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HCL Technologies hosts IWD Tweetchat on workplace equity

HCL Technologies hosts IWD Tweetchat on workplace equity

 March 24, 2022

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HCL Technologies hosted a Straight Talk Tweetchat to support the International Women's Day #BreakTheBias theme. The event looked at Workplace Equity: Empowering a gender-diverse workforce and focused on minimizing unconscious bias within organizations.

Sponsored by HCL Technologies, Straight Talk provides professional insights and thought leadership from Chief Information Officers and senior IT leaders, designed to help them find solutions to current challenges, drive business results, and advance their careers.  

Meet the impressive female panelists 

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HCL Technologies Straight Talk Insights

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Creating workplace equity was discussed 

A number of key questions were posed to the panelists for their response.

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Respondind to question one, Raya Volinsky stated: "In the workplace, bias can be manifested in many ways, from the hiring process to promotions. Many enlightened CEOs are actively tackling unconscious bias and pursuing diversity, but more needs to be done," she said. "One key is to recognize that gender, ethnicity, and other differences are actually good for business - they help foster innovation, attract talent, and make it easier to enter new markets."

Hanadi El Sayyed commented: "Start with #leadership - lack of #diversity in the leadership team is the first sign that a #workplace is rife with #bias." 

Meanwhile, panelist Chandini Kamal said: "Unconscious bias occurs without us being aware of it, hence, acknowledgment is the first step. It is critical to address all bias. Fostering Self-awareness, understanding the nature of bias, Open discussions will bolster our intent to identify & mitigate it."

Examples of unconscious bias were discussed 

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For question two, Raya Volinsky explained: "In the workplace, they are often found in recruiting, performance evaluations, coaching, and promotions. For example, hiring people similar to ourselves, giving preferential treatment to people who have had comparable experiences. More examples When we perceive or judge the actions of others more harshly than we would judge ourselves."

"Unconscious bias is noticeable in various ways at workplace and some common forms of it that we are aware of are Affinity, Age, Appearance, Attribution, Authority, Confirmation, Gender etc," commented Chandini Kamal. 

While Hanadi El Sayyed noted the most common unconscious bias as, "ageism, appearance bias (weight, beauty, even height!! believe it or not), attribution, affinity, name bias, and of course the infamous gender bias." (sic)

Ruchi Dass explained the 'Halo effect' - "When you allow one great positive or negative thing about that person to colour your entire perception of them. Good looking, sharply dressed- more competent and vice-versa."

Functional processes and processes were explored for reducing bias

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"It is vital to address and acknowledge biases to set the foundation for an inclusive workplace. One must take a closer look at how decisions are made & transformed at workplace. All functional processes where decisions are made are prone to bias and need attention," explained Chandini Kamal. 

Ruchi Dass commented: "No matter how stringent a policy is, it’s impossible to cover unconscious bias. With self-assessment and training we can recognize how our cultural background influences our points of view, and cultural experiences/ differences of others."

Meanwhile, Raya Volinsky highlighted: "The areas, which need a special attention are: Hiring process, Employee promotions, Team Effectiveness, Decision Making."

Consequences of bias were also addressed

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"Studies have revealed that employees who experience bias at workplace actively disengage and reduce contributions. Unless we consciously include, we will unconsciously exclude and it impacts the quality of great organizational culture and quality of relationship," said Chandini Kamal. 

Raya Volinsky noted: "They can limit the ways we engage and work effectively with partners; cultivate and collaborate with diverse talent; and, leverage the unique experiences and perspectives that drive innovation."

"If unconscious biases are not challenged, there can be a negative impact on the customer/user’s experience, impacting brand and organisational reputation = detrimental to customer service targets and profitability," explained Ruchi Dass. 

The role of organizations minimizing bias was discussed 

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"Start from a place of empathy. At Microsoft, we aspire to help people of all genders and backgrounds thrive and create the conditions for empowerment at moments that matter for our employees, customers, partners and communities," said Raya Volinsky. "In July 2019 Microsoft introduced its global allyship program last year. The course was offered to all employees, aiming to broaden CEO Satya Nadella’s push toward a more inclusive culture. The goal of Allyship program is to give Microsoft’s 160,000 employees worldwide the language they need to discuss different viewpoints and difficult things in a way that offers empathy and inclusion to all."

Jennifer Stirrup says: "Leaders have to set an example to show that they try to minimizing unconscious bias. Otherwise, processes are not understood properly by the middle management layer who see it as a checklist rather than an ongoing journey."

Chandini Kamal summized nicely: "Organizations will thrive in creating an inclusive culture through continuous education, awareness and application. A systemic top-down approach that highlight inclusive leadership as a core pillar will foster inclusion across the teams and organization."

HCL Technologies is committed to workplace equity

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Disclosure: Where Women Work researches and publishes insightful evidence about how its paid member organizations support women's equality.

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