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Building Allyship and Confronting Bias

Training course that can be facilitated by anyone to help build allyship skills and confront bias in the workplace!

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Building Allyship and Confronting Bias

  1. 1. Building Allyship and Confronting Bias A Training Module
  2. 2. Facilitator Tips • Online discussions tend towards silence so invite people to speak or set a speaking order • Reiterate that there aren't any trick questions. Ask participants to focus on how to respond to incidents as an ally, not as the marginalized person ("you" = "theoretical ally”, using your privilege productively!). • Everyone can be an ally - the idea to reframe your understanding of power dynamics towards empathy and recognizing when you can step in to ‘do good’. • Introduce yourself and your privilege. If you have a privilege that helps people listen to you in the workshop (a specialized skill, a degree from a respected school, you are male, white, etc.), mention that privilege, and talk about how you are personally using it to end inequality by teaching this workshop. • Set the terms of the workshop: • If you make a mistake, apologize, correct yourself, and move on • The facilitator is the gatekeeper; they have permission to interrupt those who speak too much or encourage those who are participating less. • If you can’t be kind, be quiet. • Remember the 4 golden rules of anti-racism training: • Always start from personal experience • Know your participants • Be prepared to address common challenges • Follow up and offer more opportunities to learn
  3. 3. Objectives  Defining allyship & privilege  Identifying our own privilege  Crafting allyship responses & basic tools  Defining unconscious bias  Common types of bias in the workplace  Tools to combat bias
  4. 4. Part I Allyship
  5. 5. Defining the terms Ally - a member of a social group that enjoys some privilege that is working to challenge and confront bias and inequities. Ally is a verb! Not an identity. You can be an ally by acting like an ally.
  6. 6. Defining the terms Privilege - an unearned advantage given by society to some people but not all. Example I: When a man walks into a room people assume he’s a manager or an expert, and are more likely to pay him attention, while women are more likely to be mistaken for junior staff and have to work much harder to establish themselves as an authority. So, privilege, in this case being male, which is un-earned (he was born this way) allows a man to experience the world without having to think about how to establish his authority. Example II: When people say, ‘I don’t see color’ it comes from their privilege as a white person since they aren’t judged based on the color of their skin and therefore, can afford to ignore it.
  7. 7. First exercise: Self-Reflection
  8. 8. What is my privilege? Privilege is often invisible to people who have it. Identifying your power and privilege helps you act as an ally more effectively. Source of privilege Source of relative power Position of marginalization Part of ethnic majority (in the US - white/Christian) Educated (ivy league) /advanced degree Part of a minority ethnicity or persecuted religion Male Wealthy (compared to peers) Person of color Straight In a management position / C- suite Having a visible or invisible disability Cis-gender (not trans) Recognized as an expert Female Able bodied Lives in a big-city Queer / not-hetero A legal resident / citizen Owns a car Trans Not a parent / care-giver Homeowner Immigrant without/with temporary legal status Add your own: Add your own: Add your own: For downloadable version of the worksheet: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1f9Z5VmzN4b4lkFJCKYZdzYz9vIrqDPohremhUDZy0Zg/edit?usp=sh aring
  9. 9. Discussion • Do you have more or less power than you thought? • Do you have more or less privilege than you thought? • Are there sources that put you in a marginalized position compare to others that you hadn’t considered? • Any surprises or things you hadn't thought about before?
  10. 10. Second exercise: Scenarios Facilitator tip: If time permits you can provide a scenario and let participants come up with their own allyship response.
  11. 11. Scenario I At a meeting, a manager says, "It's great to hire more Black people, but let's not lower the bar”. Allyship response: “Actually, the problem is that Black people have to pass a higher bar, and we need to fix that so that more Black people make the cut and get judged fairly at interviews.”
  12. 12. Scenario II A colleague makes a disparaging remark about trans people. When you call them out, they tell you that it’s just part of the culture they grew up in, and you shouldn't try to impose your culture on them. Allyship response: “Being a tolerant society means we must be intolerant of one thing - intolerance itself. I encourage you to practice the best parts of your culture. Either way, our company culture takes precedence, and in this company, we practice tolerance towards all people.”
