Podcast

HR Labs Podcast: Torin Ellis talks beating unconscious bias

Cornerstone Editors

We’re thrilled to announce the third season of HR Labs, a podcast that explores how to create a better employee experience for all of your people. This season is hosted by Cornerstone’s Chief Learning Officer and VP of Organizational Effectiveness Jeff Miller and Chief Diversity Officer Duane La Bom. Through conversations with change-makers, activists, executives and experts, they’ll explore strategies for taking diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) initiatives from intention to action. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you listen.

Unconscious bias in the workplace can be a fraught topic. While there’s research to suggest that some 95% of the population holds unconscious or implicit biases, some experts doubt the validity of this research. And despite more companies adopting unconscious bias training to help boost diversity and inclusion in the workplace, these efforts by themselves often fall short.

The way forward, said Torin Ellis on the latest episode of HR Labs, is "to come at this [DEI] conversation differently."

Listen to the episode here: Apple — Spotify

Meet DEI Expert, Torin Ellis

Torin is a diversity strategist, author, and co-host of the Crazy and the King podcast. He works with companies to advance their diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging initiatives, whether that’s by optimizing the talent acquisition process or engaging leadership teams.

Through this work, he’s seen that companies often use unconscious bias training to show their commitment to DEI initiatives—but they don’t do the necessary work that lies beyond that initial training. Training, while important, shouldn’t take the place of real action—like having difficult conversations or actually holding employees and leadership accountable for their contributions to DEIB.

Beyond Unconscious Bias Training

In this episode, Jeff and Torin discuss what unconscious bias is as well some of the short- and long-term steps leaders can take to identify and mitigate bias in their organization at every value point— from recruiting and other talent strategies to employer brand, supply chain, and more.

Check out the latest episode to learn more about what Torin says organizations and people can do to lift the "curtain of complacency and mediocrity" when it comes to diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and how he sees our greater humanity as the true ROI of DEI.

And if you like the conversation, subscribe to HR Labs to never miss a future episode. HR Labs episodes are released biweekly: Check back with us on February 17 to hear Dr. Ella Washington and Duane La Bom discuss microaggressions.

At the ~11:53 min mark of the episode, Torin states that the Democratic Party hasn’t had a Black woman lead a committee in 40-something years. After the interview, Torin shared with us that he misquoted from an interview Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence conducted on #RolandMartinUnfiltered. In the interview, Congresswoman Lawrence states there hasn’t been a Black female in a Democratic Caucus leadership position in over 40 years. You can view that interview here: https://www.house.gov/leadership

Related Resources

Want to keep learning? Explore our products, customer stories, and the latest industry insights.

Ontwikkel buitengewone en inspirerende managers

E-book

Ontwikkel buitengewone en inspirerende managers

In 2018 bleek uit een onderzoek van Udemy dat bijna de helft van de ondervraagde medewerkers was opgestapt vanwege een slechte manager. Bovendien was twee derde van mening dat hun manager niet de juiste managementtraining had gehad. Conclusie? Medewerkers verlaten niet hun baan – ze verlaten hun baas. Dat is slecht nieuws voor organisaties die plannen maken voor innovatie, opvolging en een lang voortbestaan. Mensen zijn het waardevolste bezit van een organisatie – en personeelsverloop is duur, niet alleen vanwege de kosten van werving en selectie, indienstneming en opleiding, maar ook door het opgelopen productiviteitsverlies. Het is al moeilijk genoeg om een goede baas te zijn, laat staan een uitstekende.

Workplace Diversity: ’The Era of Colorblindness is Over’

Blogpost

Workplace Diversity: ’The Era of Colorblindness is Over’

