The Big Business of Unconscious Bias

The Big Business of Unconscious Bias


Despite, or perhaps because of, Silicon Valley’s reputation for diversity gaps, tech tools are blooming to help. TMI’s founder, Tiffany Jana, is developing Loom, an online assessment and reporting platform that looks at an organization’s culture and identifies inclusion gaps.

Currently, Textio software can scan thousands of documents for language bias. “This new tech is going to create a leap in consciousness,” Ms. Brown said. “Maybe you’re a father with daughters and you say, ‘Of course, women here feel there’s equal opportunity and no pay gap!’ The tech may find information to the contrary.” Data forces people to face facts.

But sometimes only the human touch will do, as Eve Campan, a human resources site manager for Porex, a large filtration company, can attest. Just before she was hired, a group of female executives — miffed by their heavily white and male leadership — created a proposal, demanding a women’s resource group, mother’s room and more flexible hours.

Ms. Campan hired TMI Consulting to help “wrap people’s minds around the idea of unconscious bias,” she said. “If you’re not proactive, your culture will define itself.”

At the first D.E.I. seminar, she was doubtful about the corporate jargon, and more than one employee scoffed that the whole thing was unnecessary. But, after each additional workshop, she began walking the floor of the office, talking to people about their reactions. Each time, she said, more of the original dissenters came around.

According to Ms. Bowser, the key is to make everyone, from assistants to C.E.O.s, feel as if they are part of the conversation. “If you’re not making people aware and holding them responsible at the upper levels of your organization, then you don’t have a chance,” Mr. Johnson said.



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