you learned earlier about benevolence bias and how biases can create blind spots. This is also important. In this first scenario, in a manufacturing environment, there were restrooms near the cafeteria. In the women's restroom there was a dispenser for feminine hygiene products and the cost was 50 cents, requiring two quarters. There were times when employees would need change for the dispenser and would go to the cafeteria to ask for change. A few cafeteria workers actually became annoyed and complained to the plan manager. The plan manager who's a man decided it might just be easier to make the costs a dollar to avoid change. This was a terrible idea. What happened is he was looking to potentially make this change. Fortunately, he had a conversation with HR and then a member of the diversity equity inclusion team. They were able to get involved. What they really decided was the right thing to do is just make the products available at no cost at all. There was also some discussions that were held with the cafeteria staff who should not have ever been annoyed or complained about people merely needing change to be able to retrieve a product. Again, under this concept of benevolence bias, when you look at the definition, making a decision on behalf of a group, assuming that what you're doing is the right thing. Having this blind spot around what was really the best thing to do from a man's perspective, oh, rather than needing change, let's just make it a whole dollar. People are being inconvenienced at work, why not just make the products available. This is where benevolence bias when you believe you're acting in good faith on behalf of a group. This is why it's also important to make sure that if you're about to make a decision that you include the people who are potentially impacted by those decisions so that you can look at a problem in a more holistic way. A similar scenario, companies again, under this concept of benevolence bias, lots of organizations were changing how they were providing additional amenities in the work environment. You think about a lot of things that were happening in Silicon Valley, free lunch, bring your dogs to work. There were companies who wanted to provide just more amenities. This company decided, we'll look at some of the common areas and the products that we provide to employees in common areas. What seemed like a good idea, actually had to be reworked. They had decided to provide amenities in the women's and the men's restroom. Access to free feminine hygiene products, disposable toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss, and mouthwash. Who would have thought that mouthwash would have become a trigger? What the organization learn that is for people who are recovering or struggling with substance abuse, mouthwash that is alcohol-based, can potentially be a trigger. A noble concept, we want to provide amenities. But when you make decisions on behalf of others and not include a more diverse group of people to really determine what's the best way to reach or accommodate, this again, this benevolence bias really came into play. That a few of the leaders who were working on this thought that they were doing something, and again, well intended, but happened to be thoughtful about the potential impact. The last area that I want to address is about bias that can lead to blind spots. When you really operate in this space around, here's what I prefer, here's what I'm comfortable with, it can lead to blind spots. Inherently, biases draw us to what we know and what we're familiar with, simultaneously may cause us to avoid what we don't know or what we are not familiar with. In business, if we rely on information from familiar sources such as reports or company and employee feedback, we may think everything is fine because everybody has the same perspective that we have. But if we miss information from new sources, emerging trends, or new influences or voices in the market, we may miss an opportunity to incorporate a new way of doing business or using a new tool. Bias by itself isn't just an issue, it's that it may create, looking to these other issues, and having or covering the inability to cover blind spots is one of the negative outcomes of really operating in this bias spaces. I just want to summarize really quickly. A multitude of things occur from us from 9.00 to 5.00 or 8.00 to 4.00, or whatever your workday might be. Even with many of us working in a virtual environment, we're not free from biases. I will say that everybody square in a Zoom meeting might be the same size. But when you think about some of the stigma that has gone along with people not being on camera, whether or not you can see what's visible to people in their background, whether or not people have just chosen to use some the augmented reality background. Those can all lead to biases. I'm hopeful though that the combination of the definitions that you learned about in Module 1 and the scenarios that we shared in this module, certainly some of the readings, provide some additional context to the scenarios raised and really raise awareness about how biases saturate our decision-making and engagement. I look forward to exploring this topic more with you and certainly what we will learn and grow and be exposed to in the next module.