  13. 13. Scenario III In social spaces at work and chat channels, you notice men do more of the talking than women. Allyship response: If you’re a man or in a senior position in the company, you can express interest and encourage follow-up when women contribute. You can say things like: "That's interesting!" "Tell me more." "Thank you for bringing up that important topic!"
  14. 14. Scenario IV A man on your team uses the phrase ‘girls’ when describing women who work as professional engineers. When you interrupt him and say, “you mean ‘women’?” he chuckles and admits that that’s what he meant. But afterwards he tells you he feels uncomfortable speaking up when you’re around because he’s concerned he’ll be corrected and shamed. Allyship response: “I know it’s embarrassing and unpleasant when people point out that the language you're using is reinforcing sexism. But can you imagine how much more difficult it is to be the person on the receiving end of sexist language? I wouldn’t like to be called ‘boy’ even though I’m a man and I know no one is questioning my competence because of my race or gender. I understand your feelings might be hurt. However, our company culture encourages everyone, especially men, to be supportive of women.”
  15. 15. Scenario V Fill in your own allyship responses! 1) A black employee points out to the CEO of the company that there are almost no people of color working at the company. The CEO responds by saying ‘you should refer your friends.’ 2) A Latinx colleague just finished a presentation to the team when a senior member congratulates them, and says they were particularly impressed with their English-speaking skills. 3) In a meeting, a colleague asks the only gay employee in the company to organize a Pride Month event for everyone, saying they would know best what to do.
  16. 16. Basic Allyship tools  Reframe the conversation  Speak about your values  Ask questions  Solicit empathy  State boundaries and enforce them  Amplify/reinforce positive behaviors  Set an example  Shift from certainly to curiosity  Change your mind and tell others about it
  17. 17. Part II – Confronting Bias
  18. 18. Defining the terms What is bias? Unconscious biases are the automatic, mental shortcuts used to process information and make decisions quickly. At any given moment individuals are flooded with millions of bits of information but can only consciously process about 40 at any given time. So, the mind sets up mental shortcuts to help us process information. How do biases serve us? These shortcuts can be useful when making decisions with limited information, focus, or time, but can sometimes lead individuals astray and have unintended consequences in the workplace.
  19. 19. Defining the terms What’s the harm? Unconscious bias can prevent individuals from making the most objective decisions. They can cause people to overlook great ideas, undermine individual potential, and create a less than ideal work experience for their colleagues. By understanding unconscious bias and overcoming it at critical moments, individuals can make better decisions - from finding the best talent (no matter what the background) to acknowledging a great idea (no matter who it came from) - and build a workforce and workplace that supports and encourages diverse perspectives and contributions.
  20. 20. Bias is multi-dimensional, much like our own identities
  21. 21. Female Millennial Christian Able bodied PhD
  22. 22. Third exercise: Circle of Identities
  23. 23. Fill out your own circle of identities. Focus on those who correlate with sources of privilege, power or marginalization, based on the first exercise. For downloadable version of this worksheet: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1TsJWRHu- GChrPjpPPUCwmPnVggXXkGsEsdV0YzQ0t9k/edit?usp=sharing
  24. 24. Discussion 1) Are there any parts of your identity circle you’ve never considered before today or taken for granted? 2) How have these or other parts of your identity helped or held you back in your career? 3) Have you ever been surprised by realizing you’ve experienced bias? How did it feel and what actions did you take, if any?
  25. 25. Common Types of Bias in the Workplace  Performance Bias  Attribution Bias  Affinity bias  Confirmation bias  Overlapping / reinforcing forms of bias
  26. 26. Performance bias When it is assumed that some people are much better at certain tasks than others, based on stereotypes. Usually skews towards assuming men are more competent than women. Example: Research* shows that women are most often hired based on experience, while men are hired based on potential. * Frontiers in Psychology, Overlooked Leadership Potential: The Preference for Leadership Potential in Job Candidates Who Are Men vs. Women. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00755/full
  27. 27. Attribution bias Where people try to make sense of or judge a person’s behavior based on prior observations, interactions or stereotypes. Example: Men are stereotypically viewed as more competent and are therefore more likely to have good accomplishments attributed to their innate nature. Women are more likely to have their successes attributed to external factors such as luck, teamwork etc. This generally makes it harder for women, and minorities, to get promoted at work or have their contributions acknowledged and rewarded. Another example – a white man who came from a low-income background would attribute his financial success to his abilities, rather than unfair bias.
