#BreakTheBias with Master Anaplanner Alexandru Pavel
The most efficient way to fight and break gender bias or any other biases in our workplaces is to try to take out that characteristic from the equation. If we are sincere with ourselves, we would all like to work in a team where everybody collaborates with their skill set to successfully deliver projects, tasks, etc… to do good work.
My personal admiration goes to the “Bletchley Park” group that worked during World War II to crack the Enigma code. It mattered only their skills in mathematics or code-breaking and their ability to work as a team. Other characteristics were, at least temporarily, left apart.
One of the challenges is to eliminate the biases in the recruitment process. Currently, the job descriptions and offers are described in general terms. The challenge is in the hiring process: how are candidates’ skills evaluated and who decides to hire a person?
Some things that can improve the hiring process:
- Involve more people in CV selection. More people means more points of view that can reduce bias.
- Create skills evaluation assignments/tests when it is possible.
- Involve team members in direct interviews with the candidate. In the end, the “to be hired” person will need to work well with the existing team members.
After the hiring process, there is also work needed to improve how the work evaluation process is done and how the career paths are defined and decided:
- Ask for direct feedback from the team members.
- Try to involve more people in promotion and salary decisions.
- Focus on long-term goals: the economy is a never-end game. It’s not about winning, it’s about surviving. Past results cannot always mean that future results are guaranteed. The current quarter or year results cannot always be the only evaluation criteria.
- Give the person the possibility to escalate the feedback received.
- If you see something, say something. If you see a person that was not correctly evaluated, make sure the decision-makers are informed in order to correct the evaluation.
- Ask for salary transparency. Most companies do not have a transparent salary policy. We are equal in rights but we are not equal in skills. If there are salary differences, those need to come from the evaluation of the skills and/or experience.
- If you are in a decision position, try to keep an open-minded attitude and create an environment based on fairness and recognize the mistakes done, if applicable.
We are not robots, and we will never be able to fully eliminate our default biases and prejudices that come from our society, family, and personal experiences. This is why it is important that every one of us be aware of and accept the differences between us and work to recognize our biases.
My personal goal is not to live in a system where everyone is treated equally, but in a system where everybody is treated fairly based on meritocracy.
Written by Alexandru Pavel
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