Workplace diversity is a pressing topic among HR pros. It's heavily scrutinized in blogs, at conferences and during training sessions. That attention often focuses on how diversity affects the company — but what about how minorities' experiences affect people personally and professionally? Google employee Erica Baker addressed that question recently on Medium with a first-person account of her experiences as a minority in the tech industry. Here, Dr. Kecia Thomas, a professor of industrial-organizational psychology at the University of Georgia, explains how individual workers' experiences can reverberate throughout an organization: How do the experiences of minority workers affect the entire company? The concerns of under-represented workers often represent the concerns of other workers, as well. The issues that minority workers might experience are not all that different from the experiences of people who were the first generation to go to college in their families, or people who might come from a lower economic class. Attending to diversity actually helps to improve the workforce overall. Some of the challenges for ethnic minority workers, for example, are that they often find themselves as one-of-a-kind in their workplace. I’m talking about high-level professionals, people with graduate degrees and above. There are implicit biases that might hinder their access to informal networks, to mentoring or to professional development opportunities that could subsequently impair their performance and career development. I think there are also experiences that newcomers face in regard to feeling invisible and voiceless. How do these biases affect people in the majority? It’s not a stretch to say that the lack of exposure for many white colleagues can also be a source of anxiety that can inhibit their opportunity for authentic interactions with a new colleague who is different, ethnically or culturally. Any time we have those barriers to communication or to establishing authentic relationships, it’s a potential barrier to our performance and our ability to work together productively. Whose role is it to consider these issues within a company — and to take steps to address them? When it comes to any type of organizational change, it always begins at the top. Leaders have to understand demographic shifts in their labor force, how those shifts might be reflected — and the needs and priorities of their workers. When leaders are committed to a diverse and inclusive workplace, HR is empowered to put in place the strategies that are equally effective across a diversity of workers. There’s also a culture of the organization that has to be addressed to make sure that people are held accountable if they violate non-discrimination and anti-harassment policies. Too often, companies don’t have clear policies, or they're not communicated effectively. And even if they’re communicated effectively, they’re not always followed. We are at a critical point as a nation in regard to how we address diversity. We are seeing a lot of blatant forms of discrimination and violence occur, but we’re also seeing a younger generation that is so multicultural and inclusive. We’re seeing an increasing number of states embrace same-sex marriage. So there’s kind of a tidal wave of issues going on that reflect our differences. We have an opportunity to do this well and see this as a way to promote innovation, creativity and greater collaboration. A lot of the research I’ve done with Vicky Plaut [professor of law and social science at the University of California, Berkeley] suggests that we need to embrace multiculturalism and that the era of colorblindness is over. In fact, colorblindness is a signal to members of ethnic and racial minority groups that they are now vulnerable to discrimination. Photo: Can Stock

Dear ReWorker: Handling Sexual Harassment in the Workplace?

Blogpost

Dear ReWorker: Handling Sexual Harassment in the Workplace?

Dear ReWorker, We recently had a sexual harassment complaint about an employee. Out of curiosity, I Googled this person and found several websites that list his name and include details about his inappropriate sexual activities and relationships. Aside from the internal complaint of sexual harassment in the workplace, the internet posts bother me very much. The situation certainly does not make the company look good and it tells me a lot about the employee's moral and ethical standards. Can I fire him for the complaint as well as what I found out on the Internet? Sincerely, Tempted to Terminate ___________________________________________________________________________________ Dear Tempted to Terminate, You are making this more difficult than it needs to be. If his offense at work was serious enough for termination, you fire him, regardless of his internet persona. It doesn't matter what he does outside of work or what he posts online—he misbehaved at work and should be punished. Now, this does become more complicated if his offense isn't necessarily fireable. Let's say someone complained that he made one dirty joke. That wouldn't (generally) be enough for a termination. If that's the case, here are a few other questions to consider. Is His Online Behavior Just Icky, or Is It Illegal? This is important because in some states or cities, you can't terminate someone for doing something controversial outside of work if it's legal. So, if you find his behavior objectionable but happen to live in one of these jurisdictions, you can't terminate him for that behavior. If you live outside these areas, employees don't have the right to do icky things and brag about them on the internet, even if it's outside of the workplace. There's no free speech in the workplace, and as long as his questionable behavior didn't include him starting a union, you can terminate him for outside activities. Are You Discriminating Based on Gender or Sexual Orientation? If a woman were saying the same things online as the employee in question, would you be okay with it? If your answer is yes, then you're discriminating illegally. If he were a different sexual orientation, would you be okay with it? If so, then you need to be extra cautious. The courts have reached mixed verdicts on whether you can legally discriminate against someone based on sexual orientation, but the reality is, even if your bias falls within the law, you shouldn't act on it. You should be judging people based on their work. Does the Behavior Reflect Badly on the Company? Assuming that his behavior at work wasn't serious enough for a termination, and assuming that it's not illegal to terminate him, should you still do it? Generally, managers should stay out of their employees' online lives. You wouldn't invite yourself over to dinner at their house, so why should you invite yourself onto their Facebook pages? With that said, you should take action if the employee's behavior reflects badly on the company. If there's nothing online linking him to your company, you should probably let it go. If it's easy to link him to your company, however, that's another story. Regardless of your decision you need to do two things: consult with your employment attorney and enforce the same standard across the board, regardless of age, gender, position or tenure. Your ReWorker, Suzanne Lucas, Evil HR Lady Photo: Creative Commons

Plan een persoonlijk gesprek

Praat met een Cornerstone-expert over hoe wij kunnen helpen met de unieke behoeften van uw organisatie op het gebied van personeelsmanagement.

© Cornerstone 2022
Juridisch