  28. 28. Affinity bias Also known as similarity bias, is the tendency for people to connect with others who share similar interests, experiences and backgrounds. Example: When companies hire for ‘culture fit,’ they are likely falling prey to affinity bias. When hiring teams meet someone they like and who they know will get-along with the team, it’s more often because that person shares similar interests, experiences and backgrounds, which does not help your team grow and diversify!
  29. 29. Confirmation bias The inclination to draw conclusions about a situation or person based on your personal desires, beliefs and prejudices rather than on unbiased merit. Example: In hiring, confirmation bias often plays a detrimental role at the very beginning of the process when someone first reviews a resume and form an initial opinion of the candidate based on inconsequential attributes like their name, where they’re from, where they went to school etc. This opinion can follow through to the interview process and consequently steer questions to confirm the initial opinion of the candidate.
  30. 30. Overlapping / reinforcing bias Bias has a multidimensional aspect, much like our own identities. A person can experience bias as both a woman and young, or any other combination of factors such as race, sexual orientation, a disability etc. Example: Women make up 1 in 5 C-Suite executives in corporate America, but women of color make up only 1 in 25 C-Suite execs* which means they’re facing double discrimination. * Mckinsey, State of Women in the Workplace 2019. https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/gender-equality/women-in-the-workplace-2019#
  31. 31. Fourth exercise: Bias Scenario
  32. 32. Recruitment Scenario Highlight all the types of bias you can spot! A white-male candidate is invited to interview for a role after a referral from an employee. The role hasn’t been published yet and there’s no job description, but the hiring manager decides to interview based on the resume, since he notices that he and the candidate went to the same graduate school. During the interview, the hiring manager has a free-form conversation with the candidate, where he and the candidate find out they both enjoy scuba-diving and spend some time discussing favorite locations. The candidate makes a joke, and the manager laughs and lets him know he’ll ‘fit right in’ with the team and the company. No one else on the team, which includes two women, is invited to interview the candidate. The manager thinks that even though he doesn’t have the exact experience required, the candidate shows great potential, and makes him an offer.
  33. 33. Managing bias - Tools Instances where bias tends to crop-up, and actions that can be taken to mitigate it in order to promote a meritocratic workplace!  Performance Reviews  Hiring and Recruiting  Assignments and Projects (for more on this, contact us!)  Meetings (for more on this, contact us!)
  34. 34. Performance Reviews Rule of thumb: the more words used in a review the less bias gets a chance to manifest. Separate behaviors from skills and competencies Have a policy of transparency regarding promotion processes  Back up global ratings with examples and dates  Separate performance and potential in reviews Keep a list of biased ‘words’ that are not allowed to be used (such as likeable)
  35. 35. Hiring and recruiting  Consider blind hiring (taking off names, gender, location and school)  Have a minimum requirement of women and minority applicants in the pool  Grade all resumes on the same scale (looking only at experience, skills, competency)  Run job descriptions through a bias assessment tool to weed out words that too strongly appeal to men  Add a disclaimer at the end of all job openings to encourage women candidates (‘apply even if you don’t meet all criteria’)  Use structured interviews and ask performance- based questions (avoid unstructured conversations)  Have an open debrief before making an offer with all interviewers, in order to catch biases in candidate assessment
  36. 36. FOR MORE ON ALLYSHIP BUILDING AND BIAS MANAGEMENT CONTACT US!
  37. 37. Thank you for taking time to learn how to build allyship and confront bias! Sources used in this training: https://biasinterrupters.org/ https://frameshiftconsulting.com/ally-skills-workshop/
  38. 38. Building Allyship and Confronting Bias For the full training module Contact: Monique@highestpath.com Keshet@diversityatworkus.